'Juicebox' broadens children's musical horizons

February 15, 2014 (CHICAGO)

More than a few parents and grandparents can attest to that. And the folks at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events hear you.

You don't have to go to a smoky nightclub after hours to enjoy live jazz.

You don't even have to be over 21. Organizers say they were hoping to hit a high note with parents when they started what they call "Juicebox."

"It's about excellent dance, music, theatre, puppetry and other performing arts that's not dumbed down or sort of catering to young kids," said Jack McLarnan, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. "It's giving them a chance to see really high-level stuff in a setting where they are not disrupting the rest of the audience experience."

At the Chicago Cultural Center, you can check out "Juicebox" every first and third Friday. In the pristine Preston Bradley Hall, live performances typically reserved for adults are staged free for the preschool set.

"He loves instruments and music, so we wanted to come watch them play," said parent Kerri Brey.

Parents say it's a welcomed opportunity to broaden their little one's horizon while getting an outlet they, too, can enjoy.

"This is like even very interesting for me," said parent Katharina Yon. "It's very multicultural. Even like to see that the kids appreciate this kind of performance, I mean why not."

Friday, February 21, "Juicebox," will kick off the Chicago Cultural Center's winter open house with a free performance by a jazz-funk trio. There will be a variety of other activities as well and even a few food trucks on-hand.


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