Why you need to try a Baby Gospel concert

Soul. Motown. Clapping. But what exactly is a Baby Gospel family concert?

Baby Gospel aims to uplift sleep-deprived parents, captivate young children and above all entertain both adults and children in equal measure. Born out of a simple connection via Twitter between Baby Broadway and CK Gospel Choir, family concerts now take place around five times a year in venues across London, and there are plans to go to new locations in 2018.

Here are 5 reasons you might want to come along:

1. Awesome vocals

https://youtu.be/eP_mJEan5r8

Click on the video above and you’ll see the full CK Gospel Choir in action. Impressed? They’re even better in real life!

A versatile professional group from London, the singers are united by their love of gospel music and have provided backing for artists such as Beverley Knight, Peter Andre and Alfie Boe.

The group is led by Harlano Weekes, who has performed with some of the biggest names in world music such as Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis, Enrique Iglesias, Lulu and Phil Collins as well as being an established solo artist.

Each Baby Gospel concert sees at least four members of the choir performing alongside one of their regular keys players.

2. Just as enjoyable for adults as for kids

Wouldn’t it be nice to sing along to some great music with your little ones for a change, rather than music that’s aimed at kids? Set lists change regularly, but you can expect to hear some of the following at a Baby Gospel concert:

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye / One Love – Bob Marley / This Little Light of Mine – trad. gospel / Angel of Mine – Eternal / Signed, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder / Happy – Pharrell Williams / Oh Happy Day – trad. gospel / Make You Feel My Love – Adele / Lean On Me – Bill Withers / My Love is Your Love – Whitney Houston / You’ve Got the Love – Candi Staton

Of course, your children may not be into soul, gospel, motown or pop yet. Well firstly: you’re never too young to start. Secondly: the music lends itself really well to dancing, clapping and jumping around, which most small children are excellent at. Plus, there are bubbles at every concert, as well as…..

3. Nursery rhymes as you’ve never heard them before

Ever wondered what ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ sounds like in a gospel-jazz style? Or heard ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ sung in 4-part harmony? Every concert offer the opportunity to experience specially-arranged versions of popular nursery rhymes, in what Harlano likes to call: “Baby Gospel Nursery Rhyme Time” (ok, the name might need a bit of work!)

It’s probably why TheSecretLifeOfMum described Baby Gospel as “like baby rhyme time but FAR cooler”!

4. Harlano’s jokes

Well….maybe not (sorry Harlano), but you can guarantee the choir’s front man will get the audience uplifted with his super-smiley demeanor and boundless energy. This picture says it all – you can’t fail to be cheered up with these guys around!

5. Benefits both you and your little one

Music has a direct link to our emotions, and different patterns of brain development are stimulated when we hear music.  Even better, if you sing along at a Baby Gospel concert, structural changes take place in the brain giving better overall aural memory!

Many of the songs selected for Baby Gospel concerts are uplifting, joyful and familiar which – hopefully – means you will feel better for hearing them.

Traditional gospel music typically has lots of repetition and uses hand-clapping or foot-stomping as rhythmic accompaniment – all of which is really accessible for young children to respond to, developing gross motor skills and promoting social bonding as they join in.

When The Curious Mummy reviewed Baby Gospel she said “as we left, we had a kick in our step, music in our ears and the biggest smiles on our faces.” What more could you ask for?


Baby Gospel Christmas family concerts are taking place this December in 5 venues across London. Visit our Events page for more information

Eight of London’s best Christmas shows and experiences for under 5s in 2017

… aside from Baby Broadway and Baby Gospel Christmas concerts, of course!

It’s December, which means that – along with the promise of Christmas cheer and lots of festive treats – there’s a pretty long stretch of time coming up, during which the children will need entertaining. Yikes.

Luckily you don’t have to rely on Advent Calendars, presents, TV or even your own Baby Broadway-esque singing skills to keep them sweet, because there are plenty of fun ways to get out and about in London this festive season AND introduce your young ones to the joys of live and big-screen entertainment.

Here’s the Baby Broadway pick of the most Christmassy shows (and other things) to do with your under 5s.

Sleepyhead at the Little Angel Theatre

The Little Angel Theatre, located in Islington, is a gem of a place. All of its shows feature incredible puppets and many are aimed at children and young people. There’s quite a lot going on this Christmas – including a fun workshop (we did it last year) where your child can make their own puppet – but this year’s show Sleepyhead is a real treat. We went this week and, although it’s aimed at 2-5 year olds, the grown ups’ faces ached from smiling.

It tells the story of a tired dad, a baby that won’t sleep, a circus, a magical rabbit and much more. If you love the silliness of The Muppets, you’ll enjoy this and at 45 minutes it’s a good length for toddlers. Ticket prices start at £11 for children.

For more information, visit the Little Angel website.

 

Boing at the Unicorn Theatre

While older children will enjoy the Unicorn Theatre’s adaptation of Christmas classic The Velveteen Rabbit, Boing is a spectacularly magical danceathon of a show designed to enchant those aged 2-6. It’s all about the excitement of going to bed on Christmas Eve, when there are beds to be jumped on, pillows to be fought with, seas to be sailed and incredible things to imagine. The Unicorn Theatre can be found near London Bridge station and tickets for Boing start at £12. The show lasts for 50 minutes.

Visit the Unicorn Theatre website for more.

 

Sponge at the Battersea Arts Centre

This is a Christmas show with a difference. Created entirely for babies and toddlers, Sponge takes  its young audience on a soft, bouncy adventure through lots of different sensory environments. Two friendly dancers and a leggy character called Splegs will be on hand to guide them through, giving children the opportunity to explore textures, shapes and sounds. The show is designed for those aged 4 months to 4 years and lasts 50 minutes. There are also gentler baby-only performances for those aged 4-18 months. Prices start at £10.

For more information, visit the Battersea Arts Centre website.

 

Underneath a Magical Moon at Jackson’s Lane

Jackson’s Lane in Haringey is the area’s flagship arts and cultural centre, and their Christmas show this year shows why. Underneath a Magical Moon retells the traditional story of Peter Pan through the eyes of Wendy Darling, using music, movement and more than a sprinkling of magic. Suitable for children aged 3+, the show lasts 60 minutes and tickets start at £14.95.

See the Jackson’s Lane website for more information.

 

Picturehouse Cinemas Toddler Time

This year, Picturehouse Cinemas – which has branches in Clapham, Greenwich, Hackney, Dulwich, Stratford and slap bang in the middle of the great West End – is showing a range of toddler-friendly Christmassy animations on the big screen. From The Snowman and The Snowdog to The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child (approx. running time for each 25-30 minutes) and longer big-screen classics including Frozen and The Princess and the Frog, there’s something for even the most wriggly toddler. And, as adults go free and children’s tickets start at just £3, it’s probably the most affordable cinema trip you’ll ever have in London.

For a full list of Picturehouse Cinemas and listings, visit the Picturehouse website.

 

Stick Man at the Leicester Square Theatre

If your kids love the Julia Donaldson iconic book, then Scamp Theatre’s adaptation of Stick Man would be a great alternative to a traditional pantomine if your kids are still a bit too young for all that. Featuring puppets, songs, live music, dancing and 55 minutes of top-notch entertainment, what’s not to love? It’s suitable for all ages and although prices are a little steep (starting at £16.50 for a child, although restricted view seats are available for £14) there are discounted family tickets on offer and those under 18 months are free.

For more information, visit the Leicester Square website.

 

The Ugly Duckling at The Albany

Who doesn’t love a traditional fairytale at Christmas? Even better when it comes with some magical, musical twists, like tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal’s adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic The Ugly Duckling, which comes to the Albany in Deptford this year. Suitable for those aged 3 and up, it uses live music and inventive physicality to tell this familiar tale of identity and self-worth. The show lasts approx. 50 minutes and tickets start at £8.

Visit the Albany Theatre website for more information.

 

The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre

Raymond Briggs’ much-loved story of a little boy’s wintery adventure with a magical snowman has been enchanting children for years, and The Peacock Theatre’s hit show is no exception. The stage production of The Snowman has become a festive classic, using dance, live music, storytelling and spectacular effects to bring this classic story to life. Suitable for all ages, at 1 hour 15 minutes the show lasts longer than many others on this list but there is an interval.

For more information, visit the Peacock Theatre website.

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List compiled by freelance writer Nicola Slavin. Baby Broadway did not receive any free tickets in return for promoting these shows.

What’s in store for the 2017 Baby Broadway Christmas concerts?

The nights are drawing in, Halloween and bonfires are behind us – it’s time to look forward to the festive season!

If you’re looking for something seasonal to enjoy with your little ones this year, we aim to please young and old with our family Christmas concerts. You can expect the usual musical theatre favourites from The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Elf the Musical as well as much-loved songs from Christmas films like Home Alone, The Snowman, White Christmas and The Polar Express. All ages are welcome, but we reckon that babies and children 0 – 8 will get the most out of the experience (and, of course, their grown ups!).

No less than eight professional singers will be performing across December with a huge breadth of experience in the West End, national and international tours in shows such as School of Rock, Cats, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Legally Blonde, Sweeney Todd, Avenue Q, Oliver, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and many more.

There’ll be plenty of audience interaction with bubbles, flying babies, jingly bells and maybe even some chimney sweeping ready for Santa’s visit! There’ll be actions to join in with on ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ – look out for a video on our Facebook page explaining how they work!

Last year the audience sported some fantastic Christmas outfits, including teeny-tiny elves and gorgeous mini Santas. Fancy dress is always welcome at Baby Broadway – we love to encourage freedom of expression in little ones and our performers’ Christmas jumpers will be getting an outing too!

The 2016 Christmas audiences were also a generous lot, raising £500 for Save the Children through a collection after the concerts. We always add a donation from ticket sales to the total and this year we will proudly be raising money for Unicef.

We can’t wait to bring our Christmas concerts to a venue near you for a third year running – you can book now to secure a spot, and we hope to see you there!