Laurie Berkner is a beloved musical artist and preschool television star who specializes in children’s music. She and her band mate Susie Lampert will both be appearing at The Paramount in Huntington on December 8 at 3pm to perform an incredible holiday-themed concert.
The Holiday Celebration includes songs such as “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman,” plus originals from Laurie’s well-loved album, A Laurie Berkner Christmas, like “Santa’s Coming to My House Tonight.” Laurie and the band will pay tribute to Hanukkah with “Candle Chase” and “The Dreidel Song.” Laurie and Susie also perform an array of Laurie’s greatest hits, such as “We Are The Dinosaurs,” “Victor Vito,” and “Pig On Her Head,” along with tunes from Laurie’s new album, Waiting for the Elevator. Kids should plan to bring their dancing shoes and a stuffed animal (for their heads), and Laurie hopes everyone will join in the holiday spirit and sing along!
Laurie Berkner’s holiday shows have become a beloved seasonal tradition for many families, as essential as sleigh rides, snowmen, and hot cocoa by the fireside. Laurie is one of most popular children’s entertainers in the U.S. She has filled countless venues nationwide with adoring fans and sold millions of albums, songs, and videos. Her shows are interactive since the songs get the kids (and adults) on their feet to sing, clap, and dance along. She keeps even the youngest audience members fully engaged with dynamic expressions of musical joy in active songs like “I’m Gonna Catch You” and “Rocketship Run,” and gives everyone a chance to catch their breath between high-energy moments by including quieter interludes featuring songs such as Laurie’s classic “Moon Moon Moon.” Laurie displays an instinctive understanding of children’s natural rhythms and energy in her shows, which keeps kids enraptured and brings parents happily along for the ride.
Laurie has received tremendous critical acclaim and yet the Holiday Celebration show is something that she holds particularly dear and discussed via a recent exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get the idea for a holiday concert?
Laurie Berkner (LB): We started playing annual holiday concerts after we released A Laurie Berkner Christmas in 2010.
Susie Lampert (SL): Our friendship goes way back – since even before that – and the love of playing holiday music has always been something that we shared, so we decided to try a more intimate format this year and do a show with just the two of us, for fun!
MM: How did you come up with the ideas for your songs and lyrics?
LB: The holiday songs that I’ve written came from thinking about things I remember about the holidays from when I was a kid. I have one called “Santa’s Coming to my House Tonight” that is about not being able to sleep because the idea of Santa visiting is so exciting. That was exactly how I felt as a kid. It felt like I barely slept at all on Christmas Eve, and – like in the song – I always left food out in case Santa was hungry when he got to our house.
MM: How do children react to the music and is one song a typical favorite?
LB: The kids who come to our shows really seem to love the music that we play, and they sing and dance along to all of the songs. In particular, at the holiday concerts, which song would you say they like best, Susie?
SL: They love the ones they might already know and can sing along with, like “Rudolph” and “Jingle Bells.”
LB: Oh yes, especially “Jingle Bells!” And I think the kids who celebrate Hanukkah are especially excited to sing with us when we do the “Dreidel Song” and “Candle Chase.”
MM: How did you celebrate the holidays growing up and what are some of your favorite traditions?
SL: As a kid I celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas (my father was Jewish and my mother is Christian), so we embraced the best of both worlds. Coming from a family of six kids, my favorite tradition was all of us gathering in Wolfeboro, NH for Christmas, along with my grandparents and cousins. It was magical to be up there, and I felt like I was in a picture of a dream Christmas from a postcard. My grandparents had a big house with a barn attached, and there weren’t enough beds for everyone, so half of us would sleep on the floor. It was the coziest and most exciting night of the year.
LB: Even though we were not a religious family (my father was an avowed atheist and my mother was agnostic by the time she had us) for me, Christmas was always a very big and exciting holiday. I looked forward to everything about it, from the trimming of the tree, to lighting candles and singing carols with the people in my town, or as a family on the couch on Christmas Eve (which I LOVED). And of course, opening presents on Christmas morning. I actually felt like I was waiting for Christmas to come all year long.
MM: How did you start working with The Paramount in Huntington and what do you most enjoy about the venue?
LB: I was invited to play at The Paramount for the first time a couple of years ago and have always had a fantastic experience. The people at the venue are great to work with, and the audience is always filled with wonderful energy.
SL: This will actually will be my first show at The Paramount and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll let you know after the show is over!
MM: What can audiences expect from this concert and what are some of the wild ways people have dressed up for it?
LB: We’ll be playing a mix of holiday songs, our Laurie Berkner Band hits, and some new songs from our latest album, “Waiting For The Elevator.” There will, as always, be lots of audience involvement including dancing, singing and many opportunities for kids to move their bodies. We have seen people dress up in Santa hats, Rudolph costumes, and some kids (and parents) even come as a character from one of my songs called “Candy Cane Jane” or her horse – who has a candy cane mane!
MM: Is there anything else coming up soon that you would like to mention?
LB: We have a couple of other holiday shows in the NY area with the whole band. We’ll be in Tarrytown, NY the day before, as well as in Concord, NH the following weekend.
SL: We expect to see all of you at all of them!
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Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist, and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Blasting News, and Entertainment Vine. She is also a stop-motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a BA in English Literature and a MA in Communication. She is also an animal advocate and a fledging toy and game designer.
Meagan is a contributing editor to Kidskintha writing on Toys, Games, Entertainment, and other topics that are happy and fun!