The Savannah Music Festival (SMF) will be celebrating five years of its extensive educational initiative Musical Explorers on March 9.

They will host a  free family-friendly event from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Yamacraw Center for Performing Arts at Esther F. Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts. 

For the first Musical Explorers Family Jam, the SMF has partnered with Loop It Up Savannah and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The day include a wide range activities and performances by Laiken Love (soul, R&B), Gino Castillo (salsa), Rebecca Flaherty (opera) and the McIntosh County Shouters (ring shout). Concert times are 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The Musical Explorers Family Jam has been designed for children pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade, but all are welcome.

“The one thing we hear from schools after each Musical Explorers concert is how disappointed parents and caregivers are that they were unable to attend with their student,” said Jenny Woodruff, SMF education director. “We created this event specifically to give students the chance to share all their favorite kinds of music with their families, and for parents and caregivers to participate in the fun.”


Woodruff told me that she had been hoping to work with Loop It Up for a long time and approached director Molly Lieberman, who conceived a variety of art projects, a Musical Explorers museum, a balloon arch and much more.

“The Family Jam is the kind of event that SMF wants to do more of in the future, and Loop It Up is the perfect community partner for us right now,” said Woodruff.

“Loop It Up Savannah is so excited to be working with the SMF on this inaugural event, which will be a great access point to music, movement and visual arts for children and families throughout Savannah,” said Molly Lieberman, executive director of Loop It Up Savannah.

“One of my favorite moments in the last 10 years was when I walked into a first grade classroom to work on a mural project and found that the students were listening to the Musical Explorers songs as they worked,” Lieberman said. “Partnerships like this ensure that the arts are a consistent and positive force in the lives of our children.”

The SMF’s Musical Explorers program, which was developed in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, reaches more than 10,000 Kindergarten through second grade students at Savannah area schools each year.

In addition to the other outreach efforts, Loop It Up partners with the Savannah-Chatham Public School System and 21st Century Community Learning Centers to provide daily after-school programming to more than 500 children.


Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged ( and hissing lawns ( Email