Tay and Aimee Bagley grew up playing musical instruments – Tay the guitar and Aimee the flute – and often use their record player at home. They listen to old-school musicians such as Elvis Presley and Otis Redding while mixing in newer folk bands like the Avett Brothers as well as Shovels and Rope.
Their 3-year-old son, Ronan Bagley, also enjoys it and seems to be just as musically inclined as his parents. He has a toy guitar and a drum, too.
“He’s at the age where anything you can drum on and bang on, he loves,” Tay Bagley said. “He likes to find the beat and tap his foot, so that might be his instrument in the future.”
Ronan Bagley can continue harnessing his drumming skills at the fifth annual Heights Kids’ Day of Music festival, which will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Love Park, 1000 W. 12th St. With the help of the Houston Arts Alliance’s Festival Grant, awarded through the Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the event is adding two new tents this year, including one for drumming.
The Joy of Drumming tent will feature the Joy of Djembe Drumming Group, which will be hosting hands-on learning sessions and performing every hour. At 1 p.m. the Arabic Immersion Magnet School music program will join the group for a community drum circle. All are welcome to bring their own hand drum and join in. After the drumming circle, the Arabic Immersion Magnet School will take over the tent.
The second new activity is the Just Add Beats tent, which is a program by Andrew Karnavas. In the past he has performed at the Heights Kids’ Day of Music as Andyroo and the Andyrooniverse, and his company Yawp Records handles the live sound production every year.
Last year, the Heights Kids’ Day of Music attracted more than 3,200 people from all over Houston to experience the arts together in an interactive way.
“The eclectic local lineup highlights the breadth, depth and blending of music and cultures in Houston,” Karnavas said.
Inspiring children to have a lifelong love of the arts was Christi Gell’s purpose when she created the Heights Kids’ Day of Music, a nonprofit organization at bringing local music to local families. She said the only festivals that were kid-friendly were only so because of face painting, a bounce house and other activities that kids enjoy.
What Gell was looking for was an art-focused experience for kids. The idea was to expose them to instruments, sounds and singing they may not have heard before.
“Other festivals tend to bring in outside performers, but Houston has such a wealth of talent that it was important to use local musicians to play the festival,” Gell said.
Participating organizations set up in the “Creative Zone” and are all arts-based. Each vendor has an interactive activity for kids.
Taking the stage will be Tom’s Fun Band, which is an interactive musical group that entertains with an acoustic guitar, ukulele, bass and drums. Next, ThunderSOUL Orchestra will perform R&B and Funk. Then Yelba’s Latin Fire will bring a high-energy performance leading up to the closing act, The Wicked Pandas, who will play a variety of rock, pop, punk and funk.
Opera in The Heights performers come out to share with kids the different styles of singing, encouraging the kids to try singing different ways themselves.
Paige Myrick of Opera in The Heights not only enjoys seeing attendees interacting with the arts, but loves seeing parents and children enjoying it together.
“It’s important for the parent and child to experience the performance together,” Myrick said. “It’s kind of atypical.”
Every year, the festival runs a lyrics contest in which third and fourth graders submit lines of poetry. Winners are announced the day of the event, and each winner’s poem is performed by Tom’s Fun Band.
The festival will also have an instrument petting zoo. Heights High school and University of Houston musicians will bring their instruments for kids to hear how each one differs in sound. The student may even allow a kid to try their instrument out for themselves.
“The whole idea (of the petting zoo) is that kids will get inspired to play an instrument in the future,” Gell said.
Festival goer Susan Brady said her kids loved the instrument petting zoo.
“They loved watching the musicians play and hearing the different sounds,” Brady said. “I’m excited to take my kids back to the festival again this year.”