Kid Pan Alley looks to next 20 years

There’s one thing I’ve just go to say about love.

Though It’s our highest purpose, it can often hurt us

Cut us deep, right down to the bone

Love is just a feeling, a little whisper in your ear

Love is its own healing. It’s the reason we’re here

— “I Don’t Want to Say Anything About Love,” by Paul Reisler & the 5th grade at Wakefield Country Day School.

Kids have said some of the most remarkable things about love, respect, the earth and just about anything else you could think of in over 2,800 Kid Pan Alley songs written to date.

Three students of Rappahannock County Elementary School sing with Kid Pan Alley during a past concert. By Matthew Black

Now, as Kid Pan Alley enters its 20th year and the founder and Artistic Director Paul Reisler approaches his 70th birthday, the organization has embarked on a succession and sustainability project to insure the future of their creative work with children.

“While I love this work and would love nothing better than spending 365 days a year writing songs with kids,” according to Reisler, “I know it’s time to start that long cross fade from the intense daily work with the children to training other songwriters in the KPA techniques and creating more large scale works, such as musicals, that can help sustain the organization in the future.”

Since their beginnings here in Rappahannock they’ve seen the benefits of working in the creative process with the over 65,000 children who’ve participated in the program. Recognizing the importance and responsibility of keeping this unique project going to inspire future generations, they are working to grow and extend their reach across the country.

The KPA board of directors is thrilled to announce the addition of two new members to our leadership team — Jennifer Jacobson and Donna Bukevicz.

Jacobson starts as their new executive director on July 1st. A graduate of UVA Law School, she has been on the KPA board for the last 4 years and is currently vice president for Industry and Government Relations for Sony Music Entertainment. After many years in the corporate side of the music business, she says: “I am thrilled to be joining the Kid Pan Alley leadership team to help take this amazing organization to the next level and expand its ability to teach kids the power of songwriting and self-expression.”

Donna Bukevicz joined KPA as director of marketing and booking earlier this year and has been very successful in broadening the reach of Kid Pan Alley and keeping the expanding songwriting staff working non-stop.

Cheryl Toth, the current executive director, will shift her focus to grant writing, assisting in residencies, and helping Reisler train KPA teachers.

All accomplished singers themselves, they recognize the importance of music and the creative process in the education of children. Growing the organization is going to require an expansion of both the donor base and increased earned income.

In celebration of 20 years of KPA, there will be an anniversary album release concert in October.

The big news is the premiere of “The Talented Clementine,” a new KPA musical written by Reisler based on the popular Clementine series of children’s books. It runs May 31st through June 9th at Encore Theatre in Arlington. They’ll bring that production to Rappahannock on June 15th for a performance at the Theatre at Washington. For tickets and info: www.bit.ly/k-clem

As in previous years, KPA will be part of Give Local Piedmont on May 7th. Thanks to a generous matching grant from the board of directors and prizes and bonuses from GLP, every dollar donated from now through May 7th will be worth approximately $2.25 to Kid Pan Alley.

Visit www.GiveLocalPiedmont.org/KidPanAlley and while there check out the many other worthwhile organizations in this community that are participating.

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