Kidzapalooza gets local flair from Brothers, Collaboraction and School of Rock

This week, all the cool kids will be hanging out at Lollapalooza – in particular, at the Kidzapalooza Stage, where the youngest fans can partake in Airbrush “Tattooz”, get pictures at the rock star photo booth, learn how to use Beatbox, and of course enjoy daily guided entertainment For the whole family.

“There are a lot of stimuli in Lollapalooza, and Kidzapalooza is kind of an escape from sensory overload and heat, and a place where kids can come and play” for the weekend, says Anthony Mosley, Collaboraction Group Artistic Director and Official Theater Director.

As part of Kidzapalooza programming, Collaboraction — a Chicago theater group focused on social change in its 26th season — will stage “The Light” at 3 p.m. Thursday. The multidisciplinary piece of art (also part of “Nights Out in the Parks” in August) features six young superhero artists/activists to discuss important messages such as body positivity, a celebration of differences, and mental health. The band includes 15-year-old twin dancers, Phallon and Kyra Pierce, who currently have a sponsored bill on the Illinois House floor, The Pierce Twins Law, that would create a new statewide high school reading list with more diverse representation.

“There’s a lot we can learn from the kids, and what I love personally is that they come back every year and you can see them grow and develop right before your very eyes,” Moseley says. He adds, “Music, art, and history convergence are fundamental to our growth and development as social beings, and by showing young people as artists/activists, we hope to inspire other young people to do the same.”

The collaboration “The Light” – starring Ella Ray (from left), Ava Lynn Trebsky, Kyra Pierce, Fallon Pierce, Marcus Jackson and Nate Bucher – will be presented Thursday at Kidzabaloosa.

It’s a feeling the Q Brothers would love to see, too. The powerful 20-year-old local group — known for translating classic stage works from Shakespeare to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to hip-hop plays before “Hamilton” — has been a part of Kidzapalooza since its inception. They will have two shows this year, at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“We’ve known these families for 15 years who tell us, ‘Our kids are in college and we still listen to the song they sing about ice cream with you guys,'” says Q Brothers co-founder JQ.

Along with partner GQ, the Q Brothers will perform tracks from their 2020 album “Buggin” at Kidzapalooza, showcasing their improvisational and freestyle rap skills with the help of the audience.

“The idea is that kids are just little human beings, and in some ways maybe more open to listening to any kind of music than adults,” says GQ. “We never give up on her.”

Nor does the school of rock, whose students have the chance to actually play on stage in groups at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday and 3 p.m. on Friday.

“Our mission is to enrich lives through performance-based music education, so putting students on stage is an essential part of what we do,” said Andy Levenberg, Director of Music Education, who estimates that more than 200 school alumni have played Kidzapalooza for years. Some even went on as adults to form bands that played the main stages of the festival, including Hippo Campus and Dr. Dog.

The rock school students playing Kidzapalooza this year are ages 12-18 and exclusively descend from some of the 19 Chicago area schools that have enrollment open all year. This week their group will run the full gamut, from Deep Purple and Prince to Aretha Franklin and My Chemical Romance.

“I would encourage parents and children to come and check it out,” says Levenberg. “Having young people in the audience makes the students really excited because they are playing with their peers. …And my favorite part is watching the faces of the adults when the students are playing and they blow them up.”

Students from Chicago-area rock school locations will entertain Lollapalooza fans at this year's Kidzapalooza stage.

Students from Chicago-area rock school locations will entertain Lollapalooza fans at this year’s Kidzapalooza stage.

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