In The Spotlight

In 2016 we are excited to spotlight – not one, but TWO individuals that have played a role in laying the foundation for what we know today as Kindie music!

First, joining Kathy O’Connell on stage during the KindieComm Lunch will be legendary jazz performer Bob Dorough. It is a hallmark of Dorough’s seven-decade career that many people have heard him but didn’t know it.

Bob Dorough

Dorough may hold the world record for uncredited appearances on jazz albums including recording with Miles Davis in 1962, but is best unknown as a voice and primary composer of most of the songs used in Schoolhouse Rock!, the popular series of educational animated shorts appearing on Saturday morning television in the 1970s and 1980s on ABC television affiliates. Among Dorough’s masterful compositions were iconic staples like “My Hero, Zero,” “Three Is a Magic Number”, “Conjunction Junction” and many, many more. In 1996, Bob joined fellow Schoolhouse Rock musicians to form Schoolhouse Rock Live! – a musical theatre adaptation of the show.

In December 2007, Dorough was honored by East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania with a Doctor of Fine Arts honorary degree. He has received the Pennsylvania Governor’s Artist of the Year Award and was named to the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame.

Joining Bob will be Mitchell Kezin of Mabooshi Film Company. Mitchell is in the final leg of producing a documentary titled But For Now: The Music & Mojo of Bob Dorough, telling the extraordinary tale of seminal bebop pianist, vocalist, composer, and producer Bob Dorough’s life and career.



Then, wrapping up our day Kathy O’Connell will chat with singer/songwriter/educator Robbi Kumalo. For the past 35 years, Robbi has been involved with entertaining kids – through both music and theater. A winner of a John Lennon Songwriting award, Robbi has a unique combination of song, story-telling, humor and imagination. Robbi’s work celebrates American folklore and diversity, gently reminding us of how profoundly we are all connected via music, history and daily interaction – and how lost we would be without the support and example of our neighbors in the global community.

In 1993, she married Grammy award-winning South African bassist Bakithi Kumalo, whom she had met while working for Paul Simon. The couple’s two daughters, Mbali and Daliswa, are central to their parents’ continuing involvement with children’s theater. Trips to South Africa with her family have added still another language to the several she was already comfortable with – she sings and speaks Spanish, French, German, and Italian – and made it possible for her to develop a host of characters incorporating different accents, dialects, and idioms in Zulu.


Past KindieComm Spotlights

At KindieComm 2015, we were honored to welcome Bob McGrath ‘In The Spotlight’ for a one-on-one chat on stage at World Cafe Live, complete with Bob closing the afternoon with a few sing-along performances!



Bob McGrath has been a core part of the Sesame Street family since the show’s inception in 1969 (that’s 45 years!), as one of the first four original human cast members. A great favorite with everyone he meets, Bob is always ready to sing, tell stories, give music lessons, explain something to Big Bird, and even dress up as a bumblebee.

Music has always been a big part of Bob McGrath’s life, and he often performs in concerts and makes public appearances. McGrath has recorded numerous CDs and sing-alongs, and has performed in thousands of children’s concerts, encouraging his young fans to explore the world of music. Visit him online

McGrath is a committed advocate for children, and has participated in telethons and other fundraising events for more than 30 years. In 2002, he was inducted into the Silver Circle of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of the National Music Council’s American Eagle Award, the National Association of Music Educators’ Fame Award for furthering the cause of music education, and the 2006 Saskatchewan Centennial Award. McGrath has chaired National UNICEF Day and has hosted World Children’s Day at the United Nations. He has also served as host and artistic director for the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap for more than 15 years.

At our inaugural KindieComm 2014 we wanted to turn the spotlight on the generation of Kindie artists that have been performing for kids long before the word Kindie even existed! A perfect way was to welcome our spotlight guest Barry Louis Polisar.


On the eve of his 40th anniversary performing music for kids, Barry has traveled throughout the United States and Europe as a visiting author in schools and libraries. He is a five-time Parents’ Choice Award winner and has performed in The White House, The Smithsonian and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Over the past four decades, Barry has written songs for Sesame Street and The Weekly Reader, has starred in an Emmy Award-winning television show for children and has been featured regularly on The Learning Channel. Along with performing for tens of thousands of families and influencing a generation of musicians, Barry works with literacy groups, media specialists, reading teachers and Title I programs in the schools and has won a Special Library Recognition Award for his “ability to communicate with and excite children to read.”

Barry’s song “All I Want Is You” was featured during the opening credits of Jason Reitman’s film Juno. This song is also currently featured on the National Lottery (United Kingdom), the Honda Civic “Date With a Woodsman”, and the Del Monte Foods “Bursting with Life” advertisements.

A two-disc tribute album, compiled by Aaron Cohen of the Radioactive Chicken Heads entitled “We’re Not Kidding! A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar” was released in 2010. The album features covers of 60 of Polisar’s songs by artists such as DeLeon, Rebecca Loebe, The Radioactive Chicken Heads, Tor Hyams, and Barry Louis Polisar’s son Evan Polisar.

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