Musicians, storytellers, puppeteers, and ventriloquists from across Texas will be featured at The Woodlands Children’s Museum this month, thanks to recent grant funding from the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA).  The funding, totaling over $2,800, will be used to partially pay for the performance and travel fees of five artists from the Texas Touring Arts Program.  This program is designed to ensure that all Texans have the ability to enjoy performances by outstanding Texas-based companies and artists in their own communities.

“Being able to host artists from across the state and bring them to The Woodlands to share their talents with our community is such a privilege,” stated Angela Colton, Executive Director of The Woodlands Children’s Museum.  “Local children and families can enjoy puppeteers from Dallas, musicians from Austin, and storytellers from San Antonio.  We are grateful to the TCA for this program and the funding to provide this experience.”

Performing arts companies and artists from throughout the state apply to be included on the Texas Touring Roster. These artists must have a history of touring and must be willing to travel outside of their community to do a performance. Evaluators with expertise in touring arts evaluate applicants to this program.

This month, The Woodlands Children’s Museum will welcome the following TCA artists:

Singer/Songwriter Joe McDermott – On December 12, children’s singer/songwriter Joe McDermott will perform during the museum’s annual holiday event, Santa’s Morning Jingle.  Referred to as ‘a Texas treasure’ by the Texas Library Association, Joe has dedicated the last 32 years to honing the art and craft of entertaining children. His songwriting has garnered numerous Parent’s Choice Awards and nominations, in addition to NAPPA and International Song Writing Contest awards. In 2006, he took first place in the Children’s Music category for the John Lennon Song Writing Contest. He was also invited to team up with Stan and Jan Berenstain to convert eleven of their original storybooks to music. Impressed by Joe’s musical talent, Stan Berenstain quipped that Joe was an ‘absolute wizard at communicating to children with music.’  Joe will perform throughout the event from 8:00am – 11:00am and the concert is included with event admission.

Alphie the Elf Puppet Show with Margaret Clauder – On December 21, Margaret Clauder will masterfully capture the imaginations of children when they see her puppets magically talk and sing through Margaret’s outstanding ventriloquism.  An art that she has worked on diligently for over 30 years, Margaret is an internationally known and award-winning artist who has mentored hundreds of variety arts performers from around the globe.  During her visit to the museum, Margaret will present her Alphie the Elf Puppet Show, combining Christmas songs, puppetry and magic.  Two showtimes will be offered at 11:00am and 1:00pm on the day of the event and are included in the price of admission.

Live Music with Mr. Will – On December 22, the museum is excited to welcome back “Mr. Will” for a lively, toe-tapping sing-a-long of Americana and country music sets with a natural showman whose personality is as big as his signature upright bass.  Clap, march, dance, and jump as Mr. Will taps into the developmental and interactive aspects of raising kids with fun songs while showcasing a rambunctious spirit. The greatest charm of his shows is how the infectious melodies, combined with upbeat lyrics, get undeniably stuck in your head.  Two showtimes will be offered at 11:00am and 1:00pm on the day of the event and are included in the price of admission.

Storyteller Sue Kuentz – On December 28, storyteller Sue Kuentz will visit and delight guests by using words, music, puppetry, and even string figures to actively engage audience participation among listeners and mesmerize even the most reluctant children. Sue’s storytelling passion and energy originated from her 32 years as an elementary teacher and librarian in San Antonio. Her expertise excites and connects to children and families by taking them on a journey through multicultural folktales, fairytales, urban legends, and personal stories from around the world.  This is Sue’s first visit to The Woodlands Children’s Museum.  Two performance times will be offered at 11:00am and 1:00pm on the day of the event and are included in the price of admission.

Le Theatre de Marionette – On December 29, the museum is delighted to welcome back Le Theatre de Marionette’s performance of Peppermint Twist.  Known for its repertoire of storybook classics and variety shows, the Dallas-Ft. Worth-based touring company features one-of-a-king marionette puppets designed and built by a team of local artists.  This popular holiday show will feature dancing snowmen, mice, and penguins, a juggling teddy bear, Santa Claus, and many more surprise guests.  Two performance times will be offered at 11:00am and 1:00pm on the day of the event and are included in the price of admission.