Best Kids' Musician

Gary Lapow

Decades ago, Gary Lapow toured the country as a member of the Freedom Singers — the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's musical mouthpiece — promoting peace and equal rights. Today, the Berkeley-based Lapow continues to perform music with a message, though his focus has shifted to things like nutrition, self-esteem, and respect. "It's propaganda for how to have fun and treat other people with kindness," Lapow says of his catchy, upbeat children's songs. Nine albums, a Disney Channel concert, and countless live performances have established Lapow nationally as a first-rate kids' entertainer — he periodically travels the country as a Wolf Trap Institute Master Artist, training educators how to combine learning and the arts. But that doesn't mean the East Bay's gotten left out of the picture. Lapow performs a variety of shows centered on diversity, literacy, and other positive themes at schools, libraries, and community centers throughout Northern California. Lapow's infectious energy and showmanship (he occasionally ditches his guitar to strum a rubber chicken) are a hit with kids and teachers alike.

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