On June 4, 2015, our new single, “The Church Usher’s Dance,” will be available for purchase via iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon.com, among other sites. There are four different versions of the song available, including an instrumental version.
Here it is! The much anticipated release of our music video premier for our new single “The Church Usher’s Dance,” which is a line dance song for children. The Church Usher’s Dance centers on an 8-year old named Tré who spent six days a week in church. On the rare occasion that he was able to attend his friend’s birthday party, he unintentionally started a new dance craze by simply being himself and doing the only dance that he knew – The Church Usher’s Dance.
The single goes on sale starting on June 4, 2015 and will be available as a download on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon and Google Music store. It will also be available in four different versions: 1) Radio Edit Version, 2) Extended Family Version, 3) The March and 4) The Instrumental Version.“The Church Usher’s Dance” was musically Co-Produced by pianist Matthew Whittaker and is a pre-release single off of Uncle Devin’s upcoming children’s CD entitled, “Be Yourself,” available later this year. The video was filmed at two historically black churches in Washington, DC (John Wesley AME Zion Church, Rev. Dr. Vernon Shannon, Pastor, and Contee AME Zion Church, Rev. Dr. Myrtle Bowen, Pastor) and includes footage of children and adults doing the dance, along with real church ushers marching during service.
According to Wildy Haskell of ReviewYou.com, the Church Usher’s dance, “drips with synth and rhythms straight out of the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. Think D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince for sound, but Uncle Devin brings his inimitable charm and storytelling style.” The Uncle Devin Show® is an interactive musical experience for children by children’s Drumcussionist, Devin Walker, and cultivates the minds of children through percussion instruments – a dynamic cross between Fat Albert and Schoolhouse Rock.
It was more than an honor to travel to the little town of McColl, South Carolina with my parents and fiancée in April to celebrate the 89th birthday of a very special lady, my great Aunt Oree! McColl, SC, is just a few miles south of the North Carolina boarder off of I-95 where we joined other family members in celebrating this special day.
We took her to her favorite restaurant, Fuller’s Old Fashion BBQ in Lumberton, NC, which is owned by Native Americans and serves some of the best southern cuisine you can have. I love it because Aunt Oree was always known for her homemade biscuits, served with molasses, which you will also find at Fuller’s. She enjoyed herself so much that she even got up and did a little dance for us, despite walking with a cane.
Aunt Oree, who is my mother’s aunt, has been more like a grandmother to me. Not only did she help raise my mother when she was young, but my parents got married in her front yard and she was with us when I was born. She loves to tell the story of how my father drove her “natural-born crazy” having her assist him with the assembly of my baby crib while my mother was busy at the hospital giving birth to me. Can’t nobody tell a story like Aunt Oree!
Happy Birthday Aunt Oree! You mean the world to me and my siblings. It was an honor being with you on your birthday and I wish you many, many more!
Like thousands across the United States, I am extremely saddened and concerned about the death of another unarmed black male (Freddie Gray) in police custody on April 19, 2015, which has led to growing protests in Baltimore, MD and other cities around the world. Hidden in all of this is the impact that these killings and protests are having on our children.The trauma of such events, especially for Black children living in impoverished communities, creates stress that can cause a lifetime of negative emotional and psychological issues for children. This stress, if unchecked, can also lead to feelings of burnout, anger, or depression as well as a host of physical ailments.
As a social and political organizer, I am a strong proponent of involving children early in life in political activity and social protests with the proper distressing tools that can reverse the negative aspects of stress and anxiety. Music is an excellent tool to reverse the negative effects of stress and anxiety.
As an artist dedicated to performing and creating music for children, I have come to appreciate how music can not only help to guide our children in understanding and dealing with controversial issues; but, it also creates the proper challenges and the reality checks of life that help our children develop empathy, resiliency and social awareness. It has a greater affect when the child actually plays an instrument as well; making music an invaluable tool for healthy living that should be a regular part of every child’s life.
According to Susan Kuchinskas of WebMD Magazine,
“Researchers now know that playing a musical instrument can switch off the stress response, improving physical and emotional health. When our senses detect a possible threat in the environment, the body undergoes a chain reaction in which genes within each cell switch on, directing the cells to produce chemicals associated with the stress response. Playing music sets off an opposite chain reaction that switches these genes off again.” http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/how-making-music-reduces-stress
Therefore, I encourage you not to shy away from exposing your children to social and political protests or having the difficult discussions about what is taking place in the world as long as you also include music as a major part of this process. Music is a very important tool to help children release the anxiety and concern that such activities and conversations can bring. Sign them up for music and movement classes; attend music events at libraries and community centers; or buy them a musical instrument. Give them the tools to succeed, which will teach them the importance of social engagement and letting their opinion be known.
* The Stress of Police Killings & Political Protests on Children: How Music Can Help!
* My Aunt’s Celebration: Turning 89 Years Young!
* Final Contributions and Thank You for Crowdfunding Campaign!
* Take Our Survey about the Children’s Music Industry! Takes less than 5 Minutes!
* Our Upcoming Shows!
* Join Our Mailing List and Get Free Download
Given the reduction of arts programs in schools across the United States, especially public schools, children are less exposed to musical instruments than they were 30 years ago. Funding will allow me to publish over 1,000 copies of “The ABC’s of Percussion” and add a music CD that brings the book to life through world beats and rhythms.
It will also help bring diversity to the children’s book industry. Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2014, just 84 were written by African Americans, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin.
Finally, this book will enhance The Uncle Devin Show®, which is an interactive musical experience for children using percussion instruments to cultivate their minds – a dynamic cross between Fat Albert and Schoolhouse Rock. This will bring me closer to my goal of connecting with children through percussion and the art of storytelling that will lead toward their personal, cultural and social development.
Instead of just focusing on the drum, “The ABC’s of Percussion” is one of few children’s books that specifically highlights 26 different percussion instruments in an educational and fun way by identifying one per letter of the alphabet through beautiful illustrations, with an accompanying music CD that recites the book aloud and plays each instrument.