The Plaza Family Band…

Recently Ziggy Marley, the son of Bob Marley, decided to put together a collection of his father’s songs and release it. The name of this new compilation was called B is for Bob. In this set, there was very little that was new. Maybe a few tweaks here and there, but all in all, the songs on this album could be found on other Bob Marley CDs. How creative. Out of curiosity, fueled by my growing cynicism, I looked deeper into this compilation to see what it was all about.

So what was the reason behind yet another Bob Marley compilation? This one was for the kids. On the back cover, their was a note from Ziggy himself. It read, “My father’s music spans generations and with B is for Bob we give the youngest their very own Bob Marley record.” Then it hit me. Bob Marley didn’t write just reggae music. Bob Marley’s music, at it’s core, was written for people of all ages – including kids. For the first time, I began looking at his music in a whole new light.

So you can imagine my reaction when a musical friend of mine, Mike Strauss, told me that he and some of his friends were releasing a children’s record. After discovering B is For Bob, I realized children’s music doesn’t have to be cheesy. Bob Marley wasn’t cheesy, and neither is Mike Strauss. Mike is just one of many members that make up the Plaza Family Band. This collaborative project was born out of a group of parents that have children enrolled at Plaza Presbyterian Weekday School.

The idea came about when a group of these parents were brainstorming a way to raise funds for the school. They could have sold chocolates, wrapping paper, flower bulbs, or even coupon books. But that would be too easy, and too cliche. This artsy neighborhood in Charlotte prefers to do things just a little bit differently.

So, they decided to pool their passions and talents together and come up with a children’s CD that they could offer as a fundraiser for the school. The project was given the green light last September by the school’s director Patti Schigoda. And after three short months, the Plaza Family Band released Playground Hootenany. Playground Hootenany features such classic children’s favorites like “This Old Man, “La Bamba”, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, and more. Mike Strauss and the many members of the Plaza Family Band have proven again that children’s music doesn’t have to be cheesy. It just needs to musically accessible to all ages.

For more information on the purchasing of Playground Hootenany, visit them online at All proceeds from the sale of the CD will benefit Plaza Presbyterian Weekday School and it’s mission to provide a learning environment for children that allows them to enjoy the wonders of early childhood without academic pressure.