David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans have all three of these twofers going for them at once. The couple has been presenting musical shows for children and grown-ups since their sons were a year-and-a-half, and they've traveled, with the little ones in tow, from Boston to California, with many performance stops in-between.
Their latest release, Love Makes a Family, is their second album, featuring 16 songs for young people, sung by one or both of them, and with David on the guitar. Their first CD, Live Each Moment, focuses on songs for each stage of life--childhood, adolescence, relation-ships, and growing old.
How did they pre-pare themselves for per-forming in coffeehouses, schools, libraries, daycare centers, book-stores and festivals? Jenny learned to play the piano as a child, and, during a summer at Oberlin, helped form an a capella women's group. More recently she sang for four years with the well-known Anna Cruises Choir. David's father taught him to play guitar, a skill he used playing in bluegrass groups in high school and at Oberlin. With a conservatory degree in composition, he teaches music theory at the Sun School in Haverford, Pennsylvania. The couple was also involved for a few years with the Folk Factory Coffeehouse at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of the Restoration in Mt. Airy, a Philadelphia suburb, where they not only performed regularly, but volunteered their time to help run the center and handle bookings.
"What's really important for us is doing songs of social significance," says Jenny. They have composed songs on behalf of the reproductive rights of women and on behalf of lesbian mothers, and their new album has an anti-smoking song; one about black and white playmates whose mothers are upset by the friendship; and another about a deaf girl who is teased and shunned until she teaches her class-mates how to sign.
Wearing their Dr. Suess-type, tall, striped, stovepipe hats, they hold an audience's attention from the first moment. Surely it's only a matter of time until little Ari and Jason join the act. Then they'll be billed "Four of a Kind," which, of course, is what they are.
Write David and Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org