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Press Release

May 18, 2016 - For Immediate Release

Singer-Songwriter Judy Pancoast Celebrates 20 Years Performing for Children

Goffstown, NH – May 18, 2016: Back in March, 1996, Britney Spears was not yet a household name, little kids were still enjoying Barney, and no one had ever heard of children singing “sanitized” versions of adult songs to sell music. Judy Pancoast had decided to leave behind her dual careers as independent musician and radio announcer and go back to college to become a teacher to give her family a more “normal” life. Then a funny thing happened…

Pancoast was taking a gap year between the completion of classes and beginning student teaching when she took a job as a paraprofessional at Maple Avenue Elementary School in Goffstown. Working in Denise Forest’s first grade classroom, she was delighted that every day began with the children on the rug singing songs. One day, a child brought a ladybug in from recess, and Pancoast made up a ditty about it. Before long, she’d composed a bunch of songs for kids, and word got around. Principal Marc Boyd asked her to do an assembly for the school; after that, the Goffstown Library called. “We hear you perform children’s music,” they said, “and we’d love for you to do a concert here.” Pancoast hung up the phone, turned to her husband and said, “I think I have a new career.”

Twenty years later Pancoast has performed for tens of thousands of children all over the US and abroad, and has recorded six albums- one of which, “Weird Things are Everywhere,” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011. This year she celebrates her 20tth year of writing and performing music for children.

“I feel privileged to be a part of so many people’s childhood memories. People often get in touch to say they still have my CDs or even cassettes, and they share them with their own children. The other day at the doctor’s office a receptionist began singing one of my songs to me. Her kids are in their twenties now!” says Pancoast.

Attending the Grammy Award ceremony in Los Angeles with her family was a highlight of her career, but Pancoast says that having the opportunity to build a career around her children was more important than anything. Her daughters had been to 49 states by the time they graduated from high school, all because of touring with mom and being part of the show. Both now work in the entertainment business in New York City.

In 2004 and 2005 Pancoast spent time in Kenya, writing songs with the children at the Nyumbani Children’s Home. She brought the children to a recording studio in Nairobi and oversaw the recording of two of the songs, which were featured on a CD that became a fundraiser for the orphanage.

How is Pancoast celebrating the twenty-year milestone? A summer schedule filled with solo shows and with her energetic back-up dancers, the Judy Crew, has her performing in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In addition, Pancoast has just released a new recording, “Seven Words that Make Kids Laugh,” which is garnering rave reviews from children’s music deejays and on YouTube. A full-album is being recorded this summer and fall, with help from a Kickstarter fan-funding campaign Pancoast will be opening up at the end of May.

“It used to be that one album’s sales financed the production of the next album, but with the advent of streaming services such as Spotify, sales are way down. The royalties I make from streaming are nowhere near enough to finance the next recording, so, for the first time, I’m going to my fans for support, and I hope they want what I have to offer!” says Pancoast.

Mark Zuckerberg was twelve years old in 1996, but now Pancoast interacts with her fans daily on his social networking platform, Facebook. She can also be found on Twitter, and loves to keep in touch with people via social networking. She often asks their opinions on musical projects, and shares tidbits from her personal life as well.

Children’s music has changed a lot since Pancoast began singing “Swimmin’ in Jello” twenty years ago. “I think it really started with Britney Spears. Because she was a teen, her music was deemed okay for children, even though it had adult themes. That led to the craze of CDs marketed to kids of children singing adult songs,” says Pancoast.

Nowadays, the children’s music scene has exploded with many of the most popular artists branding themselves as “kindie.” Pancoast herself has been labeled “old school” by the new generation of kids’ musicians, who tend more toward rock and alternative styles.

Pancoast says she doesn’t mind being branded old-fashioned. “I believe that most parents still want wholesome, relatable music for their children. There’s room for all kinds of styles in children’s music. My style is music where the lyrics are clever and understandable and engage children with memorable melodies and sophisticated arrangements.”

When a parent is still singing the Judy Pancoast songs she shared with her children twenty years ago, we’d say Judy is hitting the mark!

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