Musica Franklin Fun Fest seeks to empower local youths

  • Vicki Citron, Musica Franklin’s founding director, leads children in the program in a song at the Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew in Greenfield in 2016. Citron says Musica Franklin’s upcoming Fun Fest on Saturday is “all about youth voice.” Staff File Photo/Matt Burkhartt

  • The Gaslight Tinkers will perform at Musica Franklin’s third annual Fun Fest on Saturday in Peskeomskut Park in Turners Falls. Contributed photo

  • Viva Quetzal will perform at Musica Franklin’s third annual Fun Fest on Saturday in Peskeomskut Park in Turners Falls. Contributed photo

  • Children participate in Musica Franklin’s Fun Fest in 2019. This year’s event will be held Saturday in Peskeomskut Park in Turners Falls. Contributed photo/Blue Finch Photography

  • Children participate in Musica Franklin’s Fun Fest in 2019. This year’s event will be held Saturday in Peskeomskut Park in Turners Falls. Contributed photo/Blue Finch Photography

Staff Writer
Published: 7/13/2021 3:49:10 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Musica Franklin, a youth development organization based around music and social justice, is hosting its third annual Fun Fest on Saturday in Peskeomskut Park.

Largely geared toward empowering local youths, the free event, from 1 to 5 p.m., will feature performances by Musica Franklin students, as well as Afro-Andean fusion band Viva Quetzal and Celtic fusion band The Gaslight Tinkers. In addition, various entertainment stations and arts and crafts opportunities will be available.

Musica Franklin Founding Director Vicki Citron said she sees music as a uniquely powerful platform for children to connect with their community.

“We feel like we have music from all cultures and we want to have all cultures represented,” Citron said. “We believe that through the arts, we can express emotions that can’t be expressed through other things.”

In its third year, the Fun Fest looks to further Musica Franklin’s mission to give children a voice. Citron said this is especially imperative for the youths involved with Musica Franklin, as a large part of the student body consists of children from underprivileged households. Many of these students also identify as Latinx, which may make the Latinx theme included in the festival feel more personal, she said.

The first set at the Fun Fest, which begins at 1:30 p.m, looks to directly uplift Musica Franklin students by having their orchestra play side-by-side with both amateur and professional adult musicians.

“The kids are really excited to perform,” Citron said. “They really want something to give back to the community. It changes people’s expectations of what they can do.”

At 2:30 p.m., Afro-Andean fusion band Viva Quetzal takes the stage. A seven-member band inspired by Chilean and Peruvian folk traditions, their music also encompasses rock, jazz and world beat influences. Then, at 3:30 p.m., The Gaslight Tinkers will perform. The band marries Northern fiddle music with Afrobeat, Caribbean, breakbeat, funk and Latin influences to form their signature sound.

Arts and crafts activities will be available throughout the afternoon while music fills the air. At 2:15 p.m., there will also be an “instrument petting zoo” where guests can interact with and try out different instruments.

While Viva Quetzal and The Gaslight Tinkers have made a name for themselves within the local music scene, Citron said the primary focus of the Fun Fest is the Musica Franklin students.

“It’s all about youth voice,” Citron said. “We are here for their voices to be heard.”

Both designated social distancing areas and open seating will be available to the public. Masks are required for those who aren’t vaccinated and for anybody within 6 feet of activity tables. Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets and/or lawn chairs.

In the event of rain, the Fun Fest will be moved to Sunday.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or
jmendoza@recorder.com.




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