GENOA – The children’s section at the Genoa Public Library was anything but quiet last Thursday night, when Dana McCarthy, owner of Jump Up! Family Music, brought his high-energy show to Genoa for an evening of family-friendly entertainment.
“It’s an interactive family performance designed to get kids and parents to sing and dance and get moving,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy, who asks audiences to call him “Mr. Dana,” takes his Jump Up! shows to libraries and other locations throughout northern Illinois. He is a former schoolteacher who started his business in 2010. The show became his full-time job when he left teaching last June, but he uses his years of teaching skills in his show.
“I incorporate early literacy skills, music skills, and parent modeling,” he said.
If parents and other adults are involved, kids are more likely to follow suit, McCarthy said.
McCarthy sings his own songs, written “specifically for young children, with their musical, physical, and literary development in mind,” as he encourages kids and adults to dance, sing, play musical instruments, and hula hoop.
He has written two childrens books and has released a CD of his songs. His three daughters were the inspiration for his songs.
The songs have fun lyrics and titles like “Macaroni and Cheese,” “Tangle in my Hair,” “Shaking All Over,” “I Love my Toes,” and “Chocolate Milk.”
“It was nice. This was my first time,” said Stacy Pacey of Genoa, who brought her grandson, Dean Pacey, 4, to the show. “It was nice because, like they said, you need to get out of the house if you have cabin fever.”
Dean was quick to answer when asked what his favorite part of the show was.
“I liked the hula hoop and dancing,” he said.