Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kennedy School

  • Friends of Music: a benefit concert

    • for the Roseway Heights Elementary School Music Program

    • Mo Phillips

    • School of Rock - Portland

    • Oh Darlin'

    • Honey Wars

    2 p.m. 'til 6 p.m.

    Minor with parent or guardian

    Adults $10; Kids 6 & under free; Suggested donation for Adults $25

Budget cuts in education mean schools everywhere are facing the sad but very real prospect of their music programs being diminished or eliminated. Music is too important for our kids. We can't just let it fade away.

Please join us in our cause to help keep the music playing in our school.

Proceeds for this very special concert go directly to Roseway Heights and will be used for a music program at the school. Tickets will be available at the door on the day of the benefit, and at the school.

The event will be hosted by local family entertainment hero, Mo Phillips. L.A.- based quartet "Oh Darling", and an ensemble from Portlands acclaimed "School of Rock" along with the Alt-Country Rock Band "Honey Wars" will take the stage for an afternoon of fun, community and music for music.

**** While this event is kid friendly, it is first and foremost a "fundraiser" and the space is limited, it is simple, the more adults that attend the more money we raise. ****

Mo Phillips

"I'm diggin' the lo-fi movement goin' on in Kids' Music right now: Kimya Dawson's Alphabutt, String Bean Jones' Live from the Bathtub, Mr. David's Jump in the Jumpy House, and now Mo Phillips' Train Beard. Now, lo-fi doesn't mean low quality, as evidenced by the great material and performances on all the above CDs. It just means presenting songs from a different angle, thinking outside the musical box, so to speak. ... Great kids' debut from a unique talent."

- Warren Truitt, Kids Music That Rocks review of Mo Phillips' Train Beard

 "We've spent the last few years following Kindie musicians around the city. Our goal has been to find artists that our kids can cut a rug to, and that we like, too. One of our favorites is Mo Phillips. The kids love Mo because he's fun and makes them feel like dancing, catching air, and laughing all at once. His songs are original, not syrupy sweet, and he's usually good for a toe tapping rendition of a song from our youth."  - NW Kids Magazine

Beloved by families in Portland, Oregon, independent musician Mo Phillips is ready to burst onto the national scene with the April release of his third kids'/family CD, Monster Suit.

The uncomplicated charm of Monster Suit stems from its refreshing connection to what was happening in the late '50s, when rock 'n' roll was evolving from a cultural mix of country, folk, and African-American influence. With a style and delivery sometimes reminiscent of Woody and Arlo, Mo Phillips offers classic acoustic rock 'n' roll with a minimum of electric effects in a finely tuned but fiery blend of Americana, soul and blues.

Enhanced by contributions from a gaggle of gifted Portland musicians, Monster Suit's variety is beyond impressive. With music ranging from "Rollerskate Banana Peels" (a super jam of crazy energy) to "All Okay" (the album's "lullaby" ballad), each song has its own sound, beat, and artistic space that does not impinge on the other tracks. Monster Suit is exceptionally well balanced, the fidelity is first class, the players all have their acts together, the back-up singers are delightfully hip, and (the best part for many parents) the lyrics are never obscured by the energy of their setting.  Mo Phillips feels strongly about not dumbing down lyrics or melodies for kids, and he sings about topics whole families can appreciate.  On Monster Suit, these include being exactly who you want to be ("The Princess and The Cowboy"), a party gone awry ("The Worst Party Ever Thrown"), bad hair days ("Bed Head"), a surprising fact about ducks ("Ducks Don't Get Wet"), and more.

Says Mo, "Sanity can be hard to come by in the parental world, and I'm just trying to offer a small dose with my music. Monster Suit is my third album for families and the first done in a proper studio (and not in my basement)! This CD covers a lot of sonic ground and contrasting subject matter but still hangs together.  I wanted to create an album for parents to jam to with their kids."

Red Tricycle recognizes this: "Don't be ashamed if you find yourself humming Mo Phillips songs even after the kids are in bed. This Portland dad has kids and parents in mind when writing his songs. Fans of indie rock will like his quirky melodies and both generations can relate to topics like bad dreams and the joy of riding a bike."  

Mo continues, "My main influences include Neil Young and The Rolling Stones, although many of my compositional ideas stem from my undergraduate years studying with jazz wizard Dan Balmer at Lewis & Clark College. Part of the reason I write kids' music the way I do is because I'm tapping into whatever I was doing in my earlier life as a songwriter and performer for adults. I haven't really changed my melodic approach, just the lyrics.  One song on Monster Suit, "To The Zoo," is actually a re-working of one of my old band charts. All that I changed were the lyrics. Literally. Form, chords, melody, harmonies, all are exactly as they were done 10 years ago, just different words."  

An early childhood educator as well as a musician, Mo Phillips doesn't hesitate to credit his initial inspiration to the kids he's taught. He explains, "When I was teaching a class of three-year-olds in 2005, some of the curriculum ideas for what later became my "Rock 'N' Roll Kindy" program were born.  The kids had been doing a lot of role-play as musicians, so we made a project out of it.  They named their band Fire Guitars.  We wrote songs, recorded a CD, and put on a show for the parents.  By 2008 - after an expatriate experience soaking up the sounds of my wife's native Australia -- I was again teaching preschool in Portland. This was when I really began playing around with my own songs for kids.  One day, while sitting in the sandbox with some little friends, I wrote the song "Pizza In A Cup" after being offered the umpteenth cup of sand advertised as pizza.  All of a sudden these afternoon playground sessions started producing some serious songwriting opportunities. The influence of the kids and whatever games they were playing at the time had an undeniable effect on my lyrical content and song direction."

When not creating bands populated by young rockers in settings ranging from schools and libraries to community centers and children's museums, Mo performs - with insouciant wit and breezy style - interactive shows that respect the intelligence of young people.  As an artist affiliated with Young Audiences, Inc., he gives performances and residencies in schools throughout the greater Portland area.  Mo was recently selected to pilot a songwriting residency program for the Beaverton, Oregon school district.

Mo Phillips has released two previous kids'/family albums albums, Train Beard (2009), and Robot Rodeo (2010).  He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, Kate, and sons, Henry and Owen.

Monster Suit will be available online at,, and itunes.



The Worst Party Ever Thrown

The Princess and The Cowboy

Hot Lava


Big Red Truck

Rollerskate Banana Peels

All Okay

Bed Head

To The Zoo

Ducks Don't Get Wet

Suction Cup


Monster Suit




School of Rock - Portland

With more than a decade of successful experience teaching music, School of Rock is the national leader in music education for kids from age 7 to 18. Students learn from professional musicians in an interactive environment combining weekly private lessons and structured group rehearsals with the ultimate goal of performing live in front of real crowds.

School of Rock offers summer, winter and spring break rock music boot camps, designed for musicians of all skill levels who play guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals. Through workshops, clinics, and private instruction, our comprehensive camp experience is designed to hone music performance and ensemble skills in a creative and fun environment.