The Chickadees are a female music trio that record and perform fun and educational children’s songs. Banded together at “the gathering place by the waters,” Mary Karlzen, Anjl Rodee and Carmen Nickerson have been collaborating for some time on “grown-up” music projects, in Milwaukee, when they were inspired to apply their talents in the world of children’s music.
Karlzen, a successful singer-songwriter in the Americana genre, has released cd’s on the Atlantic, Dualtone and Y&T Music labels. She has toured extensively but decided to slow down with the arrival of her first child. Now the mother of two, Karlzen believes, “having kids changed my perspective on everything, including music”.
While her daughters attended the nature-based Schlitz Audubon preschool north of Milwaukee, Karlzen would at times help out in the classroom. “This preschool is set in a vast nature center whose curriculum inspires and nurtures a love of nature and has fun doing it! So writing songs about these school experiences just came naturally.”
Karlzens’ children’s songs combine these themes in an educational way with participation and movement. Songs like ‘Five Shiny Red Apples’ link audience participation with the concept of counting backwards. In “Acorn, Acorn,” a fun story of squirrels and acorns is related while teaching that acorns are seeds from oak trees.
Patti Baillie, the director of the Audubon preschool was an early supporter and fan; “the Chickadees’ songs are really terrific and the kids just can’t get enough”.
When Karlzen decided to take the songs a step further, she enrolled the talents of her friends, Anjl Rodee and Carmen Nickerson.
Anjl Rodee is a multi-instrumentalist/vocalist who has been a fixture on the Milwaukee music scene for over 10 years. She has performed across the country from Minneapolis and Chicago to Austin, on national television and radio.
Carmen Nickerson is a professional vocalist and has traveled the world. In LA, Carmen recorded sessions for Hollywood Records and has performed on various soundtracks. www.carmennickerson.com
Nickerson was a little hesitant at first to jump into children’s music. “Our first show was so much fun! Sometimes it’s difficult to win over adult audiences, but the kids were so into it, bouncing around, having fun. It makes it fun for me too!” Nickerson adds. Rodee jumped right into the role. “Its great to just get up there and be silly! How often do you get to do that?”
The Chickadees have just released their first cd, “Songs from the Great Outdoors”, available at their website www.thechickadees.net. They will be working on a video this spring and look forward to upcoming shows in the Milwaukee area