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Fun Fest

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Join Música Franklin for our 5th Annual Fun Fest, a FREE festival featuring musical performances, entertainment, and crafts for the whole family! Listen to world-class music, try your hand at an instrument in our “petting zoo”, make-and-take a craft project, play with giant bubbles, jump on our giant piano mat, shop local craft vendors, and grab a bite from the nearby food trucks. It’s all happening at the beautiful Unity Park in downtown Turners Falls. Please SHARE this event widely and be sure to check back frequently as we continue to add to our offerings.

Música Franklin offers free after-school music and social justice training for youth in Greenfield and Turners Falls. Through learning music, students gain skills that will help them succeed throughout their lives. Our mission is preparing students for a brighter future through music.

Fun Fest is funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies. Also made possible by the generous support of the following businesses and institutions: River Culture, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Community Foundation of Western Mass, Franklin First Credit Union, Greenfield Savings Bank, Clifford Oliver Photography, Art Space Greenfield, The Art Garden, Paul Redeker Rentals, and Franklin County Community Development Corporation. To become a sponsor or a vendor, please contact

We have an AMAZING lineup of performers for Fun Fest 2023! Read below for their bios.

Tentative schedule (subject to change)

12:30-1:00 Expandable Brass Band

1:00-1:40 Abena Koomson-Davis

1:40-2:00 Expandable Brass Band

2:00-2:45 Música Franklin students

2:45-3:15 Story Weaving with Djeli Forchion

3:00-5:30 Sir Mimealot

3:15-4:00 Isabella Mendes

4:00-4:30 Latin dance workshop with Elsa Borrero

4:30-5:20 Viva Quetzal

Performers Bios:

Loud, raucous, and full of fun, the Expandable Brass Band is dedicated to spreading joyful music to the people of Western Massachusetts and beyond. Inspired by the international street band movement, we want to spread that joy of playing in the street both for the fun of it and in support of others working on important social issues, especially in our community. We are most excited about playing in streets, in parks, parades, on the sidewalk, and anywhere the audience is close and at our level. If we march, they can join us; if they march, we can join them! We strive to be up, moving, and interactive. We are completely self-organized, without a leadership hierarchy. Most of all, we are expandable, welcoming all and becoming what our members want us to be.

3-time TONY award winner Abena Koomson-Davis is a performer, educator and wordsmith. Abena originated the role of Fela’s mother in the Off-Broadway musical FELA! and reprised her role in the Broadway production. She has performed with Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon, Angelique Kidjo and many others. For over 15 years, Abena has been the lead vocalist of the funk rock band Van Davis. She is the musical director for the Resistance Revival Chorus. She will precede her Fun Fest performance with a public song circle, details TBA.

Música Franklin’s student ensemble has performed widely in the region, including at local Farmers Markets, Yankee Candle, Just Roots Harvest festival, GCC’s Martin Luther King Day celebration, and many other special events, as well as at our monthly community concerts. The Fun Fest ensemble combines students from our two program sites in Greenfield and Turners Falls. Some have been playing for over five years, and others just a month or two.

Djeli Forchion is a story weaver who helps transform overwhelm to overjoy. Ki uses oral and written traditions, including poetry, to create an atmosphere of curiosity and dialogue, even around difficult topics. Ki helps others breathe life into their own stories as part of a healing process by speaking from the heart. Djeli is a thought leader, life coach, public speaker, lifelong storyteller, and former Cirque du Soleil acrobat who has traveled the world collecting stories. Ki is a story weaver who helps transform overwhelm to overjoy.

Chris Yerlig, aka ‘Sir Mimealot,’ began his mime career on the streets of Europe. In the US, where he is now based, he has performed mime at festivals, schools, libraries, and corporate events, and with Circus America at the Olympic Games in Athens, GA. He has performed in 20 countries around the world. Of note are performances at the Huis Ten Bosch Theme Park in Japan, and at the Kimtom International Clown Festival of Shanghai, China. For over 25 years he has volunteered with such non-profits as Project Troubador, Magicians Without Borders, and Clowns Without Borders to spread laughter in schools, hospitals, and orphanages in many countries…most recently Haïti, India, Bangladesh and Brazil.

Isabella Mendes is a singer, songwriter, pianist, composer, and educator whose work is rooted in Brazilian jazz and bossa nova. Born in São Paulo, Brazil where she began her training as a classical pianist at age six, Mendes also composed her own music and participated in various competitions, concerts and master classes until the age of fifteen when she moved to the United States and began jazz and vocal studies while attending the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT. She continues to write and compose music and has developed her own unique sound informed by not only her classical training but also her jazz, bossa nova, Brazilian, and pop influences. Her personal and professional goals include collaborating and connecting with a diverse group of performers and musicians, advocating for women in the arts, and bringing people together through their mutual love of creating and sharing music.

Elsa Borrero has been an artist and teacher for over 30 years. Her art has been exhibited both in her native Colombia and in the US. She has also been involved in numerous artistic productions and collaboration projects since 1988 in both countries. Elsa is a Spanish language and culture teacher in the New England area and collaborator of the Vermont Jazz Center since 1998.

The high-energy Afro-Andean world beat group Viva Quetzal presents an eclectic mixture of traditional, folk and pop themes from South America, performed on a dazzling array of ancient and modern instruments. Viva Quetzal is a Massachusetts-based group featuring members originating in Chile, Panama, Venezuela and the U.S. Their music peppers its Andean roots with elements of rock, jazz and world beat. These musicians create beautiful, high-spirited music that appeals to audiences of all ages. “…A sampling of all the diverse musical traditions that exist in the Americas and beyond… melodious rhythms with an exuberant, non-stop level of energy… Viva Quetzal’s brand of music is more than eclectic or rhythmic, it’s spiritual, it’s all cultures existing as one. That’s universal music!” (Cashbox magazine, NYC). Viva Quetzal currently features seven members: Joe Belmont on guitar, Roberto Clavijo on pan pipes, charango, congas and vocals, Abe (Osacar) Sanchez on piano and vocals, Jon Weeks on flutes, saxes and percussion, Rudi Weeks on upright and electric bass, Eliezer Martinez on drums, and Nelson (Pipo) Milano on congas.


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