With ShirLaLa It's a Fine Line Between Rock Star and Music Educator

The Weekender brings you Bergen's best events

On her website, Shira Kline calls herself a music educator — that she is, but many kids and parents also think of her as a rock star.

Kline, better known to many as ShirLaLa, has traveled around the world, and this Sunday she will be appearing at in New Milford.

“Growing up, my family celebrated all the Jewish holidays with great food and great music,” Kline said. “We always had company over and I have wonderful memories of all of us singing together.”

It was while teaching young children music at the 92nd Street Y Nursery School in New York that Kline discovered reaching children through music and storytelling was something she not only had a knack for, but also a need to do. 

Since then, she’s been putting together a variety of inventive concerts for kids, including her latest project, EarthWorm Disco, a musical approach to environmental education.

“I feel grounded when working with children; they remind me of the most basic and fundamental forms of expression and communication,” Kline said. “And, they’re hilarious.”

While one of Kline’s primary goals is of course for children to learn and have fun, she is also motivated by a larger picture: creating experiences for families to share together.

“Nothing is better than watching parents watch their children have the time of their lives, and vice versa,” she said. “I love parents and children to experience the music and celebration together. I think sometimes parents are surprised at how much fun Jewish holidays can really be. It is a great joy for me to take everyone on a storytelling musical journey from the beginning of the concert to the end.” 

Sarah Sokolic, secretary at the Solomon Schechter Day School and sometimes-performance artist told Patch, “I know Shira professionally, and I also know her as a mom. She’s magical. She has a really unique gift with kids.”

In addition to working with Kline for Storahtelling, a fusion of storytelling, Torah, contemporary performance and traditional ritual theater, Sokolic brought Kline to the School for a Thanksgiving celebration in 2009. Given the success of that event and the fact that since then, Sokolic’s kids have been “rocking out” to Kline’s CDs, Sokolic knew she had to bring ShirLaLa back for the kids — and she was especially excited to do so for a Jewish-themed event.

“We'll re-tell the Hanukkah story with music and interactive play. We'll sing about Hanukkah foods, spin like dreidels, and best of all, each one of us will let our little light shine!” Kline said.

The concert begins Sunday at 10 a.m., and is followed by a Hanukkah-themed arts and crafts project as well as a “deep-fry extravaganza.”

Other events to check out this weekend include:

Where/When: Copper Tree Mall, 350 Ramapo Valley Rd., Oakland; Friday 9 a.m.

Why Go: Get gifts for your family and your pets at this gift shop, which benefits the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge

Cost: Free (just need spending money!)


Where/When: , 12 E. Glen Ave., Ridgewood; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m; Sunday, noon to 2 p.m.

Why Go: Enjoy the variety of art at this event, which benefits the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation

Cost: Free (just need spending money!)


Where/When: Wyckoff YMCA, 691 Wyckoff Ave., Wyckoff; Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m., Sunday at 1:00 and 5:30 p.m.

Why go: This classic musical is fun for the whole family.

Cost: $10-$25


Where/When: Garretson Forge and Farm, 4-02 River Rd., Fair Lawn; Saturday, 1 p.m.

Why Go: Experience a traditional Dutch Christmas at the oldest Dutch farm in Bergen County.

Cost: Free!

Where/When: , W. Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood; Saturday at noon

Why Go: Get into the holiday spirit with horse-drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate and ice sculptures.

Cost: Free!


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