“Tuba Dan” of West Philadelphia Orchestra playing the accordion for West Philly Music Playgroup at Clark Park. (Photo by Anna Selfridge)
About 30 tots and their caregivers, members of the West Philly Music Playgroup, are desperately seeking indoor space for meet-ups and activities during winter. The group, which started in the spring of 2013, has been steadily adding new members who enjoyed playing together and socializing outdoors during the warmer months. Since last spring the group has been meeting at Clark Park (at the stone courtyard at the corner of 45th and Chester) for some outdoor play, music, and fun. But with winter coming on (and the threat of more polar vortices), indoor space is needed that would accommodate the group’s growing numbers.
The group organizers say that they have looked into some available indoor spaces around the neighborhood, but they all charge over a hundred dollars a month.
“The play group has always been free and that makes it more readily available for people of all incomes and backgrounds to join in on the fun,” writes the group founder Alexandra E. Gunnison. “We would really just need the space from December to March, give or take some time depending on the weather.”
The group is not very formal and organizes mostly through social media. “I’ll post a reminder in different Facebook groups (West Philly Playgroup or the group I started, West Philly Nannies) that play group will be happening on Tuesday morning and sometimes we have parents or nannies with their children join in from the park or the street,” writes Alexandra. The kids and caregivers meet up around 10 a.m., have a bit of free play and talk time and then gather together for songs like Ring Around the Rosie, the alphabet, or the Wheels on the Bus.
The group also had a few “special events”, like a Halloween themed music playgroup at the Woodlands Cemetery with apple cider and muffins and birthday celebrations with goody bag hand-outs.
And check out the impressive list of musicians who have already performed for the group’s tiny members (Alexandra says she’s friends with them):
“Tuba” Dan Nosheny of West Philadelphia Orchestra, Neon and Shy, Polkadelphia and Red Hot Ramblers. Sarah Larsen of Lady Bird and Frankie Velardo of The Downtown Shimmy and Aardvark Felon performed for the group as well.
If you would like to help out or for more information please contact Alexandra by calling 240-460-8572 or emailing: aegunnison[at]gmail.com