Music and Boink entertain at Farmington Halloween show
Alison Cromie connects to youngsters by pairing music with laughter.
The singer and songwriter is not afraid to delve into dark places. She does not refrain from writing songs with lyrics about questionable manners.
Last year she wrote her first children's song, "Don't Put Your Fingers in Your Nose."
This tune was a big hit with her own children who gave her rave reviews as a captive audience.
"I played it for them in the car and they went wild and if they could have rolled in their seats, they would have," Cromie said, laughing.
Cromie played the song back to her boys at least 10 times. She was so happy to see how they were delighted and laughing out loud uncontrollably.
"It is all about making my kids laugh," she added. "I am the kind of person who sings going up the stairs and I sing while I am brushing my teeth and I got that from my Mom."
Professionally, Cromie, 35, helps run a web agency in Burnsville, but singing is her passion. She lives in Castle Rock with her husband, John, and two young sons, Magnus, 6, and 4-year-old Corvus.
Last spring she began singing acoustic music for fun at Bluenose Coffee shop in Farmington. Then she decided to explore writing and singing children's music.
"I wanted to sing more nurturing, rhyming songs and I was reading a little and playing with interactive shakers," she said.
Music, puppet show
Bluenose coffee shop owner Sarah Missler introduced Cromie to Boink puppeteer Jeff Akin, who performs a regular YouTube show in his basement with his co-host Kaitlyn.
Back in college, Cromie studied musical theater and after college she performed in a capella music groups. At one time she was even served as director in a trio musical group.
"I performed at the Renaissance Music Festival for six seasons, and then I had kids and everything kind of stopped, and then two years ago I decided to pick up guitar because I had never really played but I kind of felt like I really needed to try," Cromie said.
Her family performs in a big bluegrass band so she embodies the music and performing genes.
"I thought I really want to be able to hold my own here," Cromie said who plays ukulele. In her act, she sings soothing, playful songs and wears childlike rainbow-striped tights.
In February 2016, Cromie wrote her first children's song when she took part in an online music writing event. People from all over the world get together and the goal is to write 14 songs in 28 days.
"That was a lot of fun and it helped me gain a lot of confidence because you post it all on a website and everyone is really nice," Cromie said. She gained honest feedback on her songs.
"It was really positive experience and it is not meant to be a critique of how you are as a songwriter, but it is more lifting people up as songwriters," she said.
"All my life I didn't think I could write songs so I was excited to do," Cromie said.
The Boink Puppet Show
Farmington resident Jeff Akin decided it was fun as a father to interact with his three children with puppets in the playroom. This was an engaging way to have fun and share it with family and friends via shared videos.
Akin is the master puppeteer who gives voice to furry monster Boink and he performs alongside his oldest child, Kaitlyn, who adds her personality. Akin decided it would be really fun to perform together via social media and broadcast episodes on YouTube.
"We were posting other puppet shows on Facebook for our families, and it was really cute to get to see the kids interacting with the puppets because they really come out of their shell," Akin said.
For a year now, the Boink Show with Kaitlyn has been entertaining family, neighbors and friends. The show shares a joke of the day and a word of the day.
"What I really enjoy about the puppet show is doing it with my kids in maybe a spirit of Mr. Rogers," Akin said.
They have loved sharing it with neighborhood kids and his children's school and classmates.
The Boink Show will soon film an upcoming show with Farmington Police Officer Steve Kuyper on Oct. 19, when they will discuss stranger danger. Past episodes have included guests like a local dentist. Akin would like to invite a local firefighter to be a guest on the YouTube show.
"We kind of aspire to have a Mr. Rogers theme with these because they are people in your neighborhood, and I would like it to be more educational," Akin said.
In the future, the Boink Show plans to tackle serious topics for children to think about like integrity, bullying and how to treat people, Akin said.
When asked what his aspirations are with the Boink Show, Akin said that is a good question. For now he loves performing alongside his daughter who is having fun.
"I think it is really fun and I like talking to Boink," said 10-year-old Kaitlyn Akin.
Children's musician Cromie is having a blast performing for youngsters and seeing all enjoy her songs and music she wrote.
"I have always wanted to do more of this with music throughout my life, but I also really enjoy my career right now," Cromie said. "I have a deep interest in having a band with all CEOs that is professional. I am not looking to promote it so much and become famous in the next couple of years."
If you go:
Who: Children and parents are invited to free Halloween-themed music and puppet show.
What: The "Harry Monster and the Charmed Ukulele" show will feature children's musician and songwriter Alison Cromie and "Boink" The Puppet alongside Kaitlyn. Adults and children are welcome to wear Halloween costumes.
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29
Where: Bluenose Coffee, 20700 Chippendale Ave. N., Farmington.
Connect: Alison Cromie's children's music can be heard at www.alisoncreomie.com.
The Boink Show is a puppet show with Kaitlyn and Avery Akin and their father Jeff Akin. The show features a word of the day, kids' jokes, special guests and silly faces.
Learn about Boink at iamboink.com.