WHEATON – Children’s songs are often ingrained in the minds of those who grew up listening to them or, for parents, because of hours of repetition.
One Wheaton family is hoping their CD of kids tunes will contain some new standards.
Cathy and Scott Liebenow and their three children, McKenna, 14, Mark, 11, and Mia, 8, make up the band The Daydream and are in the process of releasing their first self-titled album, which includes 14 songs written and performed by the family.
As an elementary music teacher in Community Unit School District 200, Cathy said music has always been important to her and her husband. They met in college while studying music education and composition, respectively.
Both said they try to instill that appreciation in their children, who each started playing the piano at age 3.
“I think the impact that music has on kids is huge,” Scott said. “I love the fact that my son will come home and play the piano for an hour and a half instead of playing on the Wii. We want to do anything to generate that kind of excitement for music in other people.”
The inspiration for the album came from Cathy, who said she often listens to children’s music for her classes. The family was on vacation a year ago and was playing a few CDs she found when they decided they could do better.
“The quality of some of the CDs I was listening to wasn’t very good,” she said. “So many CDs for preschoolers are like that. So I said ‘We should just do our own.’”
Both Cathy and Scott had written music for children’s book publishers before. They crafted the songs during the next couple weeks before they went to bed each night. Scott, a grocery store manager by day, as well as a drummer, played percussion and Cathy played piano. After recruiting local musician friends to join, the two needed additional vocalists: their children.
All three could sing and play instruments – McKenna on drums and electric guitar for Mark, with Mia volunteering to play bass.
“We realized we formed a band right there,” Scott said.
McKenna said that the experience in the recording studio was a good one.
“We all work pretty well together,” she said. “I thought it was a lot of fun and it’s a great experience that a lot of people don’t get to have, especially at my age and my siblings’ age.”
Scott said the family spent about $8,000 to produce the CD, which is getting mastered. The album will be released by Big Round Records as soon as this spring, he said.
He isn’t sure where the album will take them, but said he has enjoyed sharing the ride with his family. Aside from being joined in the studio by his wife and kids, Scott said, a moment that stuck with him was a concert they played in November.
“It’s been so cool. We didn’t know what to expect at first when we told the kids,” he said. “It was such a thrill for me as a dad, seeing my kids sitting there rocking with me.”
McKenna said she and her siblings were happy for their parents.
“We’re proud of them and all the work they put into it, making their dreams come true,” she said. “Sometimes people have dreams, but once they have their families, they don’t get to chase them. But they got to do it and got to make us a part of it.”
For more info on The Daydream, visit www.facebook.com/thedaydreammusic or www.soundcloud.com/nilepercussion. To pre-order the album, visit www.gofundme.com/thedaydream.
The band lineup
Cathy – Keyboard, singer, songwriter, mom
Scott – Percussion, singer, songwriter, dad
McKenna – Singer, percussion, keyboard, freshman at Wheaton North High School
Mark – Singer, electric guitar, keyboard, fifth grader at Lowell Elementary School
Mia – Singer, bass, keyboard, second grader at Lowell Elementary School