State Honors Band that Launched a Generation and their Teddy Bears June 18, 2015 Minneapolis, MN With songs like “Bear In The Air” it seems the Teddy Bear Band has tapped into something timeless. In recognition of their 30 year run they have received a Governor’s Proclamation naming June 28 as Teddy Bear Band Day in Minnesota. Another outcome of their 30 year career is the band’s early fans are now parents and bring their own young children to “TBB” shows.
Why has their popularity endured? Child development expert Dr. Marti Erickson, retired from the U of M and now host of Mom Enough®, a weekly parenting show with her daughter Erin, says, “They know what connects with young children because they understand child development. When you understand the interests and thinking of two- and three- and four year-olds, you can get them involved and keep them involved through age appropriate music and movement. And, as many studies have shown, active involvement in music stimulates children’s learning in many important ways.”
When the band started in 1985 all four guys were participating in Bloomington’s Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program. One of them, Ron Gustafson, was the Early Childhood Teacher for the others’ Daddy & Me class. According to Gustafson, “The idea was to take music from our circle time activities and put it on stage. Three of the Dads were musicians. I invited them to join me in a benefit performance and came up with the name Teddy Bear Band.”
Bass Player and professional musician Richard Erickson saw the potential for community performances. Gustafson and Erickson auditioned for the MELSA Library System and Teddy Bear Band was on its way. In 30 years the band has played over 8,000 shows and the pace is not slowing down. What worked well then works well now.
Dr. Erickson comments “From the perspective of Child Development, how young children function physically and mentally, there’s no difference between 1985 and 2015. What little kids find to be fun and satisfying has not changed much at all. Within every song the band features participation and movement activities that feel fun and natural to young kids . If you’ve seen one of their shows, the level of involvement they generate is remarkable.” Teddy Bear Band Day in Minnesota will be celebrated with a concert at Roseville’s Central Park on June 28 at 6:30 PM . Families and fans of all ages are invited to attend. The band encourages everyone to “BYOTB.” Bring your own teddy bear.