Who is Miss Merry and Monkey Monkey Music?
Across the country, from New York to Los Angeles, and as far away as Alaska and American Samoa, families are watching Monkey Monkey Music videos on their local public television stations and asking, “Who’s that girl?”
She’s Meredith LeVande, the creator of Monkey Monkey Music, and her videos are broadcast multiple times each day, framing such iconic shows as Sesame Street and Curious George, on more than 100 public television stations in 80-plus markets.
In 2011, KCET in Los Angeles became the first public television station to begin airing Meredith’s videos. New Jersey-based NJTV, owned and operated by WNET, the nation’s largest PBS station, chose Monkey Monkey Monkey Music videos to launch its kids’ programming. Station after station followed suit, with programmers responding to the energy created by the special emotional connection that Meredith shares with her audience. Monkey Monkey Music videos were also featured on Kids Thirteen!, Channel 13’s 24-hour channel devoted exclusively to children’s programming.
Meredith LeVande “definitely has a huge future for herself as a children’s entertainer, whether in public or commercial television,” enthused Robert McDonnell, director of education and production services for KCET. “We are so pleased to be able to be one of the first to be airing her music videos. Within a couple of years, she’s going to have the following and popularity that the really big children’s entertainers have.”
Bob Petts, program development manager for the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), which distributes Monkey Monkey Music videos to public television stations, was struck by the singularity of Meredith’s work. “We get others along these lines and turn many of them down for whatever reason. They didn’t do it for us. This one did,” Petts declared. The videos even struck a chord with international broadcasters as the American Forces Network (AFN), which is our nation’s military network, began airing Monkey Monkey Music in over 175 countries on its family channel. According to AFN’s Broadcast Center: “We are so delighted to have Meredith’s Monkey Monkey Music videos to enhance the appeal, energy and substance of our preschool children’s block on AFN Family. There’s no doubt that children growing up on U.S. military bases worldwide are enjoying while they learn and Meredith’s magic is a key element is helping them grow and develop.”
In 2012, Hawaiian Airlines also proudly featured Monkey Monkey Music in its in-flight programming.
Monkey Monkey Music began in 2001, when educator/songwriter Meredith LeVande, acting on the way that music engaged the “whole child,” began writing and performing songs that supported children’s natural curiosity and desire to learn. Through the years, birthday parties, more than 600 in all, have provided a laboratory for Meredith to hone the art and craft of capturing the attention and the hearts of children. Monkey Monkey Music has also performed at such NYC-area and nationwide venues as the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, the ESPN annual summer outing, Tribeca Film Festival, Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink in Central Park, Pottery Barn Kids, Babies“R”Us, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Tarrytown Third Friday and The Grove Los Angeles, as well as for famous celebrities and innovative parent groups like Big City Moms. Crowned one of New York’s “Best Affordable Children’s Performers” by Time Out New York Kids, Monkey Monkey Music has been featured in Parenting magazine, The New York Times, NY1, New York Magazine, The Star-Ledger, One-on-One with Steve Adubato, and broadcast on Comcast’s Kidz Bop Preschool On Demand channel, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Pandora Internet Radio, Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Music Choice, and numerous other children’s music radio programs throughout the U.S.
The first Monkey Monkey Music album, 2004’s Monkey Monkey Music with Meredith LeVande, became an instant hit with families nationwide, earning a reputation as a classic children’s recording. What Are the Odds?, released in 2010, gained praise as “brainy and brilliant” and “pure preschool gold.” During the period between these two releases, Meredith LeVande decided to produce a music video that would capture the fun and interaction of her live Monkey Monkey Music performances. Parents and educators soon began calling Meredith to tell her that their children could not stop watching! More videos followed, culminating in the release of a compilation DVD, Monkey Monkey Music: The Videos with Meredith LeVande, which received a NAPPA Honors Award and was endorsed by KIDS FIRST!: Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. Her most recent releases, Let’s All Make a Circle and Macaroni, continue to delight children and parents alike.
The rest, as they say, is history. So now that you know the answer to the question “Who’s that girl?” tell someone else. They all want to know!