Swingset Mamas
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Swingset Mamas

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Detroit, Michigan, United States
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"Campers learn summer safety from Swingset Mamas"

Summer is here and if you are a child excited to go to the beach or jump in the pool, the very last thing you want to hear from an adult is that you need to put on sunscreen and that you should definitely not be running by the side of the pool. - Unless that adult happens to be singing and playing a guitar.

On Monday afternoon, 145 kids from three of Stamford's camps gathered in Westover's Barbieri auditorium to hear the Swingset Mamas sing those two messages. And they didn't groan —they clapped and danced.
The duo, Stamfordite Lizzie Swan and Texas resident Marlowe Bechmann of the Swingset Mamas band performed "The Sunscreen Dance," which was chosen this year as the official song of the Environmental Protection Agency's Sunwise program, and a song they wrote on Sunday, "Water Safety Rules," as well a gentle reggae song about eating healthy foods, a rap about buckling up in the car, a country song about thunder and another song, accompanied by American Sign Language, about not judging others.

The Swingset Mamas were the guests of honor at the camps' sun and water safety program, sponsored by Stamford Hospital's Bennett Cancer Center, The American Cancer Society, The American Red Cross, and the City of Stamford as part of the Mayor's Cancer Awareness Campaign. Also on hand was Fry the egg, the mascot for the Mayor's Cancer Awareness Campaign, whose motto is "apply, don't fry," as well as Johnnie Lee, MD, head of the city's department of health and human services, and officials from the Red Cross and Stamford Hospital.

"Stamford's a great place to be in the summer, isn't it? " asked Bridget Fox, of Mayor Dannel Malloy's office.

Lee offered up some sun safety advice to the youngsters, telling them to play in the shade, wear hats and sunglasses and always wear sunscreen with an SPF higher than 15.

"The sun is at its strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.," said Lee. "If your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is at its very brightest and it can burn you."

Patricia Burke, executive director of the local American Red Cross, gave the children a series of mostly-rhyming tips on water safety: look before you leap [the water might be shallower than you think]; think before you sink [if you start to struggle in the water, calm down and float instead of panicking]; reach and throw don't go [don't try to save a drowning person by yourself, throw anything that will float to them instead.]

Despite all the good advice, the Swingset Mamas were the show-stealers Monday.

Olivia Begg, 6, Precious Thomas, 5 and Laura Wigus, 6, stood, arms flung around each other's shoulders, swaying to the music together.

Later, they said they'd enjoyed the show.

"We got to stand up and we got to sing along," said Precious.

The fact that kids like Olivia, Precious and Laura were up on their feet, dancing and singing along, means they retained the information in the songs, said Swan.

"We really believe in teaching life lessons through music," she said.



Verse 1

Playing outside is so much fun,

Skipping in the sand out in the sun.

But don't forget to protect your skin,

The part of the body that we're living in, so...

Grab a bottle from the top of the shelf.

I'll show you a way to protect yourself —

From New Jersey to Hawaii to the South of France,

Everyone's doin' the sunscreen dance.


Sunscreen lotion, get the notion.

Sunscreen lotion, it's a magic potion.

Sunscreen lotion, feel the motion.

Sunscreen lotion, causin' a commotion.

Re-apply after you swim in the ocean —

We're doin' the Sunscreen dance.

OK, everybody; grab your sunscreen; here we go....

Rub it on your arms and rub it on your shoulders.

Rub it on your cheeks, your ears and your nose.

Don't forget your lips, your tummy and your hips.

Glide your fingers from your legs to your toes.

We're almost done, now, that's a fact,

So grab a partner and rub it on your back — Yeaaah.

Verse 2

The sun shines strongest from 10 to 4.

Put on a hat and shades as you head out the door.

And don't forget that even on cloudy days,

You're still exposed to ultraviolet rays.


Sunscreen lotion, get the notion.

Sunscreen lotion, it's a magic potion.

Sunscreen lotion, feel the motion.

Sunscreen lotion, causin' a commotion.

Re-apply after you swim in the ocean.

We're doin' the Sunscreen dance.

We're doin' the Sunscreen dance.

Rub it in, save your skin.

Rub it in, save your skin. Repeat and fade

— The Swingset Mamas

- 6/07 - Stamford Times

"Metro Kids - "Perfect for Parents too""

Swingset Mamas creates music for little kids that sets Mom’s feet dancing. This duo of moms delivers, whether rocking to “The Littlest One” or giving good advice in “Sunscreen Dance.” Dance Around the House and Swingset Mamas are perfect CD gifts for new parents.

........The Swingset Mamas create a mix of rock and musical styles that may keep Mom and Dad sane in those early months. These two know their subject, approaching motherhood with fun and grace. Find them at www.swingsetmamas.com

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the Peabody-award-winning Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.
- MetroKids by Kathy O'Connell (host of the Peabody-award-winning Kids Corner on WXPN 88.5 FM)

"Mama's make beautiful music together"

Friends give birth to CD for Children

Saturday, September 8, 2001

By Asante Green - Staff Writer

STAMFORD - Uninspired by the children's music produced today, Marlowe Bechmann and Elizabeth Peress decided to make their own. After giving birth to their first children, the mothers decided to create a feel-good sound, not just for the kids, but for the entire family. The women played songs from their CD, "Swigset Mama's" for residents at the Tandet Center for Continuining Care yesterday.
"My goal is to get familiesto listen to music. We figured, if you're going to have a children's song running through your head all day, you might as well like it," said Peress, 35, a Stamford resident, an mother of Noah, 2.
Peress, a guitarist in the rock 'n' roll
band Swivel Chair, met Bechmann while on vacation in the Hamptons when both were single. Peress also provides weekly music for the residents of the nursing home.
"We would stay up all night partying and playing music," said Bechmann, 34, a classical pianist who now lives in Texas.
"After we got married and had our first child, we decided to start up a group," said Bechmann, whose daughter Lila, was born two years ago.
With songs such as "Hello Little Lila," and "Little Boy," it's clear the women's children are an inspiration. Both women, expecting to have their second children in December, have distilled the day-to-day joys of parenthood and childhood into 10 songs.
"We will take a little break after our children are born, write a few songs, then go on a spring tour," Peress said. "We have created music that reallycomes from our hearts."
A combination of guitar, keyboard and a Congodrum played by the Swingset Mama's, was enough to send Kathy Costanzo swaying. Costanzo a resident who has heard many of the songs before, mouthed the words.
"I love this music. I bought a CD for my grandnieces," Costanzo said. "It just creates a good vibe for us residents."
Jim Swan, Elizabeth's husband, said he knew the women were destined to form a group.
"When they both got pregnant at the same time, I knew it would be a good thing," Jim Swan said.
"They have a great sound, and I think a lot of families raising small children will enjoy it." - Stamford Advocate

"The Swingset Mama’s Team Up With FEAT"

SOUTHLAKE April 29, 2006 Town Square Gazebo at 5:00 p.m. - -
Southlake Carroll Mom Musician, Marlowe Bechmann, and New York based Lizzie Swan, celebrate the family experience through original songs that span the realms of blues, calypso, reggae, folk, zydeco and more. The Swingset Mama’s have two CD’s currently available and a video based on their songs in production. People all over the world are grooving to the music of the Mama’s and you will too!! Don’t miss this opportunity to share music with your family that both kids and adults are sure to enjoy!
When Marlowe’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with autism, she realized that music was a powerful therapeutic learning tool, and helped make routines and transitions easier for all families. In addition to writing songs for the Swingset Mamas, Marlowe was the catalyst for bringing “National Inclusion Week” to her daughter’s school (Durham Elementary) and helps run an after-school social program fostering interaction between typical and special needs kids using music and sign language as a primary medium.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and The Swingset Mamas will be donating a portion of proceeds from their CD and T-shirt sales to FEAT – North Texas. FEAT will have a booth at Art-in-the-Square for the entire weekend, to increase Autism Awareness by distributing literature and being available for members of the community to talk to.
About FEAT-NT: It is a non-profit organization with a membership of approximately 2,500 people in North Texas and is run entirely by volunteers. Their mission is to provide education, advocacy and support for individuals with Autism and their families, and to professionals who work with individuals who have Autism.
Autism statisitics are truly staggering. One in every 166 children born in the U.S. has autism, compared with one in every 10,000 just ten years ago. Autism is now more common than Down Syndrome, Mental Retardation, and Cystic Fibrosis combined. It strikes boys more often than girls and is neurobiological disorder that severely impairs communication, social skills, behaviors and learning. With intense intervention, Autism is treatable.

For more information on FEAT visit www.featnt.org
Or call (817) 919-2228

For more information on The Swingset Mamas, visit www.swingsetmamas.com
Contact: Marlowe Bechmann at (817) 416-0286, or (817) 301-2686.
- FEAT – North Texas

"Helping autistic daughter is music to her ears"

SOUTHLAKE -- Before Lila Bechmann was a year old -- not long after she began speaking -- she changed.

She stopped talking. She rarely looked at her mother's and father's faces. She seemed to pull into herself.

"Even before she was diagnosed, I knew something was wrong," said her mother, Marlowe Bechmann.

She combed the Internet, looking for what the symptoms might mean. And she suspected what the doctor diagnosed when Lila was 15 months old: autism, a neurological disorder that impairs communication and social interaction.

Marlowe Bechmann resisted the urge to say, "Why me?" And today -- although her 7-year-old with the huge brown eyes and long eyelashes will not say "Happy Mother's Day!" in the conventional way -- Bechmann is grateful for the love she is certain her daughter returns.

She knows that Lila -- a kindergartner who has no notion of how to mask anger or joy -- will fling her arms around her mother's neck and give her a smooch on the cheek. She will do that more than once.

Bechmann, half of the musical duo Swingset Mamas, uses her music and American Sign Language to break through what sometimes appears to be her daughter's inattention.

"I have an analogy of a Tiffany vase that breaks," she said. "But you make a beautiful mosaic of the vase, even though it takes a while to come to that point.

"For Lila, words are hard to process. But with things like music and hand motions, we get there," she said.

Bechmann, a classically trained pianist and guitarist who formerly worked in fashion sales and promotion, said her musical partner, Lizzie Swan, has helped her over many hurdles. Bechmann and Swan, a creative arts therapist, became friends many years ago at a campfire singalong at a beach in Montauk, N.Y.

In 1999, when both women became mothers, they collaborated on songs to soothe their newborns, making long-distance calls to confer.

There was the bluesy When Daddy Comes Home, the calypso tune Colors of the Rainbow. and the harmonica-edged My Thumb. And then there was one to which any parent can relate: Time to Clean Up. The women recorded two compact discs, Music for the Whole Family and Dance Around the House.

Today, each woman has two children, and they meet occasionally to rehearse and record. They also sometimes travel together to present concerts for special-needs and typical children. Their song topics range from bathing puppies to rubbing on sunscreen.

Marlowe Bechmann's husband, Chuck Bechmann, said his wife's melodies about mothering amaze him.

"I knew she was classically trained, but I'd lived with her a lot of years and didn't know that was all inside," he said. "It took the circumstances to bring it out."

He said Lila "approximates words" and most people do not understand her.

"But over seven years, we know a lot of what she tries to say -- things like when she wants water, popcorn, a bath," he said. "Sometimes it's frustrating for her, but with sign language, she gets the point across. She does everything she can to relate to the world. She is very loving, and when we understand her, she's so happy.

"Those little victories are a different sort of euphoria than typical families would have."

One of the chief joys is when Marlowe Bechmann rounds up her little girls and takes them to the music room. Delia, 4, pounds on a miniature drum set or piano, her mother strums a guitar or plays piano or tambourine, and Lila bounces on a trampoline or plays harmonica or cowbells. Lila does not sing the melodies, but she occasionally chimes in with sounds.

"Music has helped me through so many stages -- even before Lila was diagnosed, when I was six weeks pregnant with Delia," Marlowe Bechmann said. "Had I known about the diagnosis, I might never had the courage to get pregnant again. But it's been so wonderful to have a typical child and one with special needs."

Delia sometimes coaches Lila on pronunciations, and "Delia is proud of her sister," Chuck Bechmann said.

At the school Lila attends -- Durham Elementary in Southlake -- Marlowe Bechmann coordinates Dragon Pals, an after-school interaction program for typical and special-needs children. It fosters communication through sign language and singalongs.

Melissa Brinker, a school counselor who helps Bechmann, said the program is very popular.

"Marlowe is very loving and motherly to all of the children, looking out for their interests as well as those of her own children," she said.

Bechmann's musical partner, Lizzie Swan, said that her friend is one of the most positive people she knows and that Lila is just as smiley and happy and positive.

"It was like watching the loss of a child, to see Lila going from totally typical to slowly reverting, but Marlowe was able to channel her sadness into music and use it as a therapeutic tool for herself," Swan said. "I've always been in awe of how she was able to tackle that, and then use the power of music in reaching children whether they are autistic or not.

"Not all autistic children have the speech delays that Lila does," she said. "Some can mimic anything you say. But for Lila, when you sing 'Twinkle, twinkle, little . . .' and she is able to fill in 'star,' it's a huge boost to her self-esteem."

Before the diagnosis, Lila's mother wrote a song for her called Oh My Child. And although Lila's circumstances changed, the emotion behind the song has not, Marlowe Bechmann said. She sings the chorus:

Oh my child, everybody is different

In the way they see their reality

But I will always love you

Whoever you want to be.


Terry Lee Goodrich, (817) 685-3812 tgoodrich@star-telegram.com - TERRY LEE GOODRICH - Star Telegram

"Swingset Mamas New York City Debut at CBGB Gallery"

NEW YORK, Feb 26, 2006 - - They came with their sippy cups and plastic sunglasses, their diaper bags and wipes. With their parents in tow, they swarmed the dark, rough edges of CB’s Gallery, maneuvering past the bar and craning their little necks to get a better view of the stage deep in the back where the Swingset Mamas were making their New York debut.

It was not the typical setting for a kiddie concert. The only sunlight in the long, narrow bar poked through a lone window facing onto Manhattan’s Bowery neighborhood, the world’s most notorious skid row and home to the Gallery’s sister bar next-door, CBGBs, billed as the original New York City hardcore and punk rock club. Completely un-kid-proofed with nary a booster seat in sight, it was clear the bar had never hosted an audience like this before.

But in the way back, things were happy and light-hearted. The Swingset Mamas like to sing about everyday things, like getting dressed, sunny days, bugs, eating vegetables, and daddy coming home from work. By touching on the familiar, their songs become more than sing-able, danceable, fun-loving tunes; for toddlers learning to navigate the world, they’re as comfortable and satisfying as big bowls of half-melted ice cream.

Marlowe Bechmann (Marshmallow) and Lizzie Swan (Lizard) -- draw upon their own mommy experiences (they each have two kids) for their material. With Marlowe in Texas and Lizzie in Connecticut, they display the ultimate in can-do mom power in their collaboration, sharing snippets of the songs they both write via phone and meeting only occasionally to rehearse and record.

The latest result of their efforts is Dance Around the House, a delightful collection of songs the whole family can relate to and enjoy. The Mamas aim to sing songs that appeal as much to parents as kids, a goal they have achieved in “Dance,” as well as their earlier CD, Swingset Mamas. And they proved it in person last month by putting a fresh young spin on the music scene at CB’s Gallery.
- 2/06 Chris Costanzo

"New York Times"

No one could accuse this pop duo of having a confusing name. They are what they call themselves — mothers catering to the youngest music fans — and they explore day-to-day life in their tunes, like “Buckle Up,” which may be the first hip-hop number about seat belts. At noon, Joe’s Pub, at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, (212) 967-7555 (tickets), (212) 539-8778 (table reservations), joespub.com; $12; $12 minimum at tables. - New York Times by LAUREL GRAEBER 10/19/07

"NickJr.com "Swing, Dance and Sing" Review"

“Preschoolers will have so much fun singing and dancing to these songs, they won't even realize how much they're learning! Besides the eclectic mix of musical genres they'll be introduced to--calypso, blues, hip-hop and zydeco--they'll get quite an education in the things that are important in their daily lives”. - NickJr.com


Swing, Dance and Sing- DVD
Music for the Whole Family - LP
Dance Around the House - LP



The Swingset Mamas take the rhythms of everyday life and playfully weave them into song for kids and parents of ALL ages to enjoy! People all over the world are grooving to the music of the Swingset Mamas - and you will too!

Whether making sun safety fun with the "Sunscreen Dance", eating healthy with the reggae-inspired "Colors of the Rainbow", or fastening your seatbelt to a hip-hop beat with “Buckle Up” (now played on SIRIUS Satellite Radio); the music of the Swingset Mamas appeals to kids and parents of all ages. 2008 AWARDS include: Parents Choice, NAPPA , iParenting Media & Dove Foundation.