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Smudge Fundaes bring their Bully Be Gone show to St. Catharines school

By Trish Audette, Standard Staff

Principal Mary McKee takes every opportunity to rid her north St. Catharines School of anything resembling bullying.
Students of St. James School know all the lexicon – bully, victim, bystander (those who watch or even encourage the bullying of others).
So when children’s entertainment duo Smudge Fundaes performed their Bully Be Gone! Show in the gymnasium Friday afternoon – for the second time since September – the students of St. James were game.
They clapped along to anti-bullying songs and took part in role-playing to learn about strategies for handling bullies – such as using a strong voice, standing tall and making eye contact. Not to mention telling an adult.
The show, put on by St. Catharines performers Suzanne Nicks and Sandie Thomson, came at the end of Bullying Awareness Week, a national campaign spearheaded by Alberta-based Bullying.org and the Family Channel.
Thomson and Nicks said they started performing Bully Be Gone this fall.
“This one took months to prepare because it took more research than any other show”, Nicks said.
There’s “such a need for this kind of program,” Thomson said.
In the past, an anti-bullying component was part of their safety show, but they found school teachers and principals on both sides of the border – they often perform in Michigan and New York states – wanted more on bullying.
“The onus, I think, is different here”, Thomson said. “We fond over in the states they talk more about race bullying than they do here”.
The Smudge Fundaes have tentative plans to perform a special evening show this winter for parents at St. James.
“It’s important for the message to go to the parents, as they say it starts at the top,” Thomson said.
McKee emphasized every day at St. James is bullying awareness day. However, as part of the official week, many of her students logged onto the Family Channel’s website (www.family.ca) to “Take the Pledge,” which includes such staements as “I think being mean stinks,” “I won’t watch someone get picked on” and “In my world there are no bullies allowed”.
-with files from The Canadian Press
- The Standard by Trish Audette


St Catharines Standard – Oct 23, 2007

Children’s entertainers The Smudge Fundaes launch new CD, with 15 songs to get kids up and moving – and learning

By Cheryl Clock, Standard staff

It was expensive. It took way more time. But in the end, it was loads more fun for the St. Catharines children’s entertainers, The Smudge Fundaes
The dynamic duo of Suzanne Nicks and Sandie Thomson already had 4 CDs under their collective belt.
They thought: why not try something new for their fifth? Something exciting.
So they did. Their fifth and just-released CD, A Trunk O’ Tunes, was recorded using musicians.
“It was a dream,” says Nicks.
Adds Thomson, “We wanted to do it for years.”
The pair launched their newest collection of 15 original songs at the Pen Centre Saturday. It’s still the same fun, upbeat and always educationally entertaining Smudge Fundaes.
There are songs that get kids up and moving. Songs like Moo Moo Juice that encourages kids to drink milk (but always in a fun way, of course). And songs like Colours of the World that gets kids thinking about how to get along on this planet.
In fact, it may only be a seasoned Fundae fan who notices any difference.
In the past, the pair used a device called a sequencer to create the music. (Imagine a cross between an electric keyboard and a computer).
This time, the musicians were real.
There were seven of them. All Canadian. And all St. Catharines natives.
Instruments from drums to fiddle, electric guitar to mandolin were used.
They gathered at the Burning Sound Studio in Niagara Falls, although not all at the same time, to lay down the tracks.
“It’s exciting,” says Nicks, who worked in Europe as a piano accompanist for a ballet company before forming The Smudge Fundaes.
It just gets past all the limitations of a sequencer.
If she hears a trumpet solo in her head, for example, it’s sometimes difficult to replicate it exactly on the computer. A musician is much more accommodating.
“The music is alive,” she says.
The Smudge Fundaes formed 12 years ago after Thomson, who’d already been performing for children when she lived in Thunder Bay, put an ad in the paper looking for other children’s entertainers to start a group. At the time, she was working as an operating room nurse at Greater Niagara General Hospital.
Their first concert was in a friend’s garage.
These days, they travel across the country and into the United States with their shows that suit preschoolers to about age 6.
They create the majority of their music, but use some traditional tunes as well.
They perform at festivals, sachools and libraries and offer a repertoire of assemblies on topics such as bullying., reading, the environment and health.
This year they also wrote and produced 10 episodes of their own show, The Classroom Crayons, which airs on Cogeco Cable.
It features Nicks as Ruby Red and Thomson as Sunny Yellow, two crayons who come to life in a classroom after all the children have left for the day.
There’s a letter and colour of the day. They talk, sing songs, and there’s always a message about important stuff like healthy eating and fitness.
Artwork from children across Niagara is featured on the walls. The entertainers are asking children across Niagara to send them more of their creations to be included in new episodes to be taped in January.
We’re always looking to stretch ourselves in new ways,” says Nicks.

- The St. Catharines Standard by Cheryl Clock


Club Richelieu was the site of a new fund-raiser aimed at fattening up the piggy bank of the Welland Winter Lights Committee.
Throughout the day, families turned out to hear The Smudge Fundaes, The Sounds of Santana and the music of Portrait. The event included horseshoes, darts, food, face-painting and an auction.
Committee chair Susan Noyes said money raised will go to purchase lights for Merritt Park and the trees near the Main Street Bridge. The funds will also be applied to the annual Winter Lights Contest, which Noyes said continues to grow in popularity.
“The committee believes in the spirit the lighting brings to the city,” she said. “We hope it catches on.”
Many auction items were donated to help bolster the group's budget.
“The support from the business community has been fantastic,” Noyes said in reference to the auction items. “We are really thankful for all their help”
“I'm optimistic,” Noyes said the long-range plan of the committee is to purchase lights for Chippewa Park to complement the city's New Year's Eve Party.
The committee is also looking for more group involvement when the residential Winter Lights contest gets under way.
“We are going to have to work within the budget that we have,” she said. “It will take some time but I think it's catching on” - The Tribune by Mark Tayti


June 6, 2007
The Smudge Fundaes

Westerner Park has had the privilege of having The Smudge Fundaes perform at the Westerner Days Fair for the last three years. We have been extremely pleased with Sandie and Suzanne’s professionalism, and extraordinary entertaining ability.

We utilize The Smudge Fundaes show on our popular outdoor children’s stage and it has proven to be very successful. Their performances are lively and entertaining. Large crowds are drawn to their shows and attract people of all ages.

Westerner Park would wholeheartedly recommend The Smudge Fundaes to anyone who values professional, top quality entertainment.


Regards,




Roxanne Warner
Marketing and Sponsorship Manager - Roxanne Warner


ON June 23, 2004 The Smudge Fundaes newest CD, Head To Toe, Safe To Go, released in November 2003 has been designated a 2004 Parents' Choice Approved winner! This makes 6 awards for the St. Catharines, Ontario based musical group that performs for children and families in Canada and the United States. Everyone at Festival and Events Ontario congratulates you! - Festivals and Events Ontario Member News


If you hear something about a spider and a shoe, some rice and mice, don’t be frightened.



It’s only Wanda and Wilma, two playful witches also known as Suzanne Nicks and Sandie Thomson members of the Canadian musical group called The Smudge Fundaes.

The women, both from St. Catharines, Ontario, first appear as two scoops of an ice cream sundae.

“During our 4th song Wanda and Wilma will appear,” said Thomson. “We stir up a brew, throw in some spiders and a shoe, some rice and some mice,, and when the brew is done, we squirt the kids with water. In one of their songs titled “Pasta Macaroni,” they cook up some fingers and toes.

“The kids dance and sing with us,” Thomson said. “There are some Halloween Rock and Roll songs, song echo songs, and guessing games.

The song titles include familiar music such as “Halloween Wheels On The Bus” and “Monster Mash” and original tunes such as “I Want My Mummy” and “Halloween Rock.” The performances are geared for children ages 3 – 10.

The Smudge Fundaes recently won a Parent’s Choice Award for it’s latest CD, “Two Scoops Of Fun.” This is the group’s third CD: a fourth is on it’s way.

Thomson first started a similar group years ago in Thunder Bay, Ontario. “The entertainment for children was very limited,” she said. At the time Thomson was taking vocal and piano lessons. Her teacher suggested that she perform for children. She formed a group called “Rainbow” and performed for eight years. My husband and I moved to St. Catharines and I started from scratch again,” Thomson said.

Saturday performances are at 11:am at GDL’s Grand Blanc McFarlen Branch, 1:00 p.m. at the Genesee Township Johnson Branch, 3:00 p.m. at the Goodrich Branch. October 18th show is at 11:00 am at the Swartz Creek Branch.

- The Flint Journal by Carol Azizian


TROY TIMES JUNE 2002
The summer festival season continues with the 19th annual Art on The Pointe, an art, cultural, culinary and gardening festival June 8-9th on the grounds of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores.

Thousands are expected to stroll the Ford House grounds enjoying entertainment from acts such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Michigan Opera Theatre, and children’s entertainers such as Marc Thomas, Max the Moose and Canada’s favourite children’s entertainers The Smudge Fundaes.

The event caters to all ages with a hands-on children’s festival where youngsters can make their own ceramic art, and a garden fest with expert tips and free seminars by the Herb Society and Wild Birds Unlimited.

Art on The Pointe “really provides a fun, wholesome atmosphere for families to go out and enjoy the arts and spend some time doing something they normally wouldn’t do together ,” Quinn said.
- Troy Times by k. Michelle Moran


THE LANTERN Livonia, Michigan Aug. 2002

Suzanne and Sandie ….The Smudge Fundaes-came all the way from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, to entertain the children, staff and parents at The Learning Tree. Their entertainment credentials are impressive. The Smudge Fundaes won the 2001 “Our Choice Award” for their children’s CD entitled “Sing For Your Supper.” The Our Choice Awards recognize the “best” in children’s books, audio, video and CD-Roms in Canada. The Smudge Fundaes also served as Grand Marshalls of the 2000 Disney New Year’s Eve Parade. They routinely perform throughout the U.S. and Canada. Their high energy show certainly had our children and teachers clapping, laughing, and dancing. If you wish to learn more about The Smudge Fundaes visit their web site at
www.smudgefundaes.com

- The Lantern, Livonia, MI


2010 Gouverneur and SLC Fair kicks Monday
By Dick Sterling

Officials with the Gouverneur and St Lawrence County Fair said that they've done everything they can to see that the 159th annual fair will be a success and put a smile on the faces of those who decide to attend. "We can control eveything except the weather", said Gouverneur Fair Board President Don Peck on Monday morning. "We're hoping that Mother Nature will smile on us this year". The fair promises to offer some great new attractions, as well as many of the favorites that area residents have looked forward to for generations.
This year's fair will begin on Monday August 2 and continue through Sunday, August 8. As in the past few years, there will be no admission charge to enter the grounds. A $3 parking fee will be requested.
As was the case last year, Coleman Brothers will provide the midway for the annual fair, in fact, the Connecticut company has agreed to keep coming to Gouverneur for the next two years.
"They did a great job last year, and we're confident that they'll be even better this year", said Mr. Peck. "Last year they brought us about 20 rides and several games this year they anticipate bringing two more rides. They offer a good mix of adult-type rides and kiddie rides, " said Mr Peck.
This year the St Lawrence County Fair has been chosen to display an agriculture awareness project. Agriculture recycling will be the theme with recycled ag plastics and newspapers the primary focus. A new building to house the demonstration has been purchased and presentations and information will be provided throughout the week.
In addition, a picnic table made entirely of a unique lumber derived from recycled agricultural plastics will be on display and will be raffled off during the fair. The table was constructed by the Gouverneur FFA class under the direction of agriculture instructor Joe Bullock.
This year's fair will open on Monday, August 2, but Coleman Brothers will not have all of their midway in place until Tuesday August 3, when rides are schedules to open at 4 p.m.. The rides will open at 1 p.m. the rest of the fair week.
Harness racing will be featured on just one day this year, Tuesday, beginning at noon.
Tuesday evening the annual talent show will be featured in front of the grandstand beginning at 7 p.m. Contestants will each be allowed a couple of free admission tickets. Others will be asked to pay $5 admission fee at the grandstand.
Wednesday will be Band Day, as several area high school bands and marching units show their talents beginning at 1:30 p.m. This year has been a very successful one for the Gouverneur Wildcat Marching Band. On Sunday they, once again, claimed top honors at the annual Edwards Festival Parade. During the afternoon the bands will compete for the Carlton Peck Awards, a long-standing St Lawrence County Fair tradition.
The annual Fireman's Parade will take place on Wednesday evening. Once again. the bands will be showing their stuff to what is expected to be a very large crowd. This year a new award "The people's choice" will be awarded to the winning band. Tickets to vote for your favorite high school band will be sold and the band with the most votes will be awarded a huge trophy to be displayed at their school. Mr. Peck will be busy selling tickets for the award.
Thursday the fair will present a children's show in the afternoon and again in the evening. The kids will certainly get a kick out of The Smudge Fundaes. The shows are aimed at those under the age of 12 and will be featured at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. There will be an admission charge for the show. Described as "captivating, sheer entertainment, the elite of children's performers and better than the Wiggles", Suzanne Nicks and Sandie Thomson make up the delicious duo, The Smudge Fundaes! Canadian musicians Suzanne and Sandie combine their talents, wit and 'kid-intuition' to deliver "smudge-ilicious" music for kids.
The Smudge Fundaes' Smudge-ilicious Variety Show is always a crowd pleaser, whether in conjunction with Treehouse TV's Big Comfy Couch, Clifford or Dora the Explorer. The Smudge Fundaes have performed ar concerts, fairs and festivals across Canada and the US for over 14 years.
As one happy fan said, "If you want to sweeten your life...try The Smudge Fundaes!" - Gouverneur Tribune Press, Gouverneur, NY


by Christopher Waters The Standard, St. Catharines, ON, Nov 2001

St. Catharines children's entertainers The Smudge Fundaes bring more free-spirited songs to their newest CD.
In order to complete its new CD of Holiday favourites for a November release, The Smudge Fundaes celebrated Christmas in July and several other months, whenever members' busy schedules would allow them to record.
The St. Catharines-based group that entertains children and families with its free-spirited and catchy original songs originally planned to record material for the Tinsel Tunes disc right after the holidays, but other commitments took priority.
“Our idea was, because we got so many requests last Christmas for an album, we thought let's get right in there while the material is still fresh,” said founding member Suzanne Nicks. “We meant to go in January and February but we couldn't get going until March.
“Recording Rudolph in July was an interesting experience,” said Nicks, who is joined in The Smudge Fundaes by Sandie Thomson and Jim Yorfido. All three had a hand in producing and arranging the material.
The final mixing and production was finally completed earlier this month. Tinsel Tunes, the groups' second CD. Will be officially released this friday at Fairview Mall in St. Catharines.
The Smudge Fundaes will perform three 20-minutes showcases at 5 p.m. 6 p.m. And 7 p.m. And will be on hand to answer questions and sign autogtaphs.
The new CD, which features the band's versions of traditional favourites and an original tune entitled Santa Rock, will be available and refreshments served.
A portion of the proceeds from CDs sold at the Fairview Mall launch will be donated to RAFT, the resource association for teens.
Tinsel Tunes will retail for $13.99, avaiable at Sam the Record Man locations at the Fairview Mall, Seaway Mall and Pen Centre, Downtown Fine Music and HMV outlets across the country.
In the past year, The Smudge Fundaes have also developed a new touring show, Play It Safe, which deals with a variety of safety issues through a series of lively songs about issues such as water safety, calling 911 and bullying.
Work on the new show, developed by the trio through consultation with safety officers from the police and fire departments and local elementary school teachers, was slotted in around the demands of recording, touring and promotional activities.
“You work on five different projects at the same time. It makes your head spin,” Nicks said. “But that's the nature of the beast, working at the creative/artist aspects as well as the marketing/business aspects.”
Members of the 5 year old outfit had to commit their full attention to The Smudge Fundaes in the last year and a half, Thomson said.
The group continues to be self-managed and makes all its own bookings and tour information. Each year the trio performs numerous private shows for company functions and various performances at community fairs, festivals, elementary schools and shopping malls.
This summer, The Smudge Fundaes performed throughout the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.
“We've had offers (from talent agents) but right now we're OK doing it ourselves,” she said. “There's a
difference between and agent and manager. Right now agents want to book us, but it increases prices and they are never going to represent us as well as we represent us.”
Nicks agrees. “Generally I think you can sell yourself better than an agent could.”
Taking the plunge and going full time makes a big difference when talking to promoters from across the country and America. The group estimates it performs 10 shows a month.
“Prospective presenters will ask us if this is full time for us, without hearing the quality of the music or the band. They have this mind-set that if you're not doing it full time you can't be that great,” she said. “So we made the decision to go full-time.
The group is looking to expand into new markets including British Columbia and Michigan by attending showcase conferences where The Smudge Fundaes can perfrom for promoters and talent bookers in those regions.
“We're trying to go coast to coast,” said Thomson, who remarks the group just returned from the Festival and Events Michigan conference where the act was very well received. “We're trying to move into new territory all the time.”
The Smudge Fundaes also received a big boost this summer when Our Choice, a guide to Canada's best children's books, audio, video and CD-Roms, selected Sing For Your Supper! As one of its recommended albums.
The annual consumer guide, organized by the Canadian Children's Book Centre , feature reviews by children's literary experts from across Canada. The audio reviewers awarded The Smudge Fundaes CD a star for exceptional merit.
Currently, the trio has five performance programs in its musical arsenal, including special Halloween and Christmas shows and a variety show, performed at fairs and festivals, that features a mixture of original and familiar songs.
With the Play It Safe show up and running, Nicks said members are ready to get working on the next one. There are a number of concepts and ideas floating around. - The Standard, St Catharines, ON


By Joanna Manning The Tribune Welland, ON Nov 10, 2001

If you're familiar with the fun music the Smudge Fundaes regularly send out to entertain young people and families, you'll be happy to know this irrepressible trio has brought out a new CD just in time to get the holiday season off to a merry start. If you haven't heard the Smudge Fundaes – is that possible?- this could be the right time to let them put you and the kids in a light-hearted festive mood.
'Tinsel Tunes', is the group's third CD and is an eclectic mixture of tunes traditional, seasonal and just plain fun; like a boxful of shiny colourful glass ornaments, but thankfully more durable. The Smudge Fundaes inimitable style is evident in the happy, jaunty compositions and arrangements, the quirky comments and snatches of conversation the trio exchange. Based in St. Catharines, the Smudge Fundaes have been singing and sharing their own brand of musical fun for more than six years. Members, who all sing and between them play keyboard, percussion and guitar are Sandy Thomson, Suzanne Nicks and Jim Yorfido, originally from Welland, now living in Fort Erie.
Joining them on the 'Tinsel Tunes' CD are a playful band of squeaky-voiced elves, who get a whole rapstyle song to themselves, and that jovial old man, Santa himself. Song of the songs are original , others arrangements of traditional Christmas and children's songs. There's the Peter, Paul and Mary favourite 'Up on the Housetop' which rolls along merrily to its toe tapping tune and a jazzy version of 'Rudolph'.
There are lots of possibilities for children to get into some action with songs they will know. 'The Wheels on the Bus' becomes the Christmas bus and as they journey to the North Pole, the trio and the elves get to hammer, stamp, blink and shake. In 'Reindeer Pokey', you put your antler in and out, until you've got your whole reindeer in. Some corny jokes will raise either giggles or groans, depending on your age. 'Flyin In His Sleigh, set to a hillbilly tune, will have the whole family clapping along , as will S-A-N-T-A.
You may think twice about decorating yur tree after you've listened to 'The Christmas Tree', at least keep the family pets from lending a helping paw. Alternatively, you can rock around the tree with the Brenda Lee hit or jive to Suzanne Nicks' own composition 'Santa Rock'.
You can meet The Smudge Fundaes in person when they launch 'Tinsel Tunes' at the Fairview Mall in St. Catharines on Friday, November 16th. The trio will perform at 5, 6 and 7 pm and there will be snacks and drinks for children. This is a special occasion because the Smudge Fundaes will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of this CD to Resource Association for Teens (RAFT).
The trio is often seen in concert performances and has recently returned from touring their new original stage production to schools in southern Ontario and Michigan.'Play It Safe' features songs and skits about bike, street, water and fire safety as well as bullying and the dangers that can come from strangers.
For more information visit the Smudge Fundaes at www.smudgefundaes.com or email them at smudge@mergetel.com. - The Tribune (Welland, ON)


Discography

A Trunk O' Tunes
Head To Toe, Safe To Go
2 Scoops of Fun
Tinsel Tunes
Sing For Your Supper

Photos

Bio

2008 Canadian Children's Group of the Year!!!
2008 & 2009 Niagara Music Awards Best Children's Group!
2008 TVCOGECO Star Awards Winner!

Described as “captivating”, “sheer entertainment”, “the elite of children’s performers”, “better than the Wiggles”, Suzanne Nicks and Sandie Thomson make up the “delicious” duo, The Smudge Fundaes! Canadian musicians, Suzanne and Sandie combine their talents, wit and 'kid-intuition' to deliver "smudge-ilicious" music for kids! The Smudge Fundaes newest CD, A Trunk O' Tunes, is destined to be another hit! Already, Wayne DeSchover, Music Director of Max Trax Digital Music says about A Trunk O' Tunes: “it’s so refreshing to hear original children’s music that’s actually meant for kids!”

The Smudge Fundaes have 4 other highly acclaimed CDs that have garnered 7 international awards - 2 Parents' Choice, 2 iParenting Media and 3 Our Choice awards.

For television, The Smudge Fundaes conceived, produced, wrote and starred in 3 seasons of their own show, Classroom Crayons, featuring Ruby Red and Sunny Yellow. The reviews were fantastic and The Smudge Fundaes and Classroom Crayons won a 2008 TVCOGECO Star Award for the best mobile production in Ontario! Ruby and Sunny can be seen on FREE Video-On-Demand on TVCOGECO.

In the high-tech toy world, The Smudge Fundaes' music was selected among many children's music artists, to be pre-loaded into Smart-e-bear. Smart-e-bear™ is winning recognition as one of the best toys for toddlers and pre-schoolers! Already, Smart-e-bear™ has garnered an iParenting Media Award, a Nappa Gold award, a Dr. Toy Best Children’s Product Award and it’s been called a Top Ten Tech Toy!

The Smudge Fundaes variety show is always a crowd pleaser, whether in conjunction with TREEHOUSE TV’s Big Comfy Couch, Clifford, or Dora The Explorer. The Smudge Fundaes have performed at concerts, fairs and festivals across Canada and the U.S. for over 14 years.
Winterblast at Superbowl XL, Detroit, MI
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), ON
Ontario Place, ON
Red River Ex, Winiipeg MN
Southshore EX, Bridgewater, NS
Whoop-Up Days, Lethbridge, AB
Lloydminster Exhibiton, Lloydminster, AB
Saskatoon Exhibition, SK
Westerner Days, Red Deer, AB,
Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, ON
Dearborn Performing Arts Center, MI
Detroit Symphony Orchestra, MI
Centre For the Arts, Brock University, ON
Orillia Performing Arts Center, ON
Arts, Beats and Eats Festival, Pontiac, MI
Brighton Center For the Performing Arts, MI
Louden County Schools, VA
Hard Rock Cafe, NY
Art in the Pointe, Grosse Pointe Shores, MI
Winter Festival of Lights, ON
State Theater, Bay City, MI
Help-a-Child-Smile
Tender Wishes
Tuppys' Children's Foundation
Niagara Backpack for Kids
Brain Injury Foundation (Toronto Sick Kids' Hospital)
1000's of shows in schools in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and New York

The Smudge Fundaes are leaders and specialists in the area of educational, music-based assemblies for elementary school children. Their assemblies about bullying, reading, writing, environment, health and safety have been seen and heard by thousands of students in hundreds of elementary schools in Canada and the United States. Educators say The Smudge Fundaes assemblies are “clear, direct and right out there!” and “fast-paced, groovin and absolutely on topic” and “the best presentation we have had at our school”.

As one happy fan said, “If you want to sweeten your life…try The Smudge Fundaes!