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Akron, Ohio, United States | SELF

Akron, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Rock Children's Music


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"Musical act keeps children moving, learning"

By Kathleen Folkerth

WEST AKRON — A group of Akron parents is taking their love of music to children with a new act that emphasizes living healthy while having fun.

Zobapago (pronounced Zo-BOP-a-go) is the creation of Dr. Eric Jagar, a Highland Square resident, who began writing songs as a way to entertain his son, now 2.

“My first son had his first birthday and I was attempting to get him interested in music,” said Jagar, who recently became the father of twins as well. “I wrote a song about going to the doctor. It became a project of multiple songs and a storyline to entertain my children and other people’s children.”

The two came up with the name while listening to Ella Fitzgerald one day and scat-singing along with “zoobadoos.”

Jagar, who played instrumental music in high school in Madison, Wis., learned to play the saxophone while in medical school as a way to relax. After moving to Akron about five years ago, he began meeting other local musicians and making the connections that would someday help him form Zobapago.

During a one-hour show that is tailored to the attention span of the preschool set, Zobapago presents an energetic performance of catchy numbers about topics like shapes and gravity.

The musicians, veterans of local bands, are known by their alter egos in the band. Jagar is TaxiMan Zan, the sax-playing leader who guides the audience on a journey through the city of Zobapa-Dopolis. He is joined by his “garage band,” The New-Matic-Crew, led by vocalist Zeta Pipes (Kim Salmons), drummer Zed (Dan Salmons), bassist Zig (Anthony Sterns), percussionist Zeb (Malin Friess), and guitarists Zag (Rob Thompson) and E-Zee (Eric Bassett).

The band debuted at last summer’s Art in the Square festival in Highland Square and since then has appeared at local preschools and schools, as well as the occasional birthday party.

For the musicians, most of whom are parents, the band is a way to continue to play music while doing something family-friendly.

“We’re not doing the midnight gigs,” said Kim Salmons, a West Akron resident and mother of two. “We’re doing the noon gigs.”

“I have two kids of my own, and I wanted to keep playing,” said Sterns, a psychologist who also lives in Highland Square. “I’ve got a lot of creative energies.”

Jagar said a CD of the band’s music is in the works as well as a storybook. He thinks Zobapago has found a niche in the field of children’s entertainment by focusing on science and health rather than verbal development.

“My idea was to try to relate to aspects of everyday life based on science, health and hygiene,” Jagar said.

He added the band can continue to grow as the members’ children do, which will give them the opportunity to expand the subjects of their songs.

Locally, Zobapago will perform at the Kids are Number One Run and Family Fun Day June 1 at Akron Children’s Hospital. The event, which features a 5K run and Miracle Mile, takes place from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Perkins Square Park, at the intersection of Bowery and Exchange streets.

The band also has a gig at the Waterfront Festival in Alexandria, Va., where they will open for children’s musical act Ralph’s World on June 15.

For more information on the band, go to www.zobapago.com or contact Jagar at zobapago@yahoo.com.

- 5/22/2008 - West Side Leader

"Zobapago Headlines Mix 106.5 Kids Village at Legacy Mall"

Mix 106.5 Kids Village Sunday, July 20th Noon-5:00 pm
Sunday, July 20th Noon-5:00 pm12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Dates:

* Sunday, July 20, 2008 from 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

The Kids Village event, sponsored in partnership with Mix 106.5 and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, will showcase a variety of stage events throughout the afternoon, including a dynamic program at 3 p.m. by ZOBAPAGO, a group that teaches kids life lessons through music. The songs and show encourage children to get active, stay healthy and keep learning. - Mix 106.5 Promotions

"ZOBAPAGO Uses Music To Teach, Inspire Kids"

Zobapago takes kids on ride of their life
Characters lead children through fictional town on educational journey with upbeat singalongs

By Mary Beth Breckenridge
Beacon Journal staff writer

POSTED: 12:04 p.m. EST, Jan 20, 2010

Climb into the cab, kids. TaxiMan Zan is about to take you on a rockin' ride.

Zan is the main character of Zobapago, an Akron musical group that's making it fun to learn about science, health and hygiene. Its members will be revving up their imaginary taxi at the Akron Civic Theatre on Sunday afternoon in a performance aimed at 2- to 8-year-olds.

The members of Zobapago (pronounced zo-BOP-a-go) portray people who live and work in the fictional city of Zobapa-Dopolis. They ferry their audiences on an imaginary trip around town, using tunes to teach the kids about such varied subjects as shapes, gravity, dinosaurs and what to expect during a visit to the doctor.

The group was created by Eric Jagar, an internist with a passion for music and a commitment to education. He sees Zobapago as a way to teach and inspire children in an enjoyable, interactive way.

The seed for Zobapago sprouted in his mind in 2006 as his son, Mathis, was approaching his 1-year-old checkup, he said. Jagar, formerly a saxophone player in the band the House Popes, wanted to prepare Mathis for the experience, so he wrote a song about going to the doctor.

A few more songs followed, which his friend and fellow musician Anthony Sterns recorded. ''And, unbeknownst to me, [he] was playing them for some other people,'' Jagar said with a laugh.

Those people were parents, and they liked what they heard. ''Some kind of light bulb went off,'' he said, and he decided to form a band for children.

The group's name came indirectly from Ella Fitzgerald. Inspired by one of her recordings, he and his son were making their own attempt at scat singing, and ''that morphed into Zobapago,'' he said.

It's just a fun sound, he said. ''The letter Z . . . is so much underutilized and underrecognized, and so much fun to work with.''

Zobapago formed about 21/2 years ago and performs primarily at schools, fairs and similar events.

Jagar plays the taxi driver, TaxiMan Zan, who is accompanied by a group of musical mechanics called the New-Matic-Crew. ''Thus we're a garage band,'' Sterns said with a sly smile.

Sterns, a bass guitarist and psychologist, portrays the crew member Zig. His fellow musician-mechanics are lead singer Kim Salmons, who performs as the character Zeta Pipes; Eric Bassett, a guitarist who performs as E-Zee; Dan Salmons, a drummer who plays Zed; and Rob Eubank, a guitar and keyboard player who performs as Zag. Eubank is from Coventry Township; the others are Akron residents.

Their tunes are upbeat and poppy, designed to get kids to sing along and move with the music. The characters lead the young audience in pretending they're visiting a school, a doctor's office and even taking a ride on the Zobapa-Chopper.

The songs are designed to appeal to parents as well as to kids. And children seem to respond to the simple, happy lyrics, Kim Salmons said. Her own son, Cooper, 21/2, insists she sing him Zobapago's song about brushing teeth whenever it's time for that hygiene routine.

''The goal is to inspire fun and learning,'' to encourage young audiences to be healthy and active and to explore the world around them, Jagar said. And there's a more subtle message too: It makes the professions that are profiled seem cool.

So perhaps there's a whole new generation of Zobapa-Dopsters in the making.

Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or mbrecken@thebeaconjournal.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook.


• Performance: Zobapago

• When: 2 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St.

• Tickets: $5, available from the Civic box office and Ticketmaster.

• Information: Civic, 330-253-2488 or http://www.akroncivic.com. Ticketmaster, 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com. Zobapago, http://www.zobapago.com.

- Akron Beacon Journal / www.ohio.com


Living and Learning in Zobapa-Dopolis



Keep Growing, Keep Going, ZOBAPAGO! Inspired by our own children, ZOBAPAGO (zo-bop-a-go) presents a dynamic program leading the audience on a tour through the city of Zobapa-Dopolis, and throughout the World of ZOBAPAGO. Along the way, we combine an entertaining story with interactive, educational songs relating to topics of a child's everyday life, with a focus on health, hygiene, and science. Fun for the family, we're a kid's band adults will dig, too.

With his reasonably reliable navigational skills, TaxiMan Zan (Dr. Eric Jagar) guides you through the streets, bringing along his saxophone, guitar, and percussion toys. He has the help of Destination Dayzee, the dispatcher (thanks to modern technology and a projection screen), and his mechanic garage band friends, the New-Matic-Crew. The crew is led by vocalist Zeta Pipes (Kim Salmons) who has sung throughout the country in the past, yet now has the opportunity to sing and exhibit her giant toothbrush twirl. Zippitylicks (Steve Heckel) is an accomplished musician who provides slick licks on lead guitar along the ride, while from the spare parts bag, keyboard and guitar riffs are added by Zag (Rob Eubank), local high-school educator and adminstrator. The driving groove is maintained by psychologist, professor and touring musician Zig (Dr. Anthony Sterns) on bass [and the occasional tire iron] along with Quick Sticks Zwick (Mike Zwick) and Zod (Scott Kopp) on drums and percussion. Additional percussion is provided by the audience.

Along the way, we introduce a gaggle of characters who all live and work in Zobapa-Dopolis. Some of the characters include Mr. Mathematix the teacher, Dr. Heltheebody the physician, Dr. Sparkelsmile the dentist, and Quizzical Lizzy who learns by asking questions. Professor Xplainnit answers her questions, and teaches us all about the world in which we live. We perform as a (smaller) "live band" or (larger) "theater stage" group at festivals, preschools, elementary schools, theaters and other private and public events. Our first CD "Living and Learning in Zobapa-Dopolis" is available for sale through CDBaby.com and all digital music stores.

We tour/perform a 45-60 minute dynamic program combining interactive songs with a storyline related to academic topics including biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, earth science/ecology, health & hygiene, and mathematics. For schools, the program relates to many Ohio Academic Content Standards Science Benchmarks for kindergarten through fifth grade - examples are listed below. An audio recording of the music is provided prior to the performance (as desired) that is intended to be used during music or other class time for students to become familiar with the music and interactive elements of the songs. Students and teachers may also consider utilizing art or other activity time to create their own hand percussion instruments (such as shakers) to be used during the performance, while exemplifying Science and Technology benchmarks relating to recycling/reuse and design.

Examples of Material Related to State of Ohio Academic Content Standards Science Benchmarks (Kindergarten through 5th grade):

Earth and Space Sciences
Describe similarities and differences that exist among individuals; compare changes in an organism's ecosystem/habitat that affect its survival (e.g., explore how fossils provide evidence regarding the lives of dinosaurs). Activities: discussion and song noting the parts of a human face; discussion and song regarding dinosaurs and fossils.

Physical Sciences
Explain construction planning, problem solving and tools; describe and illustrate a design process. Activities: Identify materials that can be reused as musical instruments, discuss a design process to reuse materials to create these instruments, perform music utilizing these instruments.

Scientific Inquiry
Ask a testable question, design and conduct an investigation, observe and collect data, formulate conclusions, communicate results. Activity: discussion and song regarding developing and testing an hypothesis.

Scientific Ways of Knowing
Recognize diverse groups of people contribute to our understanding of the natural world and participate in careers in all fields of science. Activities: discussions and songs regarding people involved in scientific careers and potential occupations for students.

To view upcoming and prior performances, please see the calendar page of our website, www.zobapago.com