Ralph Covert: Tot rocker

While strolling through an airport, a toddler yells out,"Ralph! Ralph! Ralph!” His mother replies,"No honey, Ralph is on TV.” Ralph Covert, creator and star of Ralph’s World, smiles at the youngster and keeps walking. Such is the life of Chicago’s own megastar for preschoolers.

Ever since his start 12 years ago as a Wiggleworms teacher for the Old Town School of Folk Music when his daughter Fiona was a baby, Covert found entertaining children"a clean little dirty little secret.” When the father of one of his Wiggleworms students asked him to record a kids album for Minty Fresh Records, Covert actually said,"No. But I will make a good record that kids will love.”

Already a popular musician with his own band, The Bad Examples, Covert created Ralph’s World and steadily released a series of albums accompanied by rollicking-fun concerts for kids ages 1-9. Given his experience in rock music, he understood the importance of"making music that kids move to, but that is also good enough for parents to enjoy on its own merit.” From that simple premise, Covert has taken Ralph’s World from local success to national recognition through his partnership with Disney.

With subject matter ranging from pet dinosaurs to imaginary surfboards and pie parlors, Ralph’s World entices children and their parents with a variety of musical styles. Covert appreciates that"children come to music with an open mind,” which allows him to explore different musical genres. His videos currently airing on Playhouse Disney showcase his playful style and offbeat sense of humor.

What he loves best, though, is performing live. Covert has just announced the extension of his very successful nationwide tour of House of Blues venues. (If you missed the first concert, check him out at the Chicago venue on June 2.)"It’s just so fun to perform Ralph’s World music in these traditional rock venues,” he happily admits.

He’s looking forward to many live performances in the Chicago area this summer, including shows at Ravinia, Morton Arboretum and Millennium Park. For an updated schedule of concerts, check out the Ralph’s World Web site at www.ralphsworld.com.

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