Music, Other, Performing Arts
MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2016, 2015
Artist StatementIn this world of deepening problems, I continue to dedicate myself to music, comedy, ventriloquism, and puppets because they are my gift to give. They are the best I have to offer my community and children's music, in particular, offers perfect opportunities for community-building. I see again, and again, at my performances people of all stripes who join together in their love of children! My artistic goal, then, is to continue to create moments of joy for as long as I am able.
Valerie Leonhart Smalkin, ventriloquist, musician, composer, and writer was born 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland. Val started the duo Val & Pam Kindersinger in 1987. Val & Pam went on to be writers, performers, and co-producers of John Kinderman Taylor’s Emmy award-winning Children’s Television program, It’s Kindertime that aired on WMAR ABC TV-2 in the 90’s.
Since that time Valerie: composed and performed the musical version, Chadwick Sings: A Little Bay Music, of Priscilla Cummings' International Literacy Award winning book, Chadwick the Chesapeake Crab; published The Early Childhood Curriculum with Karen Rupprecht; and composed Babel: The Oratorio, Signs: An Epiphany Musical, and Darrell: The Draggin' Dragon. She now tours with her puppets, comedy, and music, as Silly Goose & Val. Most recently Valerie wrote the song Springtime Dance in May 2013 and through a series fortuitous events met illustrator Kimberly Hopkins at about the same time. Their collaboration resulted in the book, Springtime Dance, published June 1, 2014, which took Gold in the Moonbeam Chidlren's Book Awards.
Val's most recent CD, Love Bug!, made the first cut for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, and won a prestigious Parents' Choice Recommended award! Priof to that her CDs A Gentle Halloween, and Sing! Sing! Sing!...and Dance! won 2015 Parents' Choice Fun Stuff, and Parents' Choice Approved awards respectively.