HARLINGEN — They say reading is fundamental, but Thursday night the school district turned it into a celebration.
“Amarillo is the sun,” sang 123 Andres, the stage name for Andres Salguero who performed for the Third Annual Family Fun Night hosted by the Harlingen school district.
“Shake it on Baby now, shake it on baby,” he sang as he played guitar to a full house at the Harlingen Performing Arts Center. Parents and children joined in the festive performance, laughing, clapping and singing along with Salguero.
The Bogota native recently won a Latin Grammy for his children’s album, “Arriba Abajo”, a collection of educational songs in English and Spanish.
The crowd Thursday night was pumped with Salguero’s talent and charisma and quickly joined in with his performances of “Twist and Shout” and quick phrases from “La Bamba.” He also performed playful word songs and invited both parents and children to participate.
“Verde is what?” Salguero sang as he played his guitar.
“Grass!” tiny voices shouted. Then Andres continued singing, “Verde is the color of grass.”
He’d invited several fathers and their children to join him on stage. They moved back and forth, swaying slowly between cutouts of a lion resembling Simba from “The Lion King” plus a gorilla, a giraffe and several other animals. Colorful paper parrots clung to thick ropes along the stage.
The event had a jungle theme. Earlier in the evening students from Harlingen High School South appeared in their colorful costumes from “The Lion King.” They performed the play earlier in the year.
A magician also delivered a performance, infusing words, vocabulary and literacy into his show.
Invitations were sent out to the families of children in pre-kindergarten to first grade, but their older siblings came, too.
“I am so pleased with the turnout,” said Carmen Alvarez, early childhood coordinator for the school district. Alvarez coordinated the event to help promote literacy.
Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer for the district, was also pleased with the show.
“It was fantastic, it was fun, it was educational,” she said. “The kids and the parents had a great time. It’s an opportunity to bring families together to enjoy music, to enjoy literacy.”
Margarita Ibarra and her two daughters had a great time.
“It’s teaching them their colors,” said Ibarra, who daughters Liliana, 5, and Janelie, 4, stood closely by.
Their mother thanked the school district.
“I think they are doing a good job for the children,” she said.
The evening’s events appeared to be more than a job. It was a passion, a mission to secure the world for the children soon to arrive.