Billy Jonas playing guitar in front of a large crowd

MTC Kids Jam
Billy Jonas 'Who’s Gonna Make Our Music?!'

March 25, 2023 | Polsky Theatre

Past Event

The MTC Kids Jam concert series is specially designed with families in mind! Join us in the MTC lobby at 10 a.m. for art activities led by the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, followed by a 60-minute concert with an acclaimed children’s musician.

Participation is the name of the game at this concert! Billy Jonas believes creating a bright future starts with kids. Using homemade and recyclable “re-percussion” instruments, songs that celebrate community, as well as personal and planetary ecology, his think-outside-the-box performances occur at schools, colleges, universities and libraries around the country. Jonas’ goal is to plant musical seeds that will help grow creative, open-minded, engaged and open-hearted citizens of the world.

Some ask: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Jonas asks: “What is the sound of 600 sets of keys jingling on the downbeat, and how shall we inspire the audience to do it?”

For 25 years, Jonas (performer, singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and educator) has perfected the art of neo-tribal hootenanny – original songs performed with a generous dose of audience participation. He performs solo or with his band, using voice, guitar and “industrial re-percussion” – homemade creations of buckets and barrels, keys and cans, bells and body percussion. Each concert is a soul-spelunking, heart-healing, joy-filled journey of spirited music that is accessible to anyone and everyone, regardless of age or cultural background.

Jonas developed his craft in the late 1980s as a founding member of the Oberlin College Big Bang Theory performance art collective. He refined things further in Chicago during monthly “Bang-along with Billy” shows at the No Exit Cafe, and in the 1990s as a co-founder (with Bill Melanson) of the funky folk duo The Billys. He currently tours with the Billy Jonas Band, which was honored with an invitation to perform at the White House in 2010. 

Jonas has received numerous honors and awards, including a first place/Gold from the American Federation of Independent Musicians, multiple Parents' Choice Golds and a New York Times “best” listing. He has shared stages with many renowned artists, including Alison Krauss, Peter Yarrow, Keb’ Mo, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, Paul Winter, Michele Shocked, Justin Bieber, Ani DiFranco, David Wilcox, Richard Thompson and Pete Seeger. Originally from Chicago, Jonas has lived in Asheville, North Carolina, since 1991.