Singer-songwriter-teacher-entertainer Paul Strausman died late last year, just a few days before Christmas. He was just 54 years old, and he left behind a wife, Carol Coogan, and three children.
At 3pm on Sunday, August 23, Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs will host a special children’s music tribute to Paul, featuring Terri Roben, Andy “The Music Man” Morse and a few special guests. All proceeds from the benefit concert will be placed in a fund for his children’s college education.
And children was what Paul was really all about. Although he played the acoustic music circuit as half of the folk duo Stock & Strausman (with singing partner Dick Stock), he made his biggest mark as a children’s music entertainer and educator with a batch of delightful albums for Albany’s own children’s music label, A Gentle Wind.
In reviewing his album, “Camels, Cats and Rainbows,” Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Paul Strausman has a sweet, gentle voice that children will enjoy.”
And Strausman himself best summed up his philosophy when he wrote, “In my songwriting and performing, I am always striving to make fun music that is also interesting and challenging musically and lyrically for both kids and their parents. I listen to and enjoy many different styles of music from folk music to classical, jazz and rock & roll. My writing reflects these influences.
“In my work with kids in workshops, concerts, and as an elementary school music teacher my first goal is to show the kids that music is a fun activity that everyone can be successful at. I want them to be so comfortable with their own abilities that they can truly feel the experience of personal musical expression. When this happens, music can be a powerful tool for creative learning, curriculum enhancement, building a shared group experience, and promotion of self esteem.
“Children’s music is important, probably more now than it has ever been. I think the messages kids are getting from the mainstream media are often very unhealthy. I, and other musicians like me, are looking at music for children as more than just entertainment.”