Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Clean Green Music Machine Launches Kids Podcast TURN IT UP! 

“We're handing the next generation a big mess. Let's at least arm them with knowledge and power!”

Clean Green Music Machine Launches Kids Podcast TURN IT UP! 

Clean Green Music Machine's (CGMM) Turn It Up! began as a free-wheeling traveling stage show featuring a do-it-yourself bicycle-powered sound system created by the Boston-based band Melodeego.

The stage show quickly became popular in elementary schools across New England, sparking curiosity and conversation about renewable energy sources with its young audiences. As kids pedaled the bikes to create the energy to power the show, the band performed original songs about the environment, the greenhouse gas effect, the negative effects of single-use plastics, and renewable energy.

To elevate and expand the show's reach and its educational and social impact, Mark Files Schwaller, guitarist of Melodeego and Founder of Clean Green Music Machine, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, engaged Paris Qualles, a multi-award winning Hollywood screenwriter and playwright known for socially conscious themes, to write a new story and script for the show. "The new production is focused on providing elementary school children a vocabulary to understand energy and the climate crisis while empowering them to become climate leaders," said Schwaller.

CGMM tapped Bonnie Milner of North Brookfield's legendary Long View Farm Studios and CGMM Co-Founder and Kelly Wohlford, CGMM Production Manager, to create new songs with Mark, while Grammy-winning writer/producer Jeff Bova ensured the pop radio quality of the final music. With a new set, visuals, videos, and animations, and a cast of professional actors, the first-class production hit the road.

The first official run of Turn It Up! took place in Lawrence, MA. CGMM chose the Lawrence school district intentionally due to the frequent challenges the city faces around education, resource, and opportunity embargoes. Through the show, CGMM provided easy to consume and much-needed information to children in a community disproportionately vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The cast and crew toured from school to school, building the set in gymnasiums, cafeterias, or any large space available. The show became a quick hit with educators, administrators, and most importantly, the children in the audience. Touring throughout a school system worked.

The second run of the show took place as a stationary exhibit at the Brooklyn Children's Museum in New York City. CGMM partnered with the New York City Department of Education's Office of Sustainability to coordinate field trips for elementary schools from across the city. Once announced within the school system, educators filled a full month of shows in two days--with a long waiting list. Elementary school students came to the museum and experienced the show, then had time to explore the other exhibits within the museum. During the month, CGMM presented the Turn It Up! Experience twice per day, four days a week. At the end of the run, Turn It Up! had reached more than 60 schools representing more than 2,000 students, plus educators and caregivers. The stationary exhibit experiment worked.

In 2020, facing the reality of the COVID pandemic, and that live shows could not be part of the immediate future, CGMM pivoted to create a podcast based on the live show production of Turn It Up! Adam Raymonda, longtime podcast producer and editor joined Milner and Wohlford, working under Qualles' supervision to reshape the scripts to podcast format, and be conducive to remote recordings by professional voice actors.

With the Turn It Up! Podcast recorded, edited, and mixed, the CGMM team then created related activities for educators, caregivers, and children to facilitate deeper remote and immersive learning on the environmental and empowerment topics covered by the show.

The Turn It Up! Podcast is available to download, free of charge, from all major podcast services, as well as on the Turn It Up! Website where relevant learning activities can also be downloaded.

The CGMM team continues to work on future productions, new podcasts, and even a possible television series based on Turn It Up!, along with continued hopes for a return to live performance in a major theater venue when logistics safely allow again.

As the CGMM team says, "We're handing the next generation a big mess. Let's at least arm them with knowledge and power!"

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Boston Stories

More Hot Stories For You