Kids Day at Con Vivo


We visited the Barrow Mansion in downtown Jersey City Zach Herchen, Creative Director of Con Vivo Music, to talk about their program and why it's important for kids.

What was the event today?

We invited kids to hear them play a range of musical styles and learn about their instruments, and then took the second part of the event to give kids the opportunity to create their own instruments out of every day materials. Kids were able to take tubes, balloons, and rubber bands to experiment, put together and name their own instruments, and explore how they can create music at home. 

The hands-on aspect was one of the coolest parts about the event – how did you come up with the idea?

It was our mission this year to do a kids show. Two years ago I attended a summer music festival called Bang on a Can, and while I was there they showed me building instruments with tubes and balloons.   I thought it was a really cool idea – I took it to heart. While planning out today's event, I thought lets find a way to do this for kids, get them to be creative using every day supplies, and be able to totally replicate it at home.

Love the immersion and the feeling that anyone can be involved, and that music for non-professionals doesn't have to be daunting. Today you showed it's very accessible.

Right off the bat, a lot of them are able to make sounds with rubber bands. We had a short lesson with tubes and balloons, and at the end it was really fun to bring all the kids together to share the instruments they made, see what everyone was working on, and have a grand finale. We love the idea of music for all – one of our missions is to provide chamber music events across Jersey City for everyone, for all backgrounds. This is right up our alley, to show kids they can learn and make music at home without the expense of a major instrument.

Con Vivo is major – you had 75 or 100 people here today – but you're able to run it out of your apartment.

Like most non-profits, it's run by people with a lot of enthusiasm. The group was founded about 7 years ago by local resident Amelia Hollander who was thinking there's not that much classical music going on here, and she made it her mission to build it up in the City. We're just driven by a lot of people with energy and enthusiasm, and it's a great movement for Jersey City right now – a lot of venues opening up, all kinds of organizations, and we're proud to be part of that.

What's the next step for people who were really inspired like I was to create and play their own instruments, in the creation and playing of music?

They can reach out to us at All of our musicians offer private lessons, and we'll post up photos of the event so they can review and try it at home at their own pace.

If you could share one message about Con Vivo and Music, what would you want to tell people?

Con Vivo's mission is to provide world class chamber music in Jersey City. I think it's really important for Jersey City, and we're one of the groups doing it – if people are into that cause, they want to see more chamber and classical music, and see more events for kids, they should reach out to us and make a donation.

You rocked it!

Thanks and learn more at