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From virtually the outset of her folksinging career, Ella Jenkins stood at the forefront of children's music, establishing herself as one of the few musicians in the genre whose charms extended beyond her young target audience into the realm of adults and educators.
Born in St. Louis but raised in Chicago, Jenkins began singing professionally in 1956. Over the course of books, videos, and numerous albums, she educated children about everything from reading to geography to dance, and over time she even began teaching their instructors as well; through her famous Adventures in Rhythm workshops, Jenkins demonstrated new group-vocalizing and rhythm-building methods to music teachers. And as the times changed, Jenkins changed with them; by the 21st century, her repertoire included up-to-the-minute songs on topics like multi-culturalism and the environment.