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James Coffey

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Classically trained pianist James Coffey uses his musical talents to reach out to the youngest listeners in his audience. His songs have been heard on such children's television shows as the Learning Channel's the Kind Club, which received a Hometown Video Festival Award from the Alliance for Community Video in Washington, DC. Songs composed and performed for a series of toy train videos produced by TM Books & Videos were collected and released on two impressive albums – Come Ride With Me, released in 1997, and My Mama Was A Train, released in 2002. Coffey's collection of animal songs were featured on the 1999 album, Animal Groove, which received the Parent's Choice award and Sesame Street Parents's "Editor's Choice" award. A native of Chicago, Coffey grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Playing piano since the age of eight, he spent countless childhood hours playing on an upright piano in the basement of his family's home. Inspired by a diverse range of music, in the 1960s and ‘70s, he joined a top-forty band after graduating from high school. Enrolling in Indiana University, Coffey studied musical form and analysis with Dr. James Ator, eighteenth century counterpoint with Darwin Lites, conducting with Fort Wayne Philharmonic conductor Ronald Ondrejka and classical piano with Masson Robertson. He became a soloist with the university orchestra and was featured during the premier performance of an orchestral piece by Canadian composer David Roe, that was subsequently broadcast on PBS. Following his graduation, with an undergraduate degree in music, in 1981, Coffey worked as a session musician and an elementary music teacher for the Central Noble Community Schools in central Indiana. Frustrated by the lack of quality music available for children, he began composing songs aimed at youngsters. Leaving teaching, in 1994, to devote himself to music, Coffey launched a children-oriented production company, Blue Vision Music, in 1995. Coffey received a Masters of Education from Indiana University in 1989. ~ Craig Harris

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