The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


October 2, 2012

Nick's Fresh Beat Band will rock War Memorial Arena

The Fresh Beat Band, the hottest band in the country for the preschool set, will bring its high-energy show to Johnstown.

Fans of the Nickelodeon television series can hear the group sing its hits at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St.

Thomas Hobson portrays the keyboardist Shout. He is flanked by his upbeat bandmates, Kiki the violinist (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer), Marina the drummer (Tara Perry) and Twist the DJ.

“The Fresh Beat Band” is a highly rated Nickelodeon series about a quartet of best friends that goes to music school and constantly plays feel-good, cute and catchy songs.

Hobson has been with the band since Nickelodeon produced the pilot in 2008.

At that point, Hobson said he was just glad to have a job as a working actor in theater or television.

“Never did I dream that this would be as big as it has gotten,” Hobson said. “There were whispers that someday we may eventually go on the road with the show, and now we are blown away with the reception we get.”

Ironically, Hobson is the only cast member who had to learn an instrument to be part of the show.

“I actually learned to play keyboard when I got the show,” he said. “It was difficult because after a long day’s work, I would spend one or two hours each night with my music teacher.”

Set to original pop songs, the half-hour series has a broad-based musical curriculum that includes vocabulary, music appreciation and emotional expression through singing and dancing.

Anyone familiar with the show knows the energy level is incredible.

The group brings to the stage the upbeat sounds that children enjoy on television.

“Maintaining that energy level is difficult,” Hobson said.

“My family continually tells people that I’m a lot less energetic in real life.”

Hobson said the tour is great because the band gets to meet the kids who love the show.

He never suspected that he would become a star in children’s programming.

The Fresh Beat Band has struck the right chord with the preschool set.

“When people recognize me on the street, it’s actually the parents who get more excited,” he said. “The children think I should be inside a television screen, not walking around.”

The Fresh Beat Band show is more of a concert than it is a television episode.

“For kids, we know that we probably are the first concert they have ever seen, so we have to give our best each time we go on the stage,” he said.

Now that the band has about 65 hits to its name, Hobson said each show includes two of the band’s most popular hits that kids expect to hear.

“Our first big hit was ‘Here We Go’ and people loved it,” Hobson said.

The other tyke favorite is “Great Day,” which concludes each television episode.

“My character is perceived as the most caring and practical of the four,” he said. “In a way, we each have become similar to our characters in real life.”

Tickets are $29.50, $34.50 and $39.50, plus fees.

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