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Area students celebrate Kindness Week with music

SOLWAY -- With positive lyrics and upbeat tunes, Red Grammer is spreading the message of kindness to area students this week.

"Kindness -- it's a really sweet thing," Grammer told students at a concert Monday at Solway Elementary School.

The award-winning singer and songwriter from southern California is presenting a series of concerts throughout the area as part of Kindness Week and MeritCare's Celebrate Kindness campaign. His stops include schools in Bemidji, Bagley, Bena, Blackduck, Cass Lake, Clearbrook, Solway and Walker.

At Solway Elementary School, he taught students many of his songs, including one titled "Kindness." The song is on his newest album, "BeBop Your Best," which was nominated for a 2005 Grammy Award for "Best Musical Recording for Children."

"You know it's really nothing new," Grammer sang. "Kindness starts with me and you -- the little things we say and do. It all adds up to kindness."

In another song, "Digging For Diamonds," he highlighted the gifts people bring into the world. He told the students in Solway that all people are given gifts when they are born.

"Your job is to figure out what they are," Grammer said.

One of the greatest acts of kindness someone can give is to let someone else feel comfortable enough to discover and share his or her gifts, he said.

While performing some of his songs, including "Hello World," Grammer taught the students to sign the lyrics using American Sign Language. Other tunes spoke of diversity, including "Buono Appetito," a song about foods from around the world.

"I love to talk about the diversity of things ... and how much fun it is," he said.

Grammer has experienced diversity while traveling around the world to share his music. During one of his songs, he taught the students in Solway how to say "hello" in languages including Spanish, Swahili, French, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Russian, Ojibwe and Korean.

"My wife Kathy and I write most of these songs," he said.

Described by Parent's Magazine as "the best voice in children's music," Grammer has been featured on Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, the Today Show and CBS This Morning and is the winner of numerous Parents' Choice Awards.

Grammer said he hopes to inspire people to look at others and see in them "what's really, truly wonderful and beautiful."

The Celebrate Kindness campaign highlights all the good things that can come from treating others with dignity, respect, care, love and concern, said Warren Larson, coordinator of the local Celebrate Kindness campaign.

"Kindness is a choice we make about how we want to treat others," Larson said.

"I love what Kindness Week is, what it represents," Grammer said.