Since 1972, jazz masters and up-and-coming stars have flocked to the hallowed halls of Stanford University for its Jazz Workshop, an annual program that includes summer residencies, educational events, and the beloved Stanford Jazz Festival. For 31 years, the workshop has nurtured an appreciation of the form in listeners of all ages -- and that tradition now expands with a series of programs created especially for kids and families.
Saxophonist and SJW founder Jim Nadel cultivates a new generation of music lovers with "Early Bird Jazz," two free concerts that introduce children to America's indigenous style. (Kids 7 and under can attend today's 10:30 a.m. show; the 11:30 a.m. performance is suitable for 8- to 12-year-olds.) Some youngsters may already be fans without knowing it: "Cartoon Jazz: The Music of Raymond Scott," a concert featuring Jeff Sanford, showcases Scott's fantastical melodies, which have embellished the antics of animated characters like Ren & Stimpy and the Simpsons (11 a.m. on July 12; $5-12). Performances take place at Dinkelspiel Auditorium on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto. Call (650) 725-ARTS or visit www.stanfordjazz.org.
-- Lisa Hom
Known as the "thinking sport," orienteering gets participants combining hiking, compass-reading, and other navigation skills to follow a map through an arranged course. At the moment, it's more popular in Sweden than anywhere else, but given the number of smart outdoorsy types in the Bay Area, it's likely to get huge here as well. Today's "Orienteering for Families" workshop gives parents and kids a chance to practice the activity -- and a good reason to get out to a 100-acre park. The event starts at 10 a.m. at the Crissy Field Center, on the corner of Mason and Halleck streets in the Presidio. Admission is $10 per person; call 561-7752 to register or visit www.crissyfield.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Children are generally expected to be seen and not heard, but some kids should be listened to. The Golden Gate International Children's Choral Festival brings 300 of these tykes from nine of the world's best children's choirs together for four days of harmony and song.
By night, small sopranos, tiny tenors, and baby baritones from places as far-flung as Jakarta, Havana, and Vladivostok belt out the anthems of their native lands on six Bay Area stages. By day, they're the guests of East Bay families, who are expected to give them a firsthand look at American culture (hopefully sans Britney Spears). The event also includes several choirs from the good ol' U.S. of A. helping, musically, to bridge the gap between nations. The diminutive divas take the stage beginning Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Latter-Day Saints Auditorium, 4780 Lincoln Ave. (near Lincoln Way), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 642-9988 for other show times or visit www.piedmontchoirs.org.
-- Jack Karp