“Sesame Street” has Don Music (or at least it did until his fondness for banging his head against the piano keys raised the ire of parents), and “The Muppet Show” had Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem band.

On Saturday, the Mark Tipton Quartet will channel this Muppety goodness and perform beloved tunes from both television shows.

First, the quartet puts on a 2 p.m. show geared toward children. There will be plenty of space for little ones to dance and move around, and all the music will be accompanied by vocals. The songs will be shorter at this matinee performance, but there will be more of them (roughly 20) than at the evening show (about 12).

The nighttime performance is designed for a more sophisticated audience, and will feature additional instrumental pieces along with improvisational jazz riffs.

Both performances take place at Mayo Street Arts in Portland.

“Just about all the songs will have vocals,” said band leader Tipton, who plays trumpet. “A few of them, the melodies will carry the song along parasitically at the night show, although I expect the audience will sing along anyways.”


While the afternoon show will bring out “Sesame Street” favorites such as “C is for Cookie,” “These are the People in Your Neighborhood,” “Rubber Duckie” and “Bein’ Green,” the evening show will explore “hard-hitting Muppets classics” such as “Mah-na, Mah-na,” “Happiness Hotel” and “The Rainbow Connection.” A projector will splash images of the Muppets on a wall while the music plays.

In addition to Tipton, the quartet is composed of Jesse Feinberg on piano, Joshua DeScherer on bass and Gary Gemmiti on drums.

Tipton, who teaches music at Colby College, the University of Southern Maine and the Portland Conservatory of Music, also performs in the Colby Symphony Orchestra and directs the Colby Brass Ensemble and the Les Sorciers Perdus Chamber Ensemble.

With degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and Mannes College, Tipton possesses a lofty musical pedigree. But he also likes a catchy tune just as much as the next guy.

“The songs are all quite simple,” he said. “Which is something I like — doing music that is sing-able and easy to play. When we improvise over it, we can take the ideas and the melody and expand them.”

Tipton compares the “Muppet Show” house band to the Grateful Dead, but said his favorite song comes from Kermit the Frog.


“The one that keeps coming back and has great harmony in it is ‘Bein Green,’ ” Tipton said. “It’s just a really well-written song.”

However, don’t expect any of the musicians to break out a Kermit impression for this song.

“I think we’ll probably let Kermit speak for himself and just do it straight,” Tipton said.


Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at akamila@pressherald.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila


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