Des Plaines teen, Kidz Bop, hit the summer concert circuit
Steffan Argus thought the highlight of summer break would be camp, a two-week stay at a friend's Indiana cottage and the all-important season pass to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee.
Then came the news there'd been a change of plans.
Later this month, the Des Plaines teen and the rest of the Kidz Bop crew will live out some pop star dreams, kicking off a 22-city national concert tour that includes an Aug. 1 stop at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.
"The tour, I'm sure, is going to be exciting with a bunch of great people and great experiences," Steffan said. "I can't wait."
For more than a year now, Steffan, 13, has been part of the latest quintet of Kidz Bop members to co-star in compilation albums, music videos and commercials. Kidz Bop, as most parents and older siblings know, features child musicians singing contemporary pop songs edited to change any negative or adult content.
Kidz Bop 22 — the 21 previous albums have sold 12 million copies, to date — will debut July 17 to more fanfare than ever before as a new toy line, weekly satellite radio show and social networking have helped make the brand a household name.
The "It's All About Music" tour, which runs July 27 to Sept. 2, will feature the Kidz Bop Kids as special guests to 11-year-old Ethan Bortnick, who has headlined more than 100 shows worldwide and shared the stage with the likes of Beyoncé, Reba McEntire and Natalie Cole.
Kidz Bop spokeswoman Amanda Andrews said they'll play in venues seating between 800 and 2,000 people from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.
Steffan said he's most excited about performing at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at New York City's Lincoln Center, and staying at a hotel in the heart of Times Square.
"I've been there once before and it's crazy awesome," Steffan said.
Steffan's also looking forward to finding out what he'll sing for his solo performance, which will no doubt include him playing the guitar or ukulele. He's hoping one of his favorites, "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele, will be incorporated into the show.
Steffan leaves Thursday for a few weeks of rehearsals in Dallas. Then he'll get used to life on the tour bus, where he plans on writing music and beating at least one PlayStation 3 game with bandmate Elijah J.
Mom Dina Argus and a full-time tutor will be among the many chaperones, but nothing can temper Steffan's excitement.
"This is one of the greatest feelings," Steffan said.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit kidzbop.com.
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