Big music for little hearts.
This is the slogan on Julie Walker’s website.
Walker, 38, of Peoria sings children’s songs and has different family shows she performs. One of these shows is coming to East Peoria Feb. 16 at the Embassy Suites Ballroom.
The show is called “A Sunny Day” Jamboree with Julie K, a benefit for The Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
This is the third year for the show, which sold out last year. Walker said three years ago she approached The Children’s Hospital with the idea for the show.
“I have the children’s albums. I thought it would be a perfect fit,” Walker said. “This is something you can actually do with your children ... and give back to the community.”
Walker graduated from Manual High School. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in vocal performance from Rollins College in Florida. Her love of music began at the age of 3 when she would sing around the house. By the age of 5, she was arranging backyard shows. Growing up, she was involved in community theater and show choir growing up.
As an adult, Walker, who goes by the stage name of Julie K, wanted to put out a music CD and had been thinking about it for a while. She was then motivated by a message at her church.
“I always wanted to make a CD and never did. It was on the bucket list. I thought, ‘You know what I am going to do that CD so I don’t have any regrets,’” Walker said.
She recorded her first CD, A Sunny Day, in 2009. Animal Party was released in 2010. Her third CD, Family Love, came out in 2012 and a fourth CD is in the works. Songs on her latest CD include “Let’s Celebrate,” “Groovy Grandma & Grandpa” and “Freeze Fun.”
A portion of the sales from the CD Animal Party goes to The Children’s Hospital. Walker said her connection with the hospital is due to friends who utilize it.
“I have an 8-year-old son now. We were very blessed. ... He’s very healthy. I have a lot of experiences with friends who have had to use the Children’s Hospital,” she said.
In addition to recording CDs and performing for families, Walker operates Music Together on Water Street in Peoria. The business offers music classes where participants sing, play, laugh and dance.
Walker has developed a following with her shows. Her average fans are 10 and under.
“It’s a fun little following to see people come back again to different shows,” Walker said. “It’s a fun way for parents and grandparents to connect with their children, especially for those using the Children’s Hospital, it’s a nice break for them ... to take away their worries for an hour or two.”
Page 2 of 2 - Wendy Mitchell, director of the annual fund of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, agreed.
Ten patients from the Children’s Hospital will participate in the fashion show.
“Julie’s amazing. Her message is wonderful. She really make an impact with children and it really ties in with our mission,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said in the previous two years, Walker raised $77,000 for the Children’s Hospital.
This year the funds will be used for the pediatric critical care unit at the hospital.
“It’s the area with the most critical care patients,” Mitchell said.
In addition to the Sunny Day Jamboree, Walker’s other shows include an annual Noon Year’s Eve show at Five Points in Washington, which sold out this year. She also performs at smaller events, such as libraries and churches.
“Between the two, I’m pretty busy teaching and singing,” Walker said.
Despite being busy, Walker says she has a dream job making children and families happy using her talents.
As if she isn’t busy enough, Walker is also getting ready to create a Julie K YouTube music channel.
The Sunny Day event in East Peoria starts at 11 a.m. and will last for about two hours. The show includes a lunch and fashion show.
Walker describes her concerts as having a lot of interaction with the kids. Concerts have included bubbles, balloons, puppets and more.
“The concerts are very high energy and I can get them moving and grooving. We’ve been doing this for a while and we definitely know the attention span of the little ones,” Walker said.
Tickets are $35 for an adult and $15 for a child. The price includes the lunch and show. To purchase tickets, call 566-5666. For more information, visit www.juliekmusic.com.