Valerie Leonhart Smalkin
Ventriloquist, musician, composer, and performer Valerie Leonhart Smalkin was one of the writers, performers, and co-producers as well as the head puppeteer of the Emmy award winning television program It's Kindertime on Baltimore’s ABC affiliate WMAR-TV 2. Val’s CD, A Gentle Halloween, received a Parents’ Choice Fun Stuff award in 2015, and in 2016 her follow-up CD, Sing! Sing! Sing!...and Dance!, garnered a Parents’ Choice Approved award. Her current CD, Love Bug! received a Parents’ Choice Recommended award.
Her book Springtime Dance took gold in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in 2014. As a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council grant for solo nonclassical performance in 2015, and for solo theatre performance in 2016 and 2019, Val continues to perform and compose music designed for the two- to ten-year-old set. As a ventriloquist, Val performs for family and educational events in Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York City, California, Cap d’Antibes, France, and Brussels, Belgium. As a jazz chanteuse Val performs with the occasional puppet and the Silverback Jazz Quintet in Baltimore, Maryland.
Since 2017 Val has been the Co-President of The Children’s Music Network, made up of 360+ performers, teachers, librarians, music therapists, parents, and children from around the world who celebrate the positive power of music in the lives of children by sharing songs, exchanging ideas, and creating community.