The Imagination Movers in Kansas City: 2011
Meet Scott Durbin of The Imagination Movers
The Imagination Movers formed in 2002-2003. Three of the four movers have young children and were immersed in world of children’s programming, music, books, etc. They noticed a lack of live action television shows for kids now, with the absence of classic programs like Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo. They developed the concept for a live action kids' program encouraging creativity and imagination and problem solving.
One inspiration the concept came from Scott Durbin’s background teaching Elementary School for ten years. In the ten years, he saw a decrease every year in creative thought. Growing up, he remembered creative play like taking an ordinary stick and turning it into a baton to conduct crickets. As he was teaching, he noticed that form of creativity occurring less and less among his students.
The Imagination Movers is a band of four guys a teacher (Scott Durbin), fireman (Scott Smith), architect (Dave Poche), and a journalist (Rich Collins) who grew up in the same neighborhood in New Orleans. As adults, they all landed in the same neighborhood and “rediscovered” one another at their children’s birthday parties.
It was one of those birthday parties where the band really took hold. Scott Durbin’s son was a big fan of Lawrence Welk. You don’t see many Lawrence Welk kids’ parties, but his wife pulled if off for their 2 year old fan. As the kids enjoyed the music, bubbles, and dancing, Scott struck up a conversation with the other guys and started to share the idea for a collaborative group and live action show.
The Movers' motto, “Reach high, think big, work hard and have fun!” was truly put into action from start to finish. In 2002, they started pitching the idea to a local station in New Orleans. The local affiliate loved it, but they couldn’t afford the program. They Movers were undaunted, they started writing music and shows, and continued to fine tune the concept. When the local affiliate said it was out of budget, they helped them connect with Playhouse Disney, and now they're on the air every weekday morning nationally on one of America’s biggest kids’ networks.
The Imagination Movers live in New Orleans and Katrina impacted them all significantly. Three of the Movers lost everything in Katrina, but that didn’t hold them back. The Hurricane was a lesson not to be stuck in the moment. The Movers all had full-time jobs in addition to the band, and except for Smitty (a fireman), they each lost their jobs. Smitty, a fireman, was a first responder and he worked to help rescue Hurricane victims. At times, they didn’t know where he was or if he was safe for several days. One weekend after the Hurricane, they had a show in Dallas. Because of the Hurricane they’d lost their homes, instruments, office, and every material thing, but, the three rallied together (Smitty still working as a first responder) and they went to Dallas to perform despite it all.
They all still live in Louisiana, three in New Orleans, and Scott Durbin in Lafayette. The program is filmed in New Orleans with a local crew on a closed set, and they strive to maintain a normal “family life” and raise their families in the community they know as home.
Kansas City Parent Magazine was able to interview Scott Durbin recently and we asked questions submitted by Imagination Movers Fans:
KCP: What do you love most about performing?
Scott: We perform live with instruments, not recorded tracks. Kids see that they we play the instruments and create the music and hopefully that inspires them to explore music. The performance includes a narrative, Brainstorming and problem solving. We love teaching children to think critically and analyze situations.
KCP: Have you been to Kansas City before? If so, did you eat Bar-B-Q? What did you think of it?
Scott: 2010 was my first trip to KC. I love the sound of water, so I’m looking forward to the fountains and we’re planning to eat Bar-B- Q. What do you recommend?
KCP: Personally, I love Jack Stack Fiorella’s. They have a location near Union Station and one on the Plaza which isn’t too far from the Sprint Center. Be sure to visit the Plaza and see the fountains there. Your Kansas City Fans, the children who love your music, sent us questions and we’d like to ask a few. How did everyone choose the Jump Suits?
Scott: We bought the blue suits before the idea was fully formed, and they stuck. They give us a consistent look, we’re able to move around comfortably, and the kids like the bright colors, so they work well.
KCP: Do you have children?
Scott: Yes, I have an 8 year old son and 6 year old daughter. Dave has 2 (9 yr son, 7 daughter), Rich has 5 (from 10- 1). Scott Smith is married, but they don’t have children at this point.
KCP: What is your favorite Pizza?
Scott: The guys all love Pepperoni with Extra Cheese. It’s nice that we can order one pizza for the whole band.
KCP: What is your favorite Ice Cream?
Scott: My daughter recently asked the same question for a school assignment, so I’ll give the same answer here. I love Chocolate Ice Cream.
KCP: Any favorite New Orleans foods?
Scott: Crawfish Etouffee, Gumbo and Po’Boys are big ones!
KCP: Since you’re from New Orleans and the show is shot there, is there anything “New Orleans” about the show?
Scott: You’ll notice the Fleur de lis on the set and in the decor.
KCP: What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday?
Scott: I love family day. Maybe do some bike riding, swimming, grill burgers, play on the backyard swing set and then play board games with the family. Our family loves to play Trouble and Sorry.
KCP: What is your favorite Book?
Scott: My favorite book is “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli. I also love “ABCs Theologize.” I enjoy books about theology. I graduated from Seminary in Shreveport, was accepted at Duke’s Divinity School, but instead chose to go into teaching.
KCP: Do you have a favorite Song?
Scott: “Mover Music” is one of my faves because everybody enjoys singing and dancing to it. I really enjoy, “Butterfly” from Season 2. “I Want my Mommy” about sleeping through the night has a soft spot in my heart because it meant a lot to my children. The cast’s children inspire a lot of our music.
KCP: Thank you Scott for your time! We're excited to have The Imagination Movers performing in Kansas City and we hope the concert is a big success!