Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots

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From humming Billy Joel in the backseat of his family car during childhood road trips, to performing on stages across Italy, music has stretched the length of Ben Tatar’s life. A devoted music educator, composer and performer, Tatar’s expertise ranges from early childhood music education to professional jazz and classical performance.

A multi-instrumentalist (among them, trombone, trumpet, tuba, piano, guitar, bass and vocals), Tatar has shared the stage with such performers as Maria Schneider, Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Ben Vereen, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Liebman, Bob Newhart, Phil Woods, and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. Tatar has also performed at local Chicago venues such as Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field, Joliet’s Rialto Square Theater, Grant Park’s Harris Theater, City Winery, Martyr’s, Schuba’s, Millennium Park, The Music Box Theater, The Double Door, and The Green Mill Lounge. He has also participated in Chicago’s Andersonville Midsommarfest, Milwaukee’s Third Ward Summer Sizzle, and Italy’s Umbria Jazz Festival. Ben also performs professionally across the Chicagoland area in several jazz and Top 40’s/wedding bands on trombone.

Tatar currently teaches elementary school general music to grades K-5 in Illinois School District 96 in Long Grove. His instruction has ranged from classes for children ages 0-2 as a Wiggleworms instructor for Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, to serving as a music director/emcee for a Chicago-based dance troupe. He frequently partners with such organizations as the Chicago JCC, JUF, Chicago Parent Magazine, The Chicago Botanic Gardens, and Chicago’s East Bank Club.

Tatar has composed several works for stage for elementary-aged students. His childrens’ musical for his third graders, titled “Angry Thirds” (music inspired by the mobile app Angry Birds), debuted in 2011, and an original rock opera called “Pick Me!” premiered in 2015. In 2017, he added an original musical called “Emojis!” that was performed by his 2nd graders.

In 2014, Ben launched his kids’ rock band, Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots. His first EP, “Food!” was released in June of 2014, with follow-up “Seconds” released in 2021. The Tots keep a busy schedule performing in all areas from Chicagoland park districts to street fests to private events. Over 50 musicians have been a part of Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots performances, shows driven by crowd engagement, humor and ‘something for every listener.’

In 2020, Tatar held weekly Facebook Live shows, a musical variety show featuring his collection of unusual instruments, fun songs to sing and dance at home, music history and elements of literacy and emotional response to music. He made an NPR list of recommended virtual programming for quarantined kids and families, as well as a feature on NBC5 News Chicago. He also added ‘Sidewalk Serenades’ to his resume, short public performances on sidewalks in front of houses to help quarantined families celebrate.

Ben Tatar holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education from the University of Kansas (c. ’01) and a Masters of Jazz Studies from DePaul University (c. ’05). He lives in the north suburbs of Chicago with his wife Ilene, and children Cameron and Everleigh.

Music by Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots

  • The Grape Jam feat. Spare Parts
Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots — The Grape Jam feat. Spare Parts
  • The Chocolate Milk Song feat. Spare Parts
Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots — The Chocolate Milk Song feat. Spare Parts
  • Back to the Buffet
Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots — Back to the Buffet
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