ABOUT

Maria Elizabeth Del Rey Founder of ChildGood Films

Reading Time 10 minutes:

We have been dedicated to creating meaningful and beautiful LatinX family media since1989. We began as bilingual children's music, edutainment, and live performing arts event producers. Today we create live-action family films and animation. Our creative works humanize and deepen positive LatinX perspectives to close the racism gap found in our society today. We offer authentic, relevant, and socially empowered LatinX stories for the global children's and family marketplace. (483 characters)

How do we do this? Social justice action and social-emotional solutions are woven into our work's creative fabric to reflect what children experience in their inner daily lives. We imbue our stories creatively, with age-appropriate positive outcome scenarios based on empirical university studies on positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, and brain science discoveries from UCLA. We are a facts-based, non-religious, positive, and forward-thinking production company.

Our work has positively impacted millions of children with our live national tours, bringing a positive light to LatinX children to show the world an empowered, culturally rich view of Latin America's diversity and value.

ORIGIN STORY

Sometimes biographies can be quite impersonal even a bit haughty, but my intent here is to tell you the 'why' behind my career that is dedicated to family films.

CONCERT CELLIST

I enjoyed a meaningful childhood in Miami Beach as one of those geeky girls that wore ugly leather brown correctional boots to walk straight and always carried around a cello everywhere I went. We lived in a small but clean tenement apartment with no privacy, with the four of us crammed in 400 square feet. My solitude and deep inspiration were communing daily in my beloved sea. Even though we were 'poor,' I was surrounded by happy, vibrant people. I literally had no idea I was poor until I was 14 when a snooty kid from North Miami Beach told me she could not hang out with me because I was inferior to her. Huh? I radiated and glowed with the beauty of the sea and the majesty of the cello, inferior to what, I wonder?

I was lucky to have amazing music and social justice mentors as a child. They helped me become a concert cellist in unison with a social justice message. My mentors showed me the best version of what was possible for me as a human being. Social justice was the meaning and fuel cell I was entitled to. That is quite the inspiration that, to this day, burns as bright as ever. I was able to trust them because they trusted me. By 18, I was awarded a full-ride college scholarship, a Silver Knight Award by the Miami Herald, and an education that led to playing with the Miami Philharmonic for half a season and the Detroit Civic Orchestra all by the age of 21. I have always loved modern chamber music and started performing works from Latin American composers like Villa Lobos, with my own string quartet. Then, bam, about fifteen-minutes into my first recording session, I realized I was 'home' in the glorious recording studio environment, a sacred place of all possibility. I knew I needed to re-set my sights to become a recording artist and a producer. While there is nothing quite as amazing as being on stage with the resonant majesty of playing Stravinsky's Rite of Spring with a major orchestra, my destiny lived in the creation of new works.

PRODUCER

I had a packing party the night before my one-way trip from Miami to Los Angeles, we threw everything in a big cardboard box, and it arrived on the conveyor belt at LAX wet, and in a million pieces, ha, I looked to the others waiting for their luggage, whose stuff is that? Yikes! I arrived alone in Los Angeles that day with $500 in my purse and my own good company. We are born and die alone and, in my case, move to an unknown city alone, yet I remember feeling serene and confident. It was the last day of the Summer Olympics, the first day of the rest of my life. Los Angeles is most beloved to me despite the fires and earthquakes. Many great artists live there, and I love the 'anything is possible' attitude,

I soon found out that being bilingual with the ability to read music, sing, play the cello, organize contracts, and produce a session was an excellent thing in Los Angeles. I was trusted by a 'groovy' clientele of producers to produce the Spanish versions of their American language music, edutainment, TV, film work, and advertising. My job was to create a 'transcreation' of the work, a true communication of the spirit, meaning, and tone needed to communicate truth—the early translations by other companies lacked nuance. Soon I had over 350 plus national commercials running, and my happy little empire had begun. Curious, however, while some women experience a glass ceiling in one direction, the glass walls were all around me as a Hispanic woman in a world that was 99.9% male-dominated. Subservient roles as a Latina were seen on TV and in real life, yet people couldn't figure me out. I stood joyful, powerfully, inspired, self-made, a LatinX female Unicorn of sorts.

It craved the unchartered territory where the honor of beautiful work would stand on its own merit without impossible gate keepers only letting in the men. For me, it was time to go indie! At first, I found myself walking down the lonely road of 'empowered' entrepreneurial Latina. During that first fundraising period, people would get angry because you're not making them tortillas, cleaning toilets, or being a scandalous vamp. Who the heck do you think you are anyway? Don't you know your place? The lack of being actually 'seen' as valuable is still a big problem for our new LatinX generations. Most media perpetrates these tropes of disempowerment of giving charity to Hispanics. If you do attain success, I have seen the scenario of privileged dominant culture people sabotaging or gaslighting falsehoods to keep that diminished thinking about LatinX culture alive.

LATIN GRAMMY AWARD

Ah, but then, yes, friends, like all deeper stories, I fell in love with James Schaller CMP, a certified music practitioner, and composer. The love of my life even today, 35 years later. As best friends, we began a truly artistic route together in our lives, creating music with meaning. We walked away from life in Los Angeles; we had a baby boy and moved to Ojai, CA, in a tiny little cottage built for three.

That cozy life experience led to the space to write and produce Lullabies of Latin America that won a Latin Grammy-Award Nomination and Parent's Choice Gold Award as a bilingual recording artist. It was a perilous thing to follow one's dreams with zero assurance that I would have any backup or support as a Latina producer with such deep machismo in my culture. But alas, it was the millions of Latina mothers and fathers that craved to see themselves reflected in beautiful music about 'our' culture that made my first career dream come true. I sold music directly to the multimillion parents in the Americas.

NATIONAL PERFORMING ARTS TOURS

We were indie artists before 'indie' was a thing mostly out of necessity. We first sold our music at gift shows, and after our shows, we learned that scary words like 'monetization and art' could happily belong in the same sentence, and before we knew it, we had hundreds of stores carrying and selling out of our music. We literally could not keep enough albums(remember those?) in stock. One day we got a call from the Time Warner group, and soon we expanded to 5000 stores plus international sales. We sold out most 'end caps' in Virgin Mega Stores across the nation (remember record stores?) Ha, thus, I began a happy chapter as a children's recording artist and record producer. I started to produce for other companies like Hampton Brown and many more over those years.

Then we started the live shows. Yup, we went from modest library concerts of 20 kids and their super moms to selling out 2000+ seat performing venues 3X times a week in many cities to make way for the tremendous response to our work championing the LatinX voice.

We toured and headlined in performing arts venues across the nation with our Bridge-El Puente tour. We hit a nerve in the nation where LatinX families wanted to see their culture reflected with honor and have their children know they are valuable and visible in a positive manner.

It was not all roses and churros; yes, the bully threats were real in most cities. Our show experienced sabotage on various levels, but we took it in stride that we were actually doing our job correctly. The show went on anyway. I knew I had a strong voice and my trusty guitar. If the fancy multimedia film, the music amps, and all manner of the show biz element went dark, I could still stand proudly on the stage singing in full-hearted volume to the gorgeous children of our nation to be the very best human version of myself.

We saw the heart of this amazing diverse nation from an exceptional vantage view from the stage. We created impact residencies and studied LatinX cultures in their many forms across the Americas. We brought a beautiful, unique show to millions of children for many wonderful years, showing a rich and empowered view of the LatinX culture with an authentic voice of cultural celebration.

No one gave us 'permission' to do this, no magic wand to say 'go forth, young woman. We decided there was a great need to elevate Latinx children to see themselves in a positive light, especially in front of their peers.

Our tours were self-funded and produced by LatinX goodwill and strong determination. Despite having a distribution deal with Warner, we needed to self-invested each year because, as every well knows, record companies are quite unreliable with the artist's money, so it was up to us to make our dream come true. Each year we would perform at better venues and reach more children as a labor of love because we were stewards of the extraordinary time allotted to us.

 

UNITED NATIONS

During the BEP years (The Bridge El Puente), we received lofty invitations from The Women's Commission to be a Pennsylvania State Role Model to participate as one of fifty women of color who were role models for at-risk girls. I was delighted to meet wonderful people like Jane Goodall when I was invited to represent the 'Children of the Americas' at the United Nations Global Peace Initiative for Women in Geneva, Switzerland.

GOODWILL AMBASSADOR

The Pennsylvania Commission for Women, in partnership with The Smithsonian Institute, created a traveling exhibit to reach at-risk African-American and Hispanic girls to inspire young girls. All the role models were once girls from modest and poverty-stricken backgrounds that decided to become successful women despite difficult odds, prejudices, and the many life challenges. My portrait was one of the esteemed company of fifty women that hung in this exhibit. It was an amazing moment to stand at the Heinz Museum in Pittsburgh in such a glorious company of women. Myself having started with humble, Cuban refugee origins. The exhibit started at the John Heinz Smithsonian Museum in Pittsburg 2008, which then moved to the Harrisburg State Museum in 2009, and then to its final home in Philadelphia in 2010. 

PUBLISHER OF CHILDGOOD MAGAZINE

So the kid goes off the college, and as an empty nester parent with a mountain of socio-emotional research, I was filled with data, data, data that I had to share. I decided to develop a magazine app and make my own international magazine; from 2012 to 2016. I became the founder and publisher of ChildGood Magazine, The Journal for Creative Families. The magazine grew to reach readers in 49 countries. The magazine was consistently listed in the Top 10 for best family magazines globally on Apple Newstand's 'What's Hot List' for over 170-weeks. When Newsstand closed up its platform with only a few weeks' notice, I realized dependency on one platform was not a good idea; I relaxed with gratitude to have done the magazine work and readied myself for the next chapter, films. 

 STUDIO MIREY

Now Studio Mirey (animation) and ChildGood Film (docs) bring together three decades of our award-winning success to children's film and TV. I have lovingly been producing content for children since 1989 in the form of music albums, national multimedia concert tours, community social impact campaigns, magazine publishing, online sales, educational book publishing, and advertising campaigns.

It's time now to reach children on a global scale with the experience, love, and acumen of understanding to bring a nuanced heart to LatinX children's programming with the depth it deserves. A lifelong love of fabric arts, social justice inspired messaging, and music that matters to children create the foundation and inner architecture of our next steps. We are positioned to champion award-winning LatinX inspired animation music and films for children and their families.

 

Today I am jet-fueled in the next installation of my career with a level of responsibility and focus on transforming our films to show children and families an elegant, social-emotional reason to be strong and happy. Why does prejudice exist in the first place? Why has our LatinX history been so tumultuous and continues to be splintered? What keeps occurring to us as a Latin community to divide and discourage us? I was eager to research and find out why, because pretty songs only go so far.

 

Having stood with at-risk girls, community centers, glorious concert halls, migrant worker camps, and universities brings a unique perspective to the issues we face in the Americas. I have experienced the real LatinX experience across America. 

 

Our work is now bringing this data into art. After this time of scientific research and philosophical education, I emerge now producing what I consider the best work of my life through films imbued with valuable hard-earned data to help our LatinX communities unify common goals to elevate the united cultures of the Americas.

In these unsure and turbulent times, we offer the very best of the human spirit for you to thrive,

Maria Elizabeth Del Rey

Founder

ChildGood Films 

Studio Mirey Animation

 "Maria Del Rey is the real thing!" 
Los Angeles Times

 

"Del Rey delivers...She is a stellar talent." 
Amazon.com

 

"For those of us that are privileged to know a little more about her (Maria Del Rey), she is also a well-organized producing, writing, and marketing machine. Most important of all, she is a warm ray of sunshine in any room she enters."

Jim Shaw Producer Songwriter 
Buck Owens, Ringo Starr, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood


"Maria is an extraordinary multi-dimensional woman, mother, performer, chief visionary officer, and strategic planner." 

New Paradigm Digest Founder 

 

"As the executive editor of Living Language, a division of Random House, Inc. which focuses on producing and publishing text and audio materials for language learners. "I've had ample opportunity to work with Maria Del Rey. Maria's professionalism, her ever-present enthusiasm for her work, her sensitivity for our specific needs, and her impeccable style make it a pleasure to do business with her. Maria never hesitates to go the extra mile to please her customers, and therefore I do not doubt that she will succeed in any endeavor she may embark upon."

Helga Schier Ph.D. - Executive Editor, Living Language, Random House

 

" Congratulations on your extraordinary achievements. Your presence in this book and your legacy as a role model for young girls will help to assure a future filled with impressive women leaders throughout the commonwealth."

Leslie Stiles, Former Director, The Pennsylvania Commission for Women 

 

"Maria Del Rey underscores the notion that beautiful music knows no language barrier!"

Publishers Weekly

 

"Maria Del Rey's Universe of Song - In which we find the millennium bringing us kids songs in English and Spanish as the urban dweller gets to give their kids a head start on interacting in the real world.  Expertly presented by Maria Del Rey, Kids like to have fun in any language, and this is a sweet reflection of it."

Mid West Record Recap

"Here is a music production that is truly an important work for any collector; Lullabies of Latin America by Maria Del Rey sang in both Spanish and English with 28 titles in total." (Translated from the Spanish article)

Luis Felipe Marsans Diario de las Americas

 

"Maria Del Rey's Lullabies of Latin America is a perfect beginning for a whole new generation of bilingual babies."

Booklist

 

"Recommended as one of the top three gifts for Mother's Day."

The Miami Herald

 

"Music that you and your baby will adore."

Shape Fit Pregnancy

 

"I believe Maria Del Rey has the drive, vision, and products to do very well as an entrepreneur. Her spirited energy and her creativity serve and inspire her and her colleagues. I am glad that I had an early opportunity to invest in her, and I wish her well."

Sara Miller McClune Publishing Executive and Philanthropist

 

"We are fortunate to have talented, visionaries like Maria Del Rey, creating real magic in the media. She makes such a difference in the lives of our children, our communities, and our world." 

A. Towbes

 

"When I evaluate an investment, I begin with the people. Having known Maria for some years before investing, I have repeatedly observed her ability to manifest her goals. She understands all aspects of her projects and repeatedly brings them to fruition. In addition to her integrity, she can create win/wins that are extraordinary."

P. Spellman 

 "Maria is an extraordinary multi-dimensional woman, mother, performer, chief visionary officer, and strategic planner. At one point in her career, I invested in a CD and was delighted to receive a nice return on my investment. Since then, Maria has impressed me with her vision and actions, and I would suggest to anyone considering funding or working with Maria to move ahead. Only good can come from an association with Maria."

J. Hutner

 

"The performances ignited the imaginations of our students and family audiences as they traveled through Latin America with Maria and her beautiful songs, dances, and music as their guide. Our audiences were thrilled with Maria's warmth, energy, interaction, and memorable music."
Jason Holland Education Department Manager
Orange County Performing Arts Center

 

"That was a most delightful morning. I can tell from your reviews, accolades, awards, and such that you do not lack from pats on the back, but I'm going to give you another one anyway.  You deserve, have earned, each scintilla of praise you receive.  Not only was I impressed with your obvious talent, but also with your knowledge and study of the many interwoven aspects you cover (music, teaching, children, multiple languages and cultures, interpersonal communication) and your ability to not only know communicate eloquently and with ease on such a breadth of topics but to embody them in the whole of your presentation.  You spoke of empowering and nurturing, and this you did for everyone at every age and intellectual level, which was there in attendance.  You are a shining example of all you profess.  It was, in short, delightful.  On behalf of all those in attendance and from all six campuses, my sincerest thanks."

Royston Thomas Associate Dean - Special Projects Los Angeles Community Colleges /CREATE LA

 

"Maria Del Rey was a joy to have in the state of Nebraska.  She is a professional producer and vibrant personality that brought many different towns and communities together to celebrate through music and stories.  Her time in Nebraska, especially for the children she inspired, will never be forgotten." (15-concert Nebraska state ambassadorial concert and school residency tour)
Laura Kendall - Assistant Director of Community Engagement and Learning
Lied Center for Performing Arts

 

"The spirit of this work is of the highest quality. I recommend your work as an excellent way to immerse new and advanced students of Spanish in a poetic musical work of great clarity and purity.  Well done!"

Robert Arce, professor of Spanish, Ventura College (CA)

 

"This creative recording is the most beautiful children's music. It is magical, loving, nurturing, comfortable, adoring.  This is what children will thrive upon, a cultural recipe that is better than chicken soup, holiday bread, tamales, or Yorkshire pudding."

Ingrid Elkin, Director, Four Winds School in Ojai CA

 

"The lullabies in this series are very traditional, and as I listened to them, I was reminded of the times I heard my grandmother singing them to my younger brother.  Needless to say, she probably sang them to me as well.  The lullabies were wonderful to listen to since I had long lost the lyrics, and only the melodies remained."

Margarita Gonzalez-Jenson - Arizona State University West, Phoenix, Multicultural Review

 

"Lullabies of Latin America has fast become one of our favorite titles."

New York Public Library

 

"Lullabies of Latin America is a musical gem! The musical arrangement, combined with Maria's melodic voice makes each song unique and special.  The songs conjure colorful images of love, spirituality, freedom, and nature.  Some are whimsical and fun.  Lullabies, whether sung or spoken, will always connect mother, child, and the earth."

Fran Schmidt, Founder of the Peace Foundation, Educator.

 

"My daughter has had a most positive experience with the Spanish culture after seeing Maria Del Rey perform at her school.  Maria Del Rey's joy, vivacity, and personality are so refreshing to kids learning Spanish.  Thank you for creating such a pleasant exposure to the Spanish culture to which any child can relate."

S. Baldwin, Parent

 

"If you're looking for music that will not only soothe your little ones but also calm your nerves, pick up Maria Del Rey's latest.  Del Rey incorporates many vivid yet tranquil images on her album of Latin American poems and lullabies, recorded in Spanish and English. The recitations are as enjoyable as the songs."

Rhythm-World Music and Global Culture

 

"Maria Del Rey has a voice that is both clear and colorful with the beauty and soul of the song."

Oakland Press

 

"Lullabies of Latin America honors and celebrates the beauty and soul of the countries of Latin America.  This is an enchanting assortment of music that has and will forever be the main connection through generations to come."

Latin Style Magazine

 

"My children are listening to your new CD.  One called down to tell us how beautiful Maria is (the music).  Each night when I put her to bed, she still tells me to "turn Maria on." It is so beautiful to be a part of distributing music as vibrant and stunning as yours."

Record Executive at Rounder Kids

 

Maria Del Rey was chosen personally by film director Ridley Scott to represent the face of Latin America for a Bank of England project.

Ridley Scott - Director

 

 In 2002, Hampton - Brown, a publisher of educational materials for bilingual and ESL students, asked Maria Del Rey to contribute to its new Elementary ESL program. What began as an ordinary project became an extraordinary collaboration between a sparkling talent and a demanding industry. Maria's unflagging energy and commitment to the project resulted in a product that exceeded expectations. Her songs and recordings transcend their educational purpose, bringing joy as well as learning into the classroom.  It would be enough that Maria's creative talent soars above the ordinary that it is as infectious as one of her Latin rhythms, but it exceeds even that.  Working with Maria is like opening a surprise package filled with delights. She enriches the imagination and the heart. She is the song she sings. 

Shirley Ann Costigan, Hampton Brown Publisher

 

Latin Grammy Award, Nomination, Best Children's Recording in The Americas

Miami Herald, The Order of the Silver Knight

Pennsylvania Commission for Women, Hispanic Role Model

YWCA Racial Justice Award - Voices Role Model Book

Parents Choice, Gold Award Lullabies of Latin America

Parents Choice, Silver Honor- Universe of Song

Parents Choice, Honor Award - Peanut Man

Ben Franklin Award- Publishing Marketers - Family Circus

NAPPA Award, Gold Award for Lullabies of Latin America

Rotary International, Living Treasure Award

Parents Choice, The Peanut Man

Carnegie Centennial Award, Harlem Residency program

Parents Council Selection, Lyric Language

United Nations Geneva, Switzerland Delegate performer representing the Children of the Americas.

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