A dynamic pop trio, Parachute Express was the first children's group to get real exposure through a non-broadcast medium. The group's original songs and upbeat tempos set the stage for the Gymboree preschool classes, and made Donny Becker, Janice Hubbard, and Stephen Michael Schwartz very well-known long before they began marketing their songs.
Donny Becker graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz and became a co-director of a Montessori school there. He and his wife, Adrian, became owners of a Gymboree franchise and began building that business. But Becker found that the Gymboree preschool gym classes lacked an important element -- music. With his close friends Stephen Michael Schwartz and Janice Hubbard, Becker formed Parachute Express. The group's music became an essential part of every Gymboree class in the nation.
Parachute Express began marketing their music through the Gymboree classes and, later, through the Gymboree retail outlets. Their first release, Feel the Music, was snapped up, as were several that followed. The group was named one of 1990's "Superstars of Children's Music."
In 1991, Parachute Express signed on as featured artists in Walt Disney Records' ill-fated "Music Box Series." The group produced Happy to Be Here and began touring across the country. Their song "Polka Dots, Checks, and Stripes" was made into a highly successful short video, and garnered a coveted spot on Nickelodeon's Nick Junior Rocks.
In 1995, Parachute Express formed their own record company, and returned to their primary form of marketing on the Gymboree retail shelves. They released Who's Got a Hug, filled with original, active songs such as "Too Happy to Sit" and "Jump in the Middle." In a span of a few short years, Gymboree catered to an entirely new preschool audience, and Parachute Express gained a new audience as well. ~ P.J. Swift