"I don't want kids to feel burdened. I want kids to be kids."

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thursday night’s annual Minnesota 9/11 tribute concert at the Lake Harriet Bandshell is a time for reflection and solemn music. But this year there’s an added twist.

The Teddy Bear Band plays its fun and participatory music for kids for the first time ever at the 9-11 concert. Manager, singer and bass guitarist Richard Erickson says they aren’t changing their upbeat act.

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“I don’t want kids to feel burdened, I want kids to be kids,” Erickson said. “If they attend an event like this, and they get a whole sense of what it’s about, and then there’s something there specifically for them, it keeps them interested because there’s something in it for them.”

Erickson says the function of the Teddy Bear Band, which has been performing for nearly 30 years, is to have something joyful and fun in their short 15-minute set.

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“And to celebrate something that doesn’t happen in every country, which is music for young kids and families,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to find that in Iraq or Syria.”

The Teddy Bear Band has performed in military appreciation events, helping to celebrate and respect the military and the country. If their set tonight was scheduled to last longer, Erickson says the band might include have a message about the significance of this day. But it’s going to be short and sweet, giving children something to connect with in an otherwise somber event.

“We have the ability to be solemn,” he said. “But that’s not our function. There will be plenty of that.”

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This is the 13th consecutive year the 9/11 memorial concert has taken place at Lake Harriet. Here’s a look at last year’s concert.