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The Fresh Beat Band's Tara Perry opens up

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

From pageants to Marina

You might know Tara Perry as Marina, the drummer from Nick Jr.'s hit show the Fresh Beat Band. But what you probably don't know is that Perry always wanted to be in show business — and moved to L.A. on her own at 19 to follow her dreams.

Nickelodeon’s Fresh Beat Band took audiences by surprise when it premiered in August 2009 on Nick Jr., delivering a fun, wholesome show that kids love — and parents don’t mind watching either. Usually. It's filled with upbeat songs and good, positive messages for young viewers.

The band is now on tour, performing live all around the United States and Canada. SheKnows recently caught up with Tara Perry, the actress who plays Marina on the Fresh Beat Band and she opened up about why she loves it, her pageant days and the tragedy that her hometown lived through.

Being a Fresh Beat

On the show, Perry's character Marina is the band’s drummer and the one who usually brings everyone back together. In real life though, Perry says sometimes she needs to be reined in some. But she does share some qualities with her character. “I think I am definitely goofy and very excited a lot. A lot of that excitement is not acting, it’s just me being excited that I get to do what I love with my life and it’s kind of incredible,” says Perry.

Perry also really does play the drums — and has been playing since she was about 11. “I asked for a drum set for Christmas after talking to my dad,” Perry says. Her dad admitted to always having wanted to play the drums, so that spurred her to try them. She took lessons for a few years as well. “I thought it was a cool thing at the bottom of my resume in my special skills section,” says Perry, who admits that she never expected to play professionally.

When the opportunity to audition for the Fresh Beat Band arose, it was a serendipitous thing that Perry fit Marina's skill set perfectly as an actress who could sing, dance and play drums. “Finally I get to use that special skill,” she laughs.

Filming the show

When the Fresh Beats are filming their show, it’s an intense schedule with rehearsals on Monday through Wednesday, long days of shooting on Thursday and Friday and recording songs on Saturday. They do many takes of each scene to capture different angles and actions. And at the end of the day? They film the song and dance numbers.

And in case you were wondering — they don’t always re-film the “It’s a Great Day,” sequence. “About half of the episodes we do the ‘Great Day’ dance so we can get it in our fancy outfits,” says Perry.

New CD coming out

The Fresh Beat Band has their second CD coming out on October 9. The Fresh Beat Band: More Music from the Hit TV Show Vol 2.0 will include 20 tracks — including some kid-friendly pop song covers.

As for the transformation from Tara to Marina? It takes about an hour in hair and makeup, which she says flies by now.

Frest Beat last filmed episodes in summer 2011, but they are currently on another adventure together — touring as a band.

This, she says, has brought the cast even closer together. “You live on a bus with all your coworkers. We were all friends because we worked on the show but now we’re family,” says Perry. She misses her home, family and own bed — but she says that being able to see the kids react is worth it.

“On the show we film on a closed set. It’s us and a bunch of adults, so we really do feel kind of silly,” says Perry. “Getting to see the kids spinning around in circles and jumping up and down — it’s pretty awesome.”

Next: On being role models and how Perry followed her dream

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