Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Soddy-Daisy Middle School Band will play to a new beat this fall. School band director Anthony Henderson is packing his bags to head to Europe to study folk music for 10 days this July as part of a Fund for Teachers Grant administered by the Public Education Foundation.
His grant for $5,000 will be used to further his music education to bring his findings to his classroom.
He said he chose to make the trek to Europe because European folk songs like “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” and “Skip to My Lou” need to be reintroduced to the classroom in an exciting way.
“Just what is a ‘lou’ and how does one skip to it?” Henderson wrote in his proposal to be chosen for the grant. “Even my beginning band can play the tune, but is that enough? This song has meaning, and the key to performing it correctly and making it meaningful and memorable for the student is knowing the lyrics and history behind it.”
He said folk songs are part of American and European heritage and should be passed on from generation to generation.
Since Henderson’s ancestors lived in Scotland and Ireland, that also helped peak his curiosity about studying music in Europe. Henderson already plays folk music using percussion instruments like his bodhran drum, and plans to study more while there. This is his first excursion to Europe.
“I want to make a connection with the settlers that came from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland,” said Henderson. “A lot of the songs we play were played there originally. Folk music has been passed down through oral tradition. There’s a misconception out there that ‘Go Tell Aunt Rhody’ and ‘Hot Cross Buns’ are folk songs just for kids, but that’s not the case.”
He will teach his students how to play folk songs this fall on their woodwinds, brass and percussion instruments. Through the grant, he will use funded equipment to record performances and interviews with performers to show in class when he returns.
“The whole trip will be really exciting,” said Henderson, who took the helm of SDMS Band in 2001. “I’m grateful to the Public Education Foundation for this opportunity. I will be visiting the Ely Folk Festival, the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth University, Welsh Folk Song Society, Prifysgol Bangor University’s School of Music and Bangor Pipe and Drum Competition.”
To learn more about Fund for Teachers visit www.fundforteachers.org. To learn more about the Public Education Foundation visit www.pefchattanooga.org.