A description of the concert program and workshop options
• 1. What was musical entertainment like in George Washington’s day?
Lively dance tunes, popular songs, meeting-house anthems, and harvest ballads and choruses meet together here in a program that combines musical heritage and history. Sondra and John Bromka’s authentic historical instrumentation includes harp, hurdy gurdy, hammer dulcimer, French & English bagpipes, recorders, Baroque oboe, African banjo, Spanish guitar, and wire-strung cittern (also known in Colonial America as the "English guitar.")
2. "Colonial Dances for Children"
Dance makes history come alive! The popular dances of our colonial period were a bright reflection of the colonists' diverse cultural heritage, the lively legacy of the immigrants who came to build and work. From these beginnings, we can trace the first traditional steps and styles that came together to create a distinctively American dance heritage and flavor. All Bells & Motley dance workshops feature live music played on authentic period instruments.
Social music and dance was an important part of community life & tradition in the colonial era, serving to bind new communities together through cherished old traditions. Sondra Bromka will address both "high and low" dance forms, and contrast traditions from a variety of cultural origins. Participants will discover the historical background, characteristics, & significance of dances selected. Then follows hands-on dancing for a joyously memorable experience of each dance’s distinctive steps and formations. Dances will be chosen for their accessibility and appeal to students, and Sondra’s teaching expertise with beginners guarantees success. Workshop features live period music on period instruments as John joins forces to discuss and demonstrate a variety of instruments popular for early dance.
3. Playing Pennywhistles, Jawharps, Bodhrans
For a hands-on musical experience, the artists will guide students in the playing of early american tunes on the pennywhistle. Known in colonial times as a flageolet, this instrument is a cheerful friend you can carry anywhere - and one will provide much pleasure and a solid foundation for learning the rudiments of music. Prices $2 per instrument in school settings.
The jawharp is, beyond a doubt, the simplest of instruments, could be carried in your pocket, and was traded with Native Americans by the hundreds. Prices $5. per instrument.
Bodhran is the Irish frame drum so very popular in Celtic music. We have turned a classroom's worth of "tippers" (beaters) on the lathe, and pass them around with extra drums for the students to experience hands-on.
4. Dance Culminating Events
If desired, dance workshops may be aimed toward student presentations at daytime or evening culminating heritage faires and celebrations. Or, they may be presented within the school during sharing sessions.
Additional workshops may be presented in Herbology and other household arts during extended custom-designed residencies. The artists are available to assist you in the creation of a unique learning experience that embraces a broad spectrum of arts projects, towards the enrichment of core curriculum. Culminating events are a specialty. For ideas, you may request a list of past historic faires, festivals, and other events from the artists.