A Rainbow of Ukulele’s is music to Highland County student’s ears

MONTEREY, VA (WVMR) – The Fourth Graders and the music department at the Highland Public Schools received a wonderful and colorful gift that makes beautiful music. 15 brightly and multicolored Ukulele’s, this donation was made to the school on behalf of the Highland County Old Time Fiddler’s association. Fiddler’s association president Jay Garber explains that part of their mission statement is to promote playing old time music and they wanted to introduce it to the youngsters of Highland.

“To promote the study and play of old time music, that’s part of our mission statement,” said Garber. “And if you want to further this music you need to keep children involved and the younger you get them involved, the more success you have, so we thought if we could get something in the school going. So I talked to Jason [Canze] about it and said the Ukulele’s simple, if we could get some, I’ll get them started.”

“We raised the money through donations through individuals and one business in town and I bought the instruments through a music store. So thank goodness the children all seem to very excited about it and hopefully this year at the fiddler’s convention we’ll have a show of ukulele’s.”

Vice-President Alice Shumate is proud to be a part of this experience and to share the rainbow of Ukulele’s with the students.

“We’re very proud to be here today to see the look on these kids faces as we presented them their ukulele’s of many colors,” said Shumate, “kind of like Dolly Parton’s coat of many colors; our school has ukuleles of many colors.”

Fiddler’s Association advisor Dick Lamb feels it is important to teach children the traditional old time music and a Ukulele is one of the best instruments to start learning on.

“They chose the ukulele because probably it would be the most available instrument that we could get our hands on for a class,” said Lamb. “And really for the age that it is, it’s the most suited to learn and to begin to learn music. Part of our mission statement was to bring back traditional music back into the county and the schools and we need to start at the school level and teach the kids to play music and appreciate their culture and their heritage.”

Fourth graders Harold Skelton and Emma Harmon are excited to learn how to play the Ukulele’s.

“I’m Harold Skelton, I’m 11 years old and I think it’s going to be really cool playing the ukuleles it’s gonna be fun learning how,” said Skelton.

“My name [is] Emma Harmon and I’m 10,” said Harmon. “I think it’s really cool to be able to play the ukulele, and I play a lot of other instruments too; like the violin, the viola, the bass, the recorder, a little bit of piano and a little bit of guitar.”

Highland School’s music teacher Jason Canze is thankful for the generous gift and hopes the students can demonstrate what they have learned at this year’s convention in June.

“I want to thank the Fiddler’s convention for donating all these ukuleles to the school,” said Canze. “We’ll be using them for the 4th grade class and we intend to use them to accompany our singing and we’d like to be able to perform some songs by the time the convention this summer happens. So we’re looking forward to this and I think it will be a great experience for everybody involved.”

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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