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Rowan: Description of Residency Activities

Educational Narrative for Rowan: Trans-Atlantic Roots Music

Rowan's educational program is for children of all ages -- kids love this music! For the past twelve-plus years, Rowan has been bringing traditional music and traditionally-influenced music of Europe, particularly the Celtic lands, to schools in Kansas. We believe that by doing this, young people will become interested in their own heritage and explore their own genealogical past.

Educational performances in schools (45 minutes) accompanied by a two-hour community concert is a popular and common setting for us, but we customize our presentation to fit any situation. Our sound needs are minimal B we have a PA if needed, but it is helpful if presenters can provide speakers.

Our fee ranges from $750-$2000 but we are always willing to negotiate with arts and education organizations’ perennially limited budgets. Subsets of the band are also available.

Our target audience is lovers of traditionally inspired music of all ages. Kids love our music. Our educational program provides various components of the National Music Standards including music analysis, evaluation, and description; the relationships between music and other disciplines; and musical context in relation to history and culture. We have lesson plans if you need one to show your principal or superintendent. Our services are family- and community-oriented and we aim to nurture and perpetuate live performance of inherently inclusive music. Feel free to print this page as needed.

Performance title: Trans-Atlantic History and Culture through Music
Grade level: K-12
Curriculum tie-ins (KS Standards):
(G8B111) Locate major political features.
U.S. History: (U8B311) U.S. change over time through immigration; (U8B212) Impact of immigration on labor movement.
Cultural: (G8B212, E8B312) Impact of Irish/Scottish immigration on American culture.
World History: (W11B511) Impact of Scots on the Enlightment.

Instructional objectives:
Students will develop a basic understanding of Celtic history and culture.
Students will learn where Celts lived, how they migrated, and where they live now.
Students will develop an understanding of the oral tradition in Celtic society.
Students will learn about the events precipitating Scottish and Irish immigration to the U.S. and its impact on American culture.
Students will learn about impact of the Celts in Kansas and the central U.S, generally.
Students will learn about Scottish and Irish contribution to Enlightenment ideology.
Students will come to understand the distinctiveness of Celtic music.

Sample Instructional Plan: Opening tune set: "New-Rigged Ship / Cooley's Reel / The Clumsy Lover" Introduce ourselves, tell about the tunes we just played and the fact that they come out of the Celtic culture. Music and poetry were at the heart of Celtic society. Stories of past events, future dreams, the news of the day, celebrations, wars, social commentary were all presented through music. Introduce the Celts: Show Celtic migrations and present locations on large map.

Tune: "Brian Boru's March": Tune dedicated to Brian Boru, who defeated the Norse invaders and became the first King of Ireland early in the 11th century. Mention other figures in Celtic history that have become mythic in character, such as Queen Bodaccia, Cuchulain, Finn McCool, etc.

Introduce and provide a brief history of the instruments: fiddle, cittern, penny whistle, bodhran.

Songs: "He Moved thru the Faire / Lost Lady Found": Relate the role of market fairs in pre-literate Celtic culture as a combination of "mall" and "amusement park." "Lost Lady Found" can be seen as an oral society's equivalent of a missing persons report -- after resolution.

Song: "Bonny at Morn": Social commentary on work ethic / laziness: "get up you lazy bums!"

Song: "Tae the Beggin' I Will Go": Scottish song about the livelihood of the "beggarman," whose numbers were greatly increased by the "enclosures" of the 17th century.

Song: "Bonnie Laddie": Song dedicated to the "rightful king" - according to the Scots - represented in this song by Bonnie Prince Charley. After James II, the last of the Stuart kings of England, was driven out of the country, the German Hanovers eventually took the throne. The line of the Stuarts, a Scottish family, became the leaders in resistance to English rule in Scotland and Ireland.

Song: "Rising of the Moon": Song about the Irish uprising against British rule in 1798. The leaders of this uprising were associates of the leaders of both the American and French revolutions and shared much of their Enlightenment ideology.

Song: "Thousands Are Sailing to Americay": The Irish adopted the potato, a Native American crop, as their main food source in the 18th century. In the mid- to late-1840s, the potato crop failed in Ireland, causing massive starvation and emigration, usually to America.

Question and Answer period: Ask students if they have questions. Ask them questions as a review of the presentation.

Closing tune set: "Dennis Murphy's Polka / John Ryan's Polka": very lively, happy, upbeat tunes

Possible substitutions for older / younger audiences:
"La Sorciere" ("The Sorceress"): song in Breton (French Gaelic) showcasing a Celtic language
Song: "Rattlin' Bog": Irish children's song

Assessment: After the last song and before the closing tunes, we ask students questions about what they have just seen and heard. Where did the Celts come from? Where do they live now? Do you know anyone with a Celtic name? etc. And we open the floor up to their questions.

Mondays and Fridays are best; we are more flexible with adequate notice (four weeks or so).

Please contact us for more information like fees, references, and availability:
Doug Harvey: (785) 218-1712,
Marianne Payette Carter: (785) 841-0817,

As you can see by the logos at the top of the page, we are on the Kansas Arts Commission Touring Program and the Heartland Arts Fund roster. Both organizations have programs to help you bring us to your school.

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