Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Note Book Educators Compile Song Slate for the Well-Versed American

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Note Book Educators Compile Song Slate for the Well-Versed American

Article excerpt

Who hasn't sung "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad" or tapped a foot to "Oh! Susanna"? But what about "Simple Gifts" or "Music Alone Shall Live"?

They're all on a list of 42 tunes that a music educators group says Americans must continue singing, humming and strumming to preserve an important part of the national culture.

The list, compiled by the Music Educators National Conference, includes patriotic songs such as "The Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful" and "This Land Is Your Land." There are American folk songs, Negro spirituals, a Jewish celebration song, a Japanese folk melody and favorites such as "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain," "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," "If I Had a Hammer" and "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah." Imagine actress Julie Andrews singing "Do-Re-Mi" in "The Sound of Music," or an Irish tenor belting out "Danny Boy." Both are on the list. "We have a whole generation that has grown up without signing songs like these - songs that are part of our culture, part of who we are," said Will Schmid, president of the 90-year-old group representing 65,000 music educators nationwide. Children at Stevens Elementary School in Washington recognized the titles of a dozen or so songs on the list, but most had trouble singing m ore than a verse. Some couldn't get through the first line. `Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah' "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-aye," sixth-grader Shika Duncan sang as she sat on the school playground. "Oh - something, something - what a wonderful day." Shika and their friends didn't know "Blue Skies" "Danny Boy" or "Down b y the Riverside." But they quickly broke into a recess rendition of "Doe, a deer, a female deer." Erica Quinlan, a fifth-grader, led her friends in singing several verses of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," but she conceded that she knew only half the "Star-Spangled Banner." Ten-year-old Lauren Jackson knew the whole anthem after someone prompted her with the first words: "Oh! say, can you see . . ." Janai Marshall, a fifth-grader, says she thinks the list should include singer Bette Midler's "From a Distance," a gospel song called "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" and "Jesus loves the little children - all the children of the world . …

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