Friday, July 4, 2014

Experience History Through Music!

I mentioned in one of my last blog posts that I come from some pretty musical people. There aren’t too many family gatherings where someone doesn’t pull out an instrument or a song book. The songs that we tend to sing over and over through the years have been old ones passed down through generations. 

These songs or hymns tell a story. Stories of redemption, of heartache, or pain. They can also be light hearted or joyous. They speak of happier times and might even be a little silly.

I think it is fascinating the way music is intertwined through the stories of our country's History. Through music I can sense the pain of a mother sending her son off to war, of a family on a lonely prairie or the sweet spirituals of old. 

I have hinted a bit about my latest review.  I have been blessed to be a part of the Experience History Through Music! Launch Team. This whole launch is somewhat of a miracle. Diana Waring, of Diana Waring Presents, tells of this miracle very beautifully on her blog

Experience History Through Music! features 3 Books and CD’s.

Here is a quick explanation of each: 

As the name of this series implies, these book and CD sets allow you to Experience History Through Music. Each title contains one book and one CD. The pages of the books hold dozens of historical pictures; bright and interesting stories connecting each of the songs to its moment in history, even sheet music and chord charts! The CDs are rousing , professional recordings that draw in all listeners. The two combine for fond memories and a grand, knee-slapping good time. 

Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West
America's westward expansion is amazingly rich in stories and songs.  In Westward Ho!, you will find the pioneer spirit that stirred the hearts of thousands of Americans to leave the safety and comfort of home expressed in folk songs of or about that time.  Now you can experience the pioneers' adventures, dangers, joys, sorrows and hopes as you join in and sing along.

Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder 

The well-loved stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder will come to life all over again as you listen to the songs that were a part of life for the Ingalls and thousands of other pioneering families.  Written by William Anderson, noted Laura Ingalls Wilder biographer, the book also includes beautiful photos by internationally known Little House photographer, Leslie A. Kelly.

America – Heart of a New Nation
From the French and Indian War to the first transcontinental railroad, America is a chronological tour of American history through its music. Enjoy the songs and stories of our past that have been shared from generation to generation—songs that make you laugh, make you cry, and make your patriotic spirit soar.

I can tell you that I have spent the last few weeks “geeking” out. For one, I love Diana Waring. I was excited to be able to share the same cyber waves. I mean, really. I got to read personally some of the wonderful memories of her own musical upbringing and experiences. I am particularly fond of folk music. Contrary to popular belief most folk music lovers don’t wear hemp beads. At least I don’t wear hemp beads. I like my jewelry to glitter. 

I do wander so. 

I also am somewhat of a Laura Ingalls Wilder fanatic. These books were part of my girlhood days. I knew Laura, Ma, Pa, and the rest like they were part of my own family. The stories behind the songs in Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder are absolutely fascinating. There were a few I knew and some more that were unfamiliar to me. We shared our CD and book with some friends one day. We spent the afternoon listening and reading. They were in the middle of reading Little House in the Big Woods. It was a wonderful way to spend time together. We loved taping our feet to Wait for the Wagon and The Old Chariot.  Not to be confused with “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” 

I was probably more unfamiliar with the songs in Westward, HO! Josiah loved this CD. He particularly enjoyed Ho! For California. I loved, loved Missionary’s Farwell. It was almost haunting and certainly lovely. The story tell us that this song was sung at the wedding of a couple who were going to go West to be missionaries. The couple served for several years, but met with a tragic ending. It is one I want to learn personally. It touched me deeply. 

I did know most all the songs from America-The Heart of a Nation. These are rousing patriotic and stirring songs. Again. The stories behind the songs are so fascinating. Even though I have sung some of these songs for years, I never knew the stories. The music will make you want to wave a flag.
All of these books are going to be some we enjoy for years to come. Not just because of the beautiful music, but because of the fascinating history behind the music. 

The CD’s themselves are expertly done. The musicians are just first rate. I was tempted to grab a guitar. Which would be unfortunate. I don’t play. I’ll leave the playing to those who can.
 We have enjoyed every bit of our experience with Experience History Through Music!
Before I leave you I want to share with you a little video. Or two. 

I have been hosting a Cousin’s Camp week with my mom. A few nights we gathered on deck overlooking the pond and the pasture and sang. My mom brought out her guitar and the basket of rhythm instruments she keeps in her music room. We were able to sing some of these lovely songs together with all of the Cousins. You will have to forgive my dismal video making skills. I take video like I play a guitar.

The first song is Shenandoah from American-The Heart of a Nation. You might be able to hear it amidst all the lovely percussion.   There is also an issue between my me and my Mom about pronunciation. Pick your side.

This next video features a song from American-Heart of a Nation and one from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Book. We were having a lovely family evening with the Cousins, my husband, parents my cousin and Aunt and Uncle. It was a sweet time. They were able to restrain their percussion stylings this time around.  

Isn’t this is what it’s all about? Those songs that have followed me through my years can now be passed down to those that are coming along behind me. We must not neglect the history, the songs and the lore. We have to keep it alive. Experience History Through Music is a great way to help us achieve just that. 

Right now (through the months of July) you can purchase the whole set for $50. Each book retails for $18.99 separately.

 One other thought. These books aren't just for Homeschoolers. Anyone who loves History, Music or all of the above will really enjoy all three. 

Don't forget to take advantage of the Giveaway. Just click over and enter. There is still a few hours left to try and win all the awesomeness. 

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