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A helping hand: Raising money through music

By Staff | Aug 5, 2016

Chronicle photo by Vanessa McGuigan Children are seen learning notes on the xylophone as part of Music for the Mountain State fundraiser at Covenant Church.

Flood relief efforts are still underway in the panhandle, and Covenant Church in Shepherdstown held its own Music for the Mountain State fundraiser Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.

Organized by Pam Lehr, music teacher of Kinderpraise at Covenant, this program was designed to teach children all about West Virginia and heritage music through instruments, songs and stories.

The ages of the children ranged from birth to 12 years old.

Kari Matthews, a Kinderpraise helper, taught the youngest age group all about the the state bird, mammal, flower and motto. Kids got to hear a recording of a cardinal call and black bear sounds, and then learned songs about the animals.

Lehr taught the children about Appalachian instruments, such as the fiddle, washboard, lap dulcimer and musical saw. She would play snippets of musical sounds for the kids to guess which instruments they were hearing.

Lehr also read a book aloud entitled, “Passing the Music Down” by Sarah Sullivan and illustrated by Barry Root. In this book, a violin-playing boy from India moves to West Virginia and befriends an old farmer who teaches the youngster about folk music. Their relationship grows as the farmer passes down Appalachian music traditions to the boy. The book’s illustrator lovingly depicted rural West Virginia farms and fairs. A cd of fiddle folk music accompanied the book as Lehr read.

Hands on instrument playing was a big hit for the children who got to play sticks, bells and xylophone while learning music notes and songs.

Bee keepers visited on the final day of lessons to discuss the state’s insect with children.

Thursday evening, the program concluded with a concert by heritage musicians from O’Hurleys, who can regularly be heard on Thursday nights at the general store.