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Jul 8, 2014

"American History Has Never Been This Fun!" - A Review

I recently was given the opportunity to review Experience History Through Music by Diana Waring.   This series was originally produced in 1989-1991 and was tragically lost in the mid-90s.  Mrs. Waring discovered over the years that many people still wanted copies of this musical resource.  She had, from time to time, tried to revive this series, but finding the masters proved especially difficult.  You can read what happened on Diana's blog.  Thankfully, after all these years, they have recently been re-released.  The book America received a complete overhaul.  The three CDs and books cover the founding and expansion of this great nation.  Each book contains the sheet music for every song on the corresponding CD, so if you have a musical ability of your own, you can play along.

Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder is the only book in the series not written by Diana Waring. This installment was written by William Anderson, with photographs by Leslie A. Kelly.  This is one family full of Little House fans.  The boys love the show and the books.  We've even visited Almonzo Wilder's boyhood home with our co-op.  We had to read this book and play this CD first.  The boys loved it right away.  Xav has been cracking me up with his version of The Old Chariot. "Roll on over the devil!" he sings/shouts. They all like Buffalo Gals and can dance a jig like a pro, even Merrick.  Thirteen of the songs Pa played on his fiddle are in this set.  Sweet Bye and Bye reminded me of my grandma who used to rock and sing to us long after we were too big for her lap.

America the Heart of a New Nation (the French and Indian War to the first transcontinental railroad) contains sixteen songs of early American history.  One of our favorites was Git Along Li'l Dogies.  The boys were curious why the cattle were called dogies.  She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain is also a hit here.  The punks have a few picture books of old songs and this is one of them.  As the song played, they followed along in that book.  I've always loved Old Dan Tucker, too.

Westward Ho! The Heart of the Old West - It's strange, but even though some of these titles seemed familiar, I really didn't know any of the songs in this set except Home on the Range.  Their titles seemed familiar, but nothing really resonated with me.  The punks enjoyed this one just as much as the others.  It's really all new music for them.

You will not be disappointed with the quality of the music.  Despite being restored from masters over twenty years old, the sound is fabulous and the singers and musicians did a marvelous job of capturing the attention of three rowdy young boys. 

I enjoyed this trip down memory lane.  I thought of grandma and reminisced about my grade school music teacher who introduced so many children to the musical heritage of America.  I've known for some time, that I wanted that for the boys as well.  I had never really put much thought into the details.  Because of that, they had missed out on so many fun jigs and beautiful melodies.  I'm glad I was able to share this with them.
Author Diana Waring
This series was developed for families with students in elementary school and older, but any music lover will enjoy this walk through America's past.  Each book and CD set is valued at $18.99 or purchase the entire set for $57 dollars.

*For the month of July, the special price for the three sets is only $50!


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