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Students get a groovy history lesson in music
Oct. 31, 2011

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

DASSEL, COKATO, MN – Seventh graders at Dassel-Cokato Middle School went back in time last week – each day learning music from different decades with guitarist and music educator Soli Hughes.

The week-long residency was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the Minnesota Humanities Council in conjunction with the exhibit “New Harmonies: Exploring Roots Music,” now open at the Dassel History Center.

From Monday through Friday last week, students explored the history of rock and roll and pop culture with Hughes.

With each day representing a different decade, students were able to dress up for that particular time. Monday was ‘50s music, Tuesday, ‘60s; Wednesday, ‘70s and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood awards show; Thursday, ‘80s; and Friday, ‘90s.

The lesson Tuesday, for example, explored the music of the ‘60s from The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” to John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.” Students were able to sing along and play an assortment of hand-held instruments like the tambourine.

Hughes even plugged in his electric guitar and turned on the strobe lights to perform the Jimi Hendrix song “Machine Gun,” an electric guitar tribute to “all who perished” in the Vietnam War.

So, not only did the students get a lesson, in music, but also a history lesson as well.

“They are absolutely loving it,” said Jessica Luebker, seventh grade social studies teacher, adding that Hughes is energetic and fun.

In addition to the musical interaction each day, students watched a video component on music or pop culture.

Students were able to perform with Hughes in front of an audience Thursday night at the Dassel History Center.

“This was a great opportunity for the students to work with and learn music from a professional musician,” said Mary Jensen, co-coordinator of the Smithsonian exhibit at the Dassel History Center.

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