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Main Street Arts Council hosts Stories to Song program

11 Jan 2022 12:54 PM | Anonymous

This week, the Main Street Arts Council is hosting an artist-in-residence to conduct an exciting program called “Stories to Song” in which students interview local “community elders” and through the course of the week, write and perform a song inspired by the elder’s stories.

Hoxie High School English Teacher Mrs. Peggy Eland has partnered with the arts council to conduct the program with each of her six English sections participating. The artist-in-residence, Aaron Fowler, of Wichita, is facilitating the program this week at the high school. Fowler, through the nonprofit organization, Sing It Out, INC, travels across the nation conducting this program in rural communities each year.

Stories to Songs is a powerful oral history project that engages elders in rural communities with middle and high school students in a process called collective songwriting. The process involves students interviewing elders and then writing songs based on those elders’ stories. The project develops critical thinking and learning skills and engages students in a community building experience that develops deep community bonds. It enhances student learning, addresses problem solving skills through the arts and nurtures creativity and culture awareness through a powerful learning experience. Elders are valued and given an opportunity to meet and share with students, in a relaxed setting, important memories in their life.

On Monday of this week, six community elders were interviewed by Mrs. Eland’s English classes. The interviewees included Harry Joe Pratt, Linda Frazey, Ruth Pieschl, David Leopold, Ed Heim, and Marcella “Sally” Cameron.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the students will be creating a song inspired by their interviews with their respective elder. They will learn the mechanics of songwriting, including the poetry and writing structures of lyrics as well as the musical composition components. The week culminates on Friday, Jan. 14 with a public performance in the High School Auditorium to be held during the last hour of the day at around 2:51 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this event to enjoy the creativity of the students’ works, honor the elders and their experiences as well as the Hoxie community.

The program was made possible in part through a grant by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, a sub-entity of the Kansas Department of Commerce, as well as a $500 grant from our local Sheridan County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation, Bird City.

The Main Street Arts Council is an organization dedicated to promoting the arts, encouraging creativity, serving the arts community and acting as an advocate for the arts. We strive to be a model organization for the Northwest Kansas region by ensuring access to the arts for all ages, encouraging a community passion for the arts and successfully supporting, partnering and collaborating with others committed to the arts.

For more information and to get involved, visit

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PO Box 458
Hoxie, KS 67740

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