Songs and Tales of Western Trails

Students playing the spoons while the Solomons sing and play.
Students playing the spoons while the Solomons sing and play.

   Friday, November 11, history came alive at the Plevna School with the Miner Pickers, Suzie and Gary Solomon. The students were treated to an interactive educational program with exciting songs and stories of Native Americans, mountain men, miners, and early pioneers who settled in the West. Suzie and Gary sang songs of the era while playing guitar, banjo, fiddle, mountain dulcimer, mandolin, autoharp and the harmonica.

The students joined in on singing many of the songs that were part of the presentation, such as Grand Old Flag, Old Suzanne, Sweet Betsy From Pike, Turkey in the Straw Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or ABC Song. Many of the students took part in some of the songs by playing the spoons. Suzie and Gary played the Chicken Song, and Mr. Coon was gracious enough to act the part of the rooster, and did a great job scratching around in the dirt with his chicken hat! Bret Edgell and Brentan Beyers both accompanied the Solomon’s with their rendition on the washboard.

Gary and Suzie Solomon with the limber-jacks.
Gary and Suzie Solomon with the limber-jacks.

   Suzie told the story of Katherine Slaughterback, Rattlesnake Kate. After killing over 140 snakes that surrounded her, she skinned them and made a rattlesnake dress for herself. When men were asked if she was pretty, their comment was, “A woman like that looks good from far away on a fast horse.”

   Gary Solomon showed us his limber-jacks. The man, woman, dog and horse all performed to the songs of Skip to my Lou and Camp Town Ladies Sing That Song. A limber-jack is also called a stick puppet or paddle puppet. They are traditional wooden dolls with loose limbs that step dance or jig on the end of a vibrating board in the imitation of a real step dances. While they danced, Suzi told their story.

   Sophia Dulin, Chloe Tudor, Jenna Paul and Lexie Wills were a part of the square dance calling. They completed their calling, by doing a few swing your partner round and round. Suzie and Gary Solomon closed their program with a song using Native American sign language as she sang. After enjoying the program, the students left with a better understanding of what it was like living in the West many years ago.

      



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