Students learn about Native American culture


December 03, 1997|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE CANOE DANCE of the Haliwa-Saponi began a program of Native American songs, dances and games at Spring Garden Elementary School in Hampstead last week.

The festive program was performed by the fifth-graders and culminated a lengthy classroom study and research project on Native American culture.

Music instructor Idalea Rubin taught the students the songs and steps. The 147 fifth-graders were divided into six clans, wearing costumes stitched by parents and painted with animal motifs. The students made shell and feather necklaces and rattles from gourds.

For the performance, several students orchestrated songs and stories by playing xylophones, drums, bells and chimes.

Like a family reunion, the modern Native American powwow is a time when tribes gather to share performances. Each classroom became a clan and performed a different part. Teacher Julie Egdahl tied the elements together with narration and occasional Native American language.

"What is truly special is that so much of this is authentic," Rubin said.

Beth Raver's class fluttered fringed capes for the Nanticoke Eagle Dance. Richard Phillips' class, the wolf clan, energetically recited "The Song of Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Joanna Zimlin's class, the salmon clan, showed a tricky Navajo stick game in which dowels are tapped, flipped and tossed at increasing speed.

The eagle, bear and beaver clans (the classes of Julie Egdahl, Mary Dee Varga and Katherine Berling) dramatized the legend Contest for the Sun. All clans joined to sing the Zuni "Sunrise Song" and "The Earth, the Air, the Fire, the Water." The haunting, almost flutelike melody of "Ancient Mother" was sung by soloists Courtney Burda and Christopher Rudy. Ben Obriecht and Kaitlin Bromwell played the chiefs who vie for control of the sun, played by Alyssa Ray.

A living totem pole dance sequence, choreographed by parent Heather Mosher, was performed by Greg Briggs, Nicole Clark, and Lauren Elcik, who held masks created by fellow students in art class. A spirit bird was danced by Jenna Hoshall.

Student Holly Boltz retold "Legend of the Horses," assisted by nine classmates who held large stick puppets. Classmates moving the stick puppets were Molly Brown, Alison Walsh, Brittany Sullivan, Scott Allen, Becca Pagels, Laura Cooke, Davalyn Powell, Ryan Hintenach, and Colleen Nevin.

Totem poles, masks, pottery, and silver with turquoise jewelry were displayed as a market place afterward. The art projects were based upon authentic Native American methods, artifacts and legends under the instruction of art teacher Jan Van Bibber. The audience sampled Wagmiza Wasna, a Sioux cornmeal candy stirred by dozens of parent volunteers.

New and nearly so

Some surprising donations arrive on the steps of the Community Clothing Store in Hampstead.

Many new items, tags still attached, are donated. Other items appear to have hardly been worn. These items will be for sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at the New and Nearly New Christmas Sale at St. John's United Methodist Church, on Main Street in Hampstead.

The store, a project of the Northeast Social Action Program, typically offers clothing at reduced prices in a building on Gill Avenue, next to the church.

Store hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Admission to tomorrow's sale is one nonperishable food item.

Manchester Museum open

The Manchester Historical Committee Museum will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The museum, in the Municipal Building on York Street, features four rooms of local history, including exhibits of clothing, photographs, high school memorabilia and artifacts. Longtime residents will be on hand to answer questions.

A local bell ringer choir will perform Christmas music in the Town Council chamber From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 12/03/97

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