History Through Story and Music

These are some of the letters that we have received from our audiences:

kids picture of Themselves

"Your performance today was absolutely wonderful. Your story, music and rapport with the children were outstanding. In addition to the educational aspect of your performance, we were highly entertained... Every teacher and staff member that has spoken with me since your performance has commented with the same degree of enthusiasm... I am sure we will be contacting you again."
- Nancy K., PTO, Totoket Valley Elementary School, Northford, CT

" Our team thoroughly enjoyed your program. We found it refreshing, unique, and educational. Your approach was able to interest and engage the children... Thank you for a delightful experience."
- Ginger S., PTO, Baldwin Middle School, Guilford, CT

"...I want to thank you for taking our students along with you on the journey westward with your artful presentation of 'The Oregon Trail'. This was without a doubt one of the high points of our school year...You wove songs, snippets of daily life and even dances into a magical tapestry that completely engaged all there. As a teacher, it was wonderful to watch the students as you were performing, seeing their heads nod in recognition, their feet tap to the music and their eager participation when you asked questions. All your research has created a lively and unforgettable blend of history and music. We are all hoping you will be back soon."
- Marianne M., Librarian, Rippowam Cisqua School, Mt. Kisco, NY

"The Irish Immigrants story fit perfectly with our 5th grade social studies curriculum and I loved how you involved so many elements of the Arts- theater, music and dance. Every last detail was well thought out. I think the most unexpected element of your show was how you were able to touch on social issues like discrimination and poverty. My own children talked at dinner that evening about not wasting food. It really was one of the best programs we have had at our school.&quo;
- Donna W., PTO, Washington Primary School, Washington, CT

"I learned a lot about the years before the American Revolution...It was also interesting to learn this period in time from the perspective of an ordinary person. It helped to make me connect to the characters lives. It amazed me that taking sides in the war could tear an entire family apart....One of the many things I liked was the music in the performance. I thought it sounded really authentic."
- Nick K., student, Tokeneke School, Darien CT

"..your 'Tale of Westward Expansion' was entertaining and educational - the timing worked perfectly into the introduction of that unit of the curriculum. Here is (some of) the input I received from the teachers: 
I'd like to have them booked every year for the 5th grade before we start our Westward Movement unit; Wow, what a perfect 5th grade presentation...It kept the kids engaged and was a lot of fun. I think they really walked away with a basic understanding to start the westward movement unit; The students liked it very was a great foundation to the westward movement unit we'll be starting soon."
- Colette R., 5th Grade Arts in Ed Chair, North Mianus School, Greenwich, CTT

"I liked all the singing and dancing. I also liked how you played the parts of an ordinary family and what they must have been going through back then. I mostly enjoyed how you made learning about our country fun! Like how you talked about taxes and how it brought families apart, and changed everyone's feelings about England..."
- Kate W., student, Tokeneke School, Darien C

"Dear Themselves, We really appreciate you coming to our school and sharing all your enthusiasm about Ireland with us. My favorite part was the Irish step dancing. That was amazing! I really loved it! It was also a very interesting story you told us.""
- Caroline W. - student, Essex Elementary School, Centerbrook, CT

"My favorite show was the Oregon Trail because of how they dressed up, they sang, and how they told the story of 'Kit' and her family...I also liked the first song they sang. I think it was something about 'Banjo on my Knee'. They looked like they were from the older period in time, because they had the bonnet on, the washboard,.. rice in a material bag and more! It was really cool."
- Patrice T., Student, Grade 4, Tokeneke School, Darien, CT

"Just a note of appreciation for the wonderful performance your ensemble provided. The large audience... responded to your program with unbounded enthusiasm... the songs you sang and played and the stories you told were engaging, entertaining and educational. Thank you for a very successful afternoon."
- Marianne L., President, South Shore Music for Youth, Inc. Westport, CT

"I just returned from the Oregon Trail performances at Baldwin Middle School. The program was a huge success! Teachers enjoyed both the entertainment quality as well as the strong link to curriculum. I heard the children talking about the instruments as they left the room... It was truly a worthwhile and memorable experience for all."
- Kate, Young Audiences Representative, Hamden, CT

"It sounds like Britain put a lot of pressure on the colonies and made it hard for them to maintain an easy life, because of the taxes and all. I also like hearing the instruments and songs. They really sounded like songs from the 18th century (1700s). Lastly, I liked your costumes. They looked so real. Where did you get them?"
- Sammie B., student, Tokeneke School, Darien CT

"Our school was fortunate to have '”Themselves” perform for our school... the children were mesmerized for the entire performance..(and)..learned about the history of the Irish immigrants and (the) potato famine. My own children continue to discuss this part of history months later. The story was eloquent and moving. The Irish step dancing was also quite beautiful and something many of the children had never seen before."
- Tricia P., Cultural Representative Parent, Pine Grove School, Avon, CT

"Your performance was fantastic. The Harp and Fiddle were great and I am evan (sic) thinking of playing the guitar myself. I also like how you put a story and a song all in one. I hope you can come again soon."
- Mitchell K. student, Essex Elementary School, Centerbrook, CT

"We had the good fortune of having Themselves perform for our students. This talented ensemble group translated the pioneer experience of crossing the Oregon Trail into live theatre, creating an engaging and entertaining experience for our students. They even recruited several of our students as participants in the presentation. We would recommend them as a valuable teaching experience for any school."
- Helen C. L., Co-Chair PTA Cultural Committee, Eli Whitney School, Stratford, CT

"...thank you for your presentation of An Immigrant's Story today...Our entire school K-12 has been commenting on how much they enjoyed the performance... The Irish music and dance was wonderful... The mix of performance and student involvement was perfect and kept the students interested and listening carefully. Your command of the audience also contributed to the experience."
- Patrice J., PTO, Derynoski Elementary School, Southington, CT

"My favorite part was when the Tax Rebellion worked, and taxes were taken off everything except tea, and when you talked about the Boston Tea Party, it painted a picture in my mind...Why did you choose to name Lynn (as) Obedience? Was it a common name back then?"
- Nadia C., student, Tokeneke School, Darien CT

"Their blend of dancing, singing and storytelling was perfect for relaying the historical information regarding the plight of the Irish over the last century. Too often students this age are isolated, culturally, because they are so concerned about what's happening around them in the present. They forget the difficulties children their age endured in the past in order for us to get to the point where we are in history... We realize how difficult it is to engage 240 students at the end of the school day, but they managed to keep their attention.... Clearly, they love what they do, and we appreciate them sharing their enthusiasm with the students."
- Exploring the Arts Team, Academy School, Glastonbury, CT

"I really enjoyed the production on the Revelation War (sic) you put on. But no one told me I had to dance! I also learned a lot too!"
- Peyton D., student, Tokeneke School, Darien CT