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Oh, those sweet, sweet sounds

by: RAY HUGHEY - Members of the Oregon Trail Pitchpipers, above, stopped by Lee Elementary School in December to help students better understand music of America. The students got a chance to sing songs that are seldom heard today but are a part of this nation’s heritage.
A quartet of visitors added some harmony at Lee Elementary School just before the holiday break.


The visitors were Jerry Hermann, Steven Hurst, Wayne Markham and Ken Cox, members of the Oregon Trail Pitchpipers of Canby, a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society. They perform as The Tonesetters quartet. The quartet has been visiting Clackamas County schools to acquaint students with the music of America, songs less heard today but which make up an important part of the nation’s heritage and culture.

They acquainted them with songs sung in farm fields, factories and parlors through the years, railroad songs, WPA songs and songs celebrating the land and ways of life. Their Get America Singing program was made possible through a $1,745 grant the Pitchpipers received from the Clackamas County Arts Alliance, said Hermann, a past president of the Pitchpipers.


They’ve paid two-day visits to schools in the Oregon City, Gladstone and Canby school districts, sharing their a capella music with more than 1,200 students.

They visited Lee Elementary School to team up with students in the classes taught by Michael Ryan and Brian Huggins.

The barbershoppers led the students in favorites such as “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “America the Beautiful.” And for good measure, they included popular holiday fare, including “Here Comes Santa Claus,” Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Jingle Bell Rock.”



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