Students learn tunes on harmonicas from Harmonica Band

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 5/31/00.

Harmonic Band The grand finale for the sixth graders' harmonica unit was a chance to play with some veteran performers, the Harmonica Band from the Paynesville Area Center, on Thursday.

Students spend a month learning to reach notes on harmonicas by drawing in their breath and exhaling, how to do scales on the harmonica, intervals, and more.

"The class gives the students hands on experience with the instrument while learning theory," instructor Jean Virant said.

Bill Schultz, director of the Harmonica Band, went through the scales with the students, then had them play several tunes.

"Bill is a one-man showman," Mary Winther said of the way Schultz led the students through their notes.

"I really enjoy visiting with the students. They are a neat group of children," Winther added.

Virant said Gen Jerabek who plays the washboard and drums is always a favorite of the students.

Lorraine Adams loves the interaction between the students and the band. "They have so much energy. We wish we had some of it," she said.

Don Torbenson thought the students were doing well for how little time they got to work on their harmonicas. "It was fun working with the students," he added.

Among the songs the students learned to play with the Harmonica Band were: "When the Saints Come Marching in," "Row, Row, Row, Your Boat," "Joy to the World," "Silent Night," and "On Top of Old Smokey."

The Harmonica Band consists of 11 members. They practice at the Paynesville Area Center and go out and do performances for area organizations.

Besides the harmonica, two members play the accordoan as well.

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