March 28, 2013

Hearing your people’s songs

Hearing your people’s songs
By Jerry W. Kram

Keith Bear says he grew up as “a kid on Dakota Drive,” with limited prospects and opportunities for the future. Now, decades later, he is an internationally known musician who performed with symphony orchestras around the world, performing music on Native American flutes he makes himself. He says there is magic in the flutes and he recently spent a week in the Edwin Loe Elementary School in New Town to share that magic with a new generation.
Bear works with schools 15 or more times a year, but this is the first time he has shared his music in a school in New Town. That is a little embarrassing for Bear as he is not only a New Town native, but his sister Marcia Azure has been a Title I and music teacher at the school for decades.
“He has been with 27 classes this week,” said Azure. “He’s been playing and showing the work he did on his flutes. He is storyteller and a singer.”
“When I go to a school, I spend a week or maybe two with the classes,” Bear said. “My sister said, ‘Why don’t you come here.’ I said, ‘I’ve been trying to come here.’ So I told her I would give them a better deal because I am home. I want our children at home to have this experience. I tell these stories all over the world and some of our own children don’t know these stories.”


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