HannaLena helps teach Waveland students bluegrass

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Students at Waveland Elementary School got a lesson in the culture of traditional Southern Bluegrass music Thursday. The two month long study culminated with a live performance from the Mississippi singing group HannaLena. It was a lesson the students will likely never forget.

The school playground was transformed into blue grass festival grounds.

Sister duo and their group HanaLena provided the music that was a big hit with the students.

"Every time you hear it ,you just want to get up and move to the beat," said second grade student Kaleaha Dailey.

But it wasn't just about the lyrics and the beat. Students learned a lot about the history and art of bluegrass music in their art class.

"We started about two months ago just talking about bluegrass culture where the music came from Kentucky and Tennessee, and how people who work really hard want to play really hard and relax. Just some options for entertainment besides video games," explained art teacher Dale Pohl.

Through their art work, students studied the many instruments used to perform bluegrass music.

"When I showed the students a photo of an actual bluegrass festival, it's funny because it's just people sitting around in lawn chairs, but they were holding the fans. So some kids caught onto that and we decided that would be a clever way to use bluegrass art work and keep ourselves cool during the concert," Pohl said.

The bluegrass art lesson even helped to add color to the stage.

"We started some weaving projects. That's so good for hand-eye coordination and it's the concept that if you grasp it, you've got it. So we wove scraps of fabric. The kids brought in old towels and T-shirts and cut those up. We've woven a design, a fiber arts instillation out there on the fence. That's our back-drop for the concert," said Pohl.

For most of the students, it was a real learning experience. Many had never heard bluegrass music.

"It is a very good type of music and I like it way better than country. It's way faster. It goes a little faster. I have never heard of bluegrass before," said second grade student Trevor Ellington.

He said thanks to art and the bluegrass artists, that's no longer the case.

Thursday evening HannaLena, performed a free concert for the community at the Mocking Bird Cafe' in downtown Bay St. Louis. The event also included an art show where the students' art work was on display.

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