Celebrating Cultural Heritage through Music and Dancing

From the drums and flutes played by Native peoples to the fiddles and banjos introduced to Wayne County by the pioneers, music and dancing have always played an important role in local culture.

The Southern Paiute people have historically been known for their flutes, rasps, drums, and rattles used in social dances and singings such as the Sun Dance, Circle Dance, and Bear Dance.

According to Anne Snow in Rainbow Views, musicians could be found in the small towns across the county during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Caineville, early dances included a mandolin, violin, organ, accordion, and harmonica. In 1911, an orchestra was organized in Loa. When the cultural hall was completed in Teasdale, it because a popular location for dances. In 1939, an open air dance hall known as “The Big Apple” was built in an orchard of apple trees in downtown Torrey.

Young people grades three and up are invited to participate in the 4-H after-school program focusing on our heritage of music and dance. Activities will take place from 3:00-5:00PM at the Loa Civic Center January 15, 17, 22, and 24. Kami Taylor will be taking children through the process of creating and playing an elk leather drum. Participants will also be making and playing flutes as well as learning about how 3D printers can be used to make instruments. The instruments, music, and dances of the pioneers will also be featured. The grant will be paying for the materials to make musical instruments, so don’t let your children miss out on this unique opportunity to jumpstart an interest in music.

The free community dinner will take place on Wednesday January 30 at 6PM. In addition to the free dinner, the evening will also include a drumming demonstration and other music-related activities, demonstrations, and exhibitions exploring our cultural heritage of music and dancing.

If you’re planning to join us, please call the USU Extension/4-H Office at 435-836-1312 or Annette Lamb at 435-425-3415 to let us know how many will participate in the 4-H program and/or the dinner.

If you have musical instruments you’d like to share, we welcome you to exhibit or demonstrate at the dinner. Or, send us historical photos of your family music history. Contact Project Director Annette Lamb at info@entradainstitute.org or call 435-425-3415 for more information. This project is made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Entrada Institute. LIKE us at facebook.com/sparkinghumanities. – Annette Lamb, The Entrada Institute

Photo Credit: Fiddle and Banjo Players in Boulder Utah. Courtesy of Steve Taylor.

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