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Program Information

Number of Artists: 2

Grade Levels: 4-5, 6-8, 9-12, Family, K-2, K-5

Program Length: 30-50 minutes (30 for younger audiences)

Ideal Audience Size:

Maximum Audience Size: 500

Setup Time: 30 min

Breakdown Time: 15min

Technical Requirements: 4 microphones on floor stands (2 vocal & 2 instrument); table [card size or larger]; two chairs or stools; bottled water for two.

SOL Connections

History and Social Science: K.1, K.2, 1.12, 2.12, 3.12, USI.8, USI.9, USI.10, USII.3, USII.8, VS.4, VS.7, VS.8, VS.9, VUS.6, VUS.7, VUS.8, VUS.13, WHII.8

English: K.1, K.2, K.8, 1.2, 1.11, 2.1, 2.2, 2.8, 3.1, 3.6, 4.2, 4.5, 5.1, 5.6, 6.5

Artists Fees

Single Fee: $400 - $600

Back to Back Fee: $500 - $700

Fee Notes

Tour Artists - Sparky & Rhonda will be touring in the Bluemont program area February 12 & 13, 2018.

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Sparky and Rhonda bring diverse cultural histories to area schools.  

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker

The African-American Experience


History, Music

Program Type

Community Festivals, Curriculum Materials, Elementary School Assemblies, High School Assemblies, Middle School Assemblies, Residencies, Staff Development Workshops, Workshops

Subject Areas

Culture Studies, Music, Poetry, Politics, Song Writing, Storytelling, US History, Virginia History

Internationally acclaimed James "Sparky" Rucker is recognized as a leading folklorist, historian, musician, storyteller and author whose years of research on the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement have provided him a rich tapestry on which to weave his songs and unique blues arrangements. He has been singing songs and telling stories from the American tradition for more than forty years. Sparky accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and spoons, and has released more than eleven recordings. Rhonda Rucker practiced medicine for five years before becoming a full-time folk musician. She is a versatile performer, playing blues harmonica, piano, banjo, and bones, and creating wonderful vocal harmonies. Rhonda appears on five recordings with her husband. Available for Black History Month, February 12 & 13, 2018.

Following the North Star (3-12) This special historical program provides a unique perspective into the songs and stories of slavery, abolition, and the Underground Railroad. Personalities such as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Harriet Tubman are brought to life.

Heroes & Hard Times: A Black Folk Odyssey (K-12) Songs and stories related to various aspects of African-American experiences such as slavery, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, the "Exodusters," the birth of the blues and civil rights. Each program is geared to the age and experience of the audience.

I Have A Dream (3-12)Sparky and Rhonda recreate the history of the Civil Rights Movement through stories and songs, including those from their personal involvement in the movement. This program is adapted to the age or grade levels of the audience.

The Blue and Gray in Black and White (3-12) This costumed program gives the story of the American Civil War through songs and narrative. The stories, some sad and some humerous, reflect personal insights from the various personalities who participated in the war. Sparky and Rhonda Rucker sing songs from the era and give a chronological account of the major events of the war.