Sparky and Rhonda bring diverse cultural histories to area schools.
Sparky and Rhonda Rucker
The African-American Experience
Community Festivals, Curriculum Materials, Elementary School Assemblies, High School Assemblies, Middle School Assemblies, Residencies, Staff Development Workshops, Workshops
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 23-27, 2008.
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.
The Buffalo, Eagle, and the Silver Spur (3-12) In this award-winning musical narrative, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker give the hidden history of the American West. The program includes such stories as the history of the Buffalo Soldiers, Ghost Dance warriors, and Mexican vaqueros. Songs from this show were featured in the Time-Warner mini-series, The Wild West.