Combining history and music, performer Dave Ruch kept Volney Elementary students entertained during several educational activities Wednesday in the school library.
Ruch — who has been billed as equal parts historian, musician, educator, folklorist, comedian and entertainer — engaged the students with music, stories about the Iroquois and Westward expansion, and through sing-alongs.
“All my programs are sort of history-based,” Ruch said. “The programs help students learn about history and culture through music.”
Ruch used his talents on the banjo, guitar, mandolin, sitar and jaw harp to mesh stories and humor to captivate the audience.
Fifth- and sixth-graders received a lesson on Westward expansion as Ruch sang about the Cumberland Gap.
Students in UPK, second and third grades were introduced to different cultures as the entertainer taught them how to count to three in Russian, and then incorporated that into a sing-along.
“I think there’s value in just coming in and demonstrating instruments and having fun with kids too, but my whole focus is on tying in what I do into what they’re learning,” Ruch said. “For instance, Native Americans of New York state, which goes with the fourth-grade curriculum, and world cultures, which goes with the third-grade. I like to have it be as useful as it can be for the teachers too.”