About Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™
Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™ incorporates the tools of community organization, education, and celebration to help us honor the richness of our community through story telling in song and spoken word. Children listen to the stories of Custer community elders and develop songs and narrations from the words of the elders with the help of their teachers and songwriters from our region.
Through owning each other’s story, bridges are built, understanding is found, respect is developed and reconciliation occurs. Barriers of age, complexion, religion, gender and class are diminished.
Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™ was developed by Larry Long, a songwriter and community activist who works with children to help break down the barriers that exist in communities.
After Larry Long came to Spearfish, South Dakota in 1999, East Elementary School carried on the work Larry had begun in honoring elders in their community, and since then the program has grown to include the communities of Custer and Oelrichs. In 2016 Custer and Rockyford Schools honored the 100th Anniversary of National Park Service by visiting National Park sites in our state and writing songs about “what is in the heart” of the Parks.
About Larry Long: “When senior members of a community talk about their lives and work, and children write songs with Larry Long about what they have learned from the elders, they create a remarkable celebration of humanity and hard work.” -Dr. Anthony Seeger, Curator, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Larry Long has made his life work the celebration of American stories and heroes. Now a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist, he has sung at major festivals, concerts and events throughout the world. Long is a recipient of the Bush Artists Fellowship, the Pope John XXIII Award, and In The Spirit of Crazy Horse Award for his work in forgotten communities. The demand for Long’s work sparked the creation of a non-profit organization, Community Celebration of Place.
About Community Celebration of Place:
Community Celebration of Place uses oral history, music and art to strengthen communities and foster reconciliation. We work with communities to bring together children and elders, and people of different backgrounds—economic, faith, racial, and cultural—to honor and celebrate our commonalties and differences. We work with schools, community groups, cultural organizations, and individuals, to create community-wide celebrations that include the music, art, and wisdom that exists within communities. www.communitycelebration.org
Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™ (EWCS) is the trademark of Larry Long and Community Celebration of Place. Used by permission.