Musician Dave Ruch sings
historic songs for Harry Hoag students
With banjo in hand, musician Dave Ruch sang the opening lines to
the historic song, “The Constitution and the Guerriere,” to the
fifth grade students at Harry Hoag Elementary School on Friday,
“It oft-times has been told, that the British seamen bold, Could
flog the tars of France, so neat and handy, Oh! But they never met
their match, till the Yankees did them catch, Oh, the Yankee boys
for fighting Are the dandy, Oh!”
After the first verse, he then asked the students if they knew who
the Yankees were, and jokingly asked them to not say the baseball
Ruch conducted sessions – featuring music tied into historical
events –with each grade level. Cheryl Toomey’s fifth grade students
are working on a unit on the American expansion out west and are
currently studying the War of 1812. Ruch thought the song would tie
in well because it’s about the battle between the USS Constitution
and HMS Guerriere near Nova Scotia during the War of 1812.
During Ruch’s session, the students clapped and sung along and
asked lots of questions.
“I’ve been working with each grade level, and we’ve done songs
about the Erie Canal, the Iroquois and now the War of 1812,” Ruch
said. “The kids have been great and ready to learn. You can tell
you’re reaching them and that the music helps.
Mrs. Toomey said her students have been “excited” about studying
the War of 1812 and even more so about the musical sessions.
Ruch came to the school thanks to a $2,000 Arts in Education Grant
awarded by Target. He’s in the middle of a two-day residency, and
during his second visit, fourth and fifth grade students will
participate in songwriting sessions on New York’s Native Americans.
The fifth and sixth grade students will also participate in
songwriting sessions on regions of the United States or another
topic of teacher interest. This is the fourth year he’s performed
at the school.
His program for each grade includes the following:
• Grades K-1 - Songs from our Communities.
• Grades 2-3 - World Communities.
• Grade 4 - The Native Americans of New York.
• Grades 5 - 6- Regions of the United States.