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School Programs

Learning Through Music!

The Upriver Band provides a fun and educational approach to learning.

Our interdisciplinary approach combines folklore, student participation, and the magnet of live musical performance to bring new life to the subject of American History.

Dan is a former teacher with a master's degree in secondary education. Teresa is a private music teacher with many years of experience in bringing music into the lives of children. Both Dan and Teresa are proficient on a variety of musical instruments.

Our program will cover topics such as:

  • Celtic culture and history
  • Early English and Celtic immigration into America
  • Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War
  • Irish Potato Famine, circa 1850
  • Changes in musical theme and style over 200 yrs. of American History
School Music Programs

We introduce the students to the music of Ireland, Scotland, and the Appalachian Mountains on eight different instruments: Fiddle, pennywhistle, harmonica, banjo, recorder, mandolin, guitar and piano.

Upriver played for all 600 students at my school. They modified and adapted their show for each grade level. The storytelling, historical connections, and rich musical performance was such a hit! I recommend Upriver for any elementary school."
- Jennifer Schwanke, Principal, Scottish Corners Elementary

A complete program can be provided upon request.

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Upriver School Assembly


Library Programs

Library Music Programs

Upriver features Celtic and Appalachian Mt. Music along with original and traditional Folk music.

This is a very vibrant music that is sung and played on many acoustic instruments. Upriver programs are quality entertainment along with a learning experience that will make your patrons glad they spent the evening at the library. Below is a summary of what our programs include

Program Examples:


Heritage Program

Our heritage program explores the history of the Scots-Irish immigration to America in the early 18th century. These immigrants were the original American frontiersmen, pushing out and settling into the harsh solitude of the Appalachian mountain wilderness. In this new American land, their ancient Celtic culture took root and began to evolve in a distinctly American way. We use music to tell the story on authentic folk instruments: Fiddle, banjo, guitar, pennywhistle, harmonica, and voice. We come to every venue prepared to modify our program according to the needs and interests of the group, giving more time and attention to the instruments themselves for a younger audience, more emphasis on history for mature audiences.

Mark Twain Program

Our Mark Twain program looks at the life and times of America's greatest Scots-Irish writer --- through a musical lens! We look at Mr. Clemens' childhood years on the banks of the Mississippi River, his later travels, his literary work, and his lifelong love of music. The program includes performances of period songs from Stephen Foster and other popular Twain contemporaries, as well as a selection of American and Celtic folk tunes from the era on popular instruments of the day: Fiddle, banjo, guitar, piano, harmonica, and pennywhistle.

Children's Program

This program is geared to the specific ages of the audience and will introduce several folk instruments. We will teach the children about parts of music using folk songs, fun tunes and stories. This program is interactive, with time for questions. A hands on experience with the instruments is often included.

Civil War Program

Our Civil War program offers a unique perspective on the War Between the States, featuring performances of period songs from both sides of the conflict, very much as they were known and performed 150 years ago. From "Dixie" (the Southern anthem, written by a northerner) to "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (a Northern adaptation of an old Irish folk tune) we use folk songs and folk instruments to bring the monumental tragedy of the Civil War clearly into focus.

About Dan and Teresa

Dan is a former teacher and historian with a masters degree in education, and Teresa teaches and plays a wide variety of musical instruments.

"We have had the pleasure of hosting Upriver several times and each time they come our patrons ask – “when are they coming back?” We love the versatility of their style, their haunting and beautiful airs and ballads and the wonderful social and music history that is a part of every concert. They are so easy with themselves and the audience, they draw everyone in and it is a pleasure just to sit and watch them work their magic. I am always amazed at how easily they can take a familiar piece and transform it into magical new music. So many times Celtic or Celtic-influenced musical offerings seem to be huge collection of frenetic jigs which can be wearing on the listener and not in the least memorable. Upriver is a refreshing change, like a cold glass of water on a hot day."
- Melissa Gibson, Reference Librarian/Adult Programming , Scott County Public Library
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