Jennifer Rose grew up singing and dancing with her family and friends in Berea, Kentucky, and was performing as soon as she could talk. While earning a degree in Voice at Berea College, Jennifer sang in the Berea College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, and performed with the Berea College Country Dancers. Her performances with the Dancers took her to Japan, Denmark and Italy, as well as throughout the United States. Now she is a full-time performer with a busy schedule of concert tours, educational seminars, and appearances in musical productions. When she's not out entertaining or teaching she stays home with her husband, Alfredo, and their two young daughters Lydia and Isabel in their country home near Berea.
Jennifer’s musical concerts are a superb combination of the entertaining and the educational. She carries her audiences with her to her green, Kentucky hills as she sings in her clear soprano voice the emotional music of Appalachia, interspersed with humorous and informative stories about the region and its culture. Listeners have commented, “I felt as though she were singing just to me,” and, “Jennifer’s voice is as clear as the mountain air.”
Potential Residency Project
"Appalachian Music and Dance"
5-10 day interdisciplinary project for grades 3 through 12
Students will learn about the origins and history of Appalachian music and dance, while participating in music and dance activities. Participatory activities may include singing along with Appalachian songs about mountain life, joining in various American singing games, and dancing Appalachian and early American folk dances.
The Appalachian region has a rich and varied history, of which Kentucky students should be proud. Students will learn songs that inspired ballad collectors like Cecil Sharp and Richard Chase to travel throughout the Appalachian Mountains in search of more of our music. They will dance the figures enjoyed by Kentuckians from Daniel Boone to Abraham Lincoln, and compare them to the older dances of Great Britain and the American Colonies. They will participate in singing games from Colonial American and African American culture, and will discuss their characteristics and origins.
Students will learn about the elements of music (pitch, timbre, melody, rhythm) as we sing the songs and singing games together, and will experience the elements of dance (space, time, force) as we move through the singing games and dances. After each activity and at the end of each class we discuss the activities we have done and relate them to relevant Core Content vocabulary.
I provide a letter on my letterhead to parents and families explaining the project, who I am, and who is funding the residency, which can be sent home with students. In the letter is a boldface invitation to attend the students' performance of the material they have learned during the project (if a performance will be given) and an invitation to families to contact me with any questions. Many schools also allow me to invite parents to stop in and watch me work with their children, an opportunity that I welcome.
There is something magical about making music and dancing together. It opens doors to create peace and social support in a group, and it gives personal confidence to students who sometimes struggle in traditional classroom situations. American youth often feel that their bodies are awkward, even ugly, and they often believe that they cannot sing. They lose some of those inhibitions when we sing silly Appalachian songs about crazy animals and impossible situations, and find that they really can make a beautiful sound as a group. Traditional American dance is beautiful when it’s done well, and as they succeed on the dance floor students become aware of their contribution to this beautiful whole. As a teaching artist I love to watch this awareness develop, and I love the bright faces and smiles when the music ends after a great performance, whether in the classroom or on a stage.