The Jennifer Spears

Educational Outreach Resource Center

From the Director

Welcome to the Jennifer Spears Educational Outreach Resource Center!  Named for one of our founding sponsors, Jennifer Speers, the Jennifer Spears Educational Outreach Resource Center was created in 2020/21 to meet the rising need for unique cross-disciplinary ed. resources online.
As we grow the center in these changing times, we here at New Harmony Music Festival & School are committed to creating and updating these pages with exciting ed. projects, resource materials, classroom activities, opportunities for home-shoolers, and ways to connect like-minded students and teachers.
We hope you follow the project, utilize the materials, and join with NHMF&S in building “a mighty fortress”, filled with treasures, resounding with music and knowledge, and dedicated to our children’s education.

~Christopher Layer

Director, New Harmony Music Festival & School

Board Member, New Harmony Artists Guild


Our Current Program

Abraham Lincoln Shorts with host, Chris Vallillo

Student age range: Ages 5 and up.
-Content: Historical/factual narrative, traditional songs known to Lincoln, unusual folk instruments, 10 high quality videos, political and social life of the times, regional discussion.
Teachers and students can explore the life of President Abraham Lincoln via this unique musical/historical multi-media experience, created by musician and host, Chris Vallillo.  For a detailed description of the program, links to the videos and a teacher’s activity guide, CLICK HERE.

Example Video: Lesson 1 (Descriptions and links to all video lessons below)

LESSON 1: Lincoln’s time as a boy in Kentucky and the exuberance of the young nation through a song Lincoln himself knew and loved, El-E-Noy.

LESSON 2: Lincoln’s time as a young man in Southern Indiana, his experiences working as a deckhand on on a flatboat, and the song Shawneetown.

LESSON 3: Lincoln’s time as a circuit riding lawyer in the 1830’s, the Jaw Harp and Lincoln, and a song he used to perform on jaw harp, Hoosen Johnny.

LESSON 4: Lincoln’s early days in Springfield, meeting Mary Todd at a dance there in 1840, and an 1880 hammer dulcimer dulcimer from rural Illinois.

LESSON 5: Lincoln’s early attempts to address the national issue of slavery, his feelings on slavery, and the abolitionist song Darlin’ Nelly Grey.

LESSON 6: Lincoln’s move into politics, The Lincoln/Douglas debates, songs from his 1860 campaign including Old Abe Lincoln and Lincoln and Liberty.

LESSON 7: Lincoln’s early struggles with the civil war, the song We Are Coming Father Abra’m, and that song’s connection to the Gettysburg Address.

LESSON 8: Lincoln’s love and use of music, and the South’s musical call to arms “Dixie”, ironically enough, one of Lincoln’s favorite songs too!

LESSON 9: Introduces slide guitar, it’s evolution from a slave instrument called a “Didley Stick” and a slide performance of Hard Times Come Again No More.

LESSON 10: Wraps up the series discussing the creativeprocess of writing a show and shares insights into Lincoln through Let The Band Play Dixie.


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