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by Janet Nesler

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Writing “Songs with a message” has always been the goal of International Recording Artist and Songwriter Steve Free.  Free has achieved this goal many times but on May 16 it will be in a special way.  The message will be given in a concert and will be presented by the sixth grade class at Alverda Reed Elementary School in Georgetown, Ohio.  The subject will be the environment and Free will be singing his own songs with the students.

“This year, the sixth grade class was asked to present a program at the end of the school year”, said Beverly McClain, Social Studies teacher at Alverda Reed Elementary.  “The class had been studying the early civilizations which began along the river and had already made a trip to the river in October.  We also studied the music of the storytellers of history.  The Griots of ancient Africa and the balladeers of the Middle Ages”, McClain continued,  “Steve Free and his music just came to mind.  It’s a wonderful thing that Steve does when he works with the students. His sharing of his Native American heritage was another thing we focus on in the sixth grade in our study of the global movement of man in North America.  The children learn so much from his lesson on the “beat of the heart” with the drum sounds of the Native American.”

McClain then approached the music teacher, Sheryl Gunno, and mentioned her idea for the program.  Fascinated by the idea, Gunno listened to Free’s music for the first time.

“We both agreed, it could easily connect to the standards and I began to brainstorm a script”, said McClain.  “The children really got excited about the possibilities and they loved his songs, memorized all the words and made some visuals to go with them.”

The school gym will be decorated with things that have been somewhat constant since the beginning of time, the moon, the stars, the trees and the river.  Students from Sallyann Defosse’s art class will be doing artwork to connect to the music and a power point program created by the students will play during the reading of the script and the singing of the songs.

In April, Free and a member of his band, Wyatt Bates, visited the school and helped the children prepare for their concert.  His songs about Ohio “Down in Ohio” and the river “Down by the River” will be used in the concert along with his nationally acclaimed religious song “Just a Baby Boy”.

“We have studied the major religions of the world too and we realized we could also include the song “Just a Baby Boy”, said McClain.

The children have learned during the year that to survive we all must be aware of the world around us and conserve our natural resources.  Free tells
this in a great way with his song “When the Trees Are All Gone”, which will be used as a concluding song.

The concert will be given at Alverda Reed Elementary in Georgetown, OH on Monday, May 16 at 7:00pm.  Alverda Reed Elementary is located at 405 W. Plum St.  

The Georgetown Arts Council has invited Free and The Whole Band to give a Community Concert.  The concert will be given on Thursday, June 2 at 7:00pm on the Courthouse Square in Georgetown, Ohio.  In case of rain the concert will be given in the Old Gaslight Theatre.  Free has invited the students to join him and sing their songs. 

Steve Free is a 7 Time ASCAP Award Winner and his new Single “My Guiding Light” has debuted on the National Christian/Country Charts at # 39 as of last week.  The National Christian/Country Chart lists the top 80 USA Country/Christian & Gospel songs. 

On the Worldwide Mainstream (Overseas Only) “Most played “Major & Indie” Artists Chart of April 1 –15 2005 Free was #87 out of a list of 220 Artists

Free just learned that his latest CD “All Points Between” has been nominated for Album of the Year  by the Americana Music Association.  The Awards will be presented on September 9, 2005 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Free appears each Thursday at Ye Ole Lantern Restaurant in the Boneyfiddle area of Portsmouth from 6:30 to 10:00pm.  He travels to many schools in Ohio sharing his songs and Native American Heritage with students.






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