He taught the teachers who taught us music. He was so generous with all the work he did in his life. Understanding that the value of finding all of these songs and gathering all of these songs was to spread them far and wide. He published books of the songs; made videos of how to teach them; created the amazing Revels. All of those contributions are so helpful to us now. We teach songs he discovered in our HooteNanny music classes; we sing songs we learned via his work on our CDs and in our concerts; we use techniques we gleaned from his videos in our teaching; we included songs in our book All Together Singing in the Kitchen:Creative Ways to Make and Listen to Music as a Family. But all of that pales in comparison to how we have internalized the memories of his singing and teaching in special assemblies at our elementary school.
My most vivid recollection is of One Man Shall Mow My Meadow. Jack took his arm down by his side and as he walked across the front of the gymnasium singing “6 man, 5 man, 4 man, 3 man, 2 man 1 one and one more…” we raised it over his head in an arc. He taught us about how we can feel the music in our bodies, how the aural is visual, how these songs that are hundreds of years old are still precious and valid and beautiful today.
Today we are going Down to the Charles River where we will sing with so many others songs about rivers, fall and community. Come join us. We’ll be the ones, arms over our heads, trying to conjure up the joy and energy of Jack Langstaff as we lead you in singing One Man Shall Mow My Meadow. Our Dad’s gonna sing with us too. You should bring your voice and clapping hands and make a great big joyful noise with us by the river.
A Family Celebration of the Autumnal Equinox
along the Banks of the Charles River, Cambridge, MA
Sunday, September 18th
Link to Info: http://www.revels.org/calendar/riversing/