LETTERS FROM THE RANCH

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Steamboat Springs

Dear Friends,

I am sure that I already told you how we started each school day by carrying our flag outside from our classroom. The pupils take turns at carrying the flag out and securing the base of the flagstaff in the socket, which our cowboy friends had made and nailed to the corner of our schoolhouse. Then, we saluted while we pledged allegiance to the flag and sang "America."

Although a national anthem for our country has not been declared, "America" is unofficially, at least in this area, considered our national anthem. We understand that a movement is under way to have pupils of all the public schools in the nation to decide by vote as to what song will become the official national anthem. From what we hear, it seems almost sure that either "America" or "The Star Spangled Banner" will be chosen. We hope that "America" will be the one chosen for it is less difficult for the youngsters to sing. I guess that time will tell.

Well to continue with an account of our music lessons at Collum Creek School. A little examination of Johnny's harmonica disclosed the letter "G" engraved in one end of the instrument. The "G" indicated that the songs sung or played on the instrument and started in the natural key will be in the key of G. The G chord is nearest the center of the octave, nearest the center of the harmonica.

Johnny didn't know that by moving the harmonica to the right, while he kept his mouth in the original position, he would become aligned with a lower set of notes. And if he moved a full octave, he can play the same chord in the same key of "G," but a full set of notes lower. Likewise, if he moved the instrument to the left, his mouth will be positioned to play the "G" chord in a key a full note higher than the basic "G" chord.

In almost no time everyone in the Collum Creek School had learned to play and sing accompaniment to the harmonica music. And, everyone was taking turns at chording on the Orr girls' old guitar.

The old guitar hadn't been played in years because no one in the Orr family knew how to tune the instrument. But with the harmonica to serve as a "pitch pipe," all the notes in the octave could be identified and any one of the guitars six strings (E, A, D, G, B, E) could be tuned to match the corresponding note on the harmonica then the other five strings could be tuned by "cross fretting."

Hurrah for Collum Creek!

With Love,

Anna

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