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Bullfrog Goes Takes the Songs Back to Where they Came From
Thanks to funding from the "Support the Arts" Car Tag, Bullfrog was able to travel hop across Alabama to sing songs with children in Florence and Lauderdale County in October 2007. Wanda Johnson told stories about Byron Arnold and the women who sang for him in 1947 and Joyce Cauthen taught songs that were shared by Martha Drisdale of Sheffield (who taught at the Maude Lindsay Kindergarten when it was first established) and Mae Irvine of Florence.
In January 2008 the Bullfrog Jumped tour went to Mobile, Grove Hill and Atmore where they sang songs and played games that were sung 60 years ago by Annie Laurie Carleton and Mary Chapman in Grove Hill, Pansy Richardson in Mobile and Mozella Longmire of Atmore. We were thrilled that Mrs. Longmire was able to join us at A.C. Moore School in Atmore and teach us how she played "Little Sally Walker" and "Shoo Rye." We recorded the singing at each school and Mrs. Cauthen is sorry that because she was holding the microphone her voice is the loudest one you hear. You can tell, though, that the students were really good singers. We hope they are still singing those songs.
If you click on the names of the schools below, you can see a larger photo and hear the way they sang.
Bullfrog In the Classroom:
Our on-line Learning Guide is ready for school teachers, home-schoolers, and activity directors to use. It was funded by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and created by Paddy Bowman and Marsha Weiner. The AFA hopes that it will encourage students to sing the Bullfrog songs and contribute to their understanding of the meaning and value of folklore. If you have suggestions that might improve the guide, please e-mail us.
Mary Chapman is alive and well...and living in Jacksonville, Florida!
For years we researched the singers on Bullfrog Jumped and never could find Mary Chapman. After the CD came out in 2006, relatives in Grove Hill read about the CD in the Clarke County News and let the editor, Jim Cox, know that she has been living in Jacksonville, Florida, for the last 40 years with her husband. She is Mary Courinton now. We sent her copies of the CD and she was thrilled to be on it. She now mainly sings in church.
Mary Chapman with baby George Carleton, ca. 1947
Photo of Jane Peavy Found
Jane Peavy of Atmore taught school for more than 50 years and then served as a librarian for ten more years. Recently Emily Mims of the Atmore Chamber of Commerce sent us this photo. On the back it read: "1931-32 Rachel Patterson Elementary, Miss Jane Peavy." We believe that Mrs. Peavy is the teacher at the back of the classroom watching a demonstration by an expert spinner. Note the samples of hand-made thread and cloth on the wall. It is evident that Mrs. Peavy cared about traditional music and crafts and passed her interest on to her students.