K-12 assembly programs, and workshops


Heart and Place: Music of the Westward Expansion 

A look at the  Westward Expansion through the lens of music including the Lewis and Clark Expedition,  the Oregon Trail,  the cowboys, Native Americans, pioneers, and early frontier communities of the nineteenth  century American West. 

 Assembly Program: (50 minutes)  for k-12. This program includes music for guitar, fiddle, piano, singing, and the Northern Cheyenne Courting Flute. Laura takes audiences on a musical journey celebrating the history and the diverse cultures of the American West such as  Métis fiddle music, black cowboy songs, women song writers, a Native American opera composers, and Chinese railroad workers. 

Experiential Music/Dance Workshops:  (At least two visits per classroom recommended) for k-12. Explore the lives of  Western emigrants through experiential learning with traditional folk songs and dances.

Students sing and dance their way through the nineteenth century American West.

  • Repertoire includes  The Girl I Left BehindShenandoahOh Susanna, Home Sweet Home, Beautiful Dreamer,  Buffalo Gals, Old Joe Clark,  and Arkansas Traveler, to name a few.
  • Dances include the Schottische, the Virginia Reel, the Polka,  the Waltz, and Square Dancing,

The Heart and Place program may be tailored to a variety of needs.  For example, a school may book a single assembly program, or may choose to schedule an experiential learning residency which combines an assembly program followed up with multiple classroom visits.

“Where there’s a story, there’s music,” Laura Dean said as she explored the theme of Westward Expansion via songs and the stories behind the songs. Dean entertained an audience of all ages at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls and at Great Falls schools. Her selections showcased her musical range and embraced many musical traditions, among them Cheyenne, Blackfoot and pioneer, from folk music to brass band pieces to elegant ballads. This is music grandparents in the large audience probably knew well, such as “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” but how many children growing up today have heard “Camptown Races”? The music was well performed, the show was well-paced and the audience delighted.”  –Kristen Inbody, writer for the Great Falls Tribune

Sing-Along with Laura  (for K-12 and adult communities)

Laura leads a  casual and entertaining hour of singing featuring standards, folk songs, musicals, and pop favorites. Laura provides the song sheets and the accompaniment on the piano and guitar!

*Each sessions includes gentle movement, vocal warm-ups, and wide variety of songs (standards, folk songs, musicals).








Laura (front and center) leading a sing-along at Rancho La Puerta, Baja Mexico

The benefits of singing according to Healthline.com:
1. Relieves stress.
2. Stimulates the immune response.
3. Increases pain threshold.
4. May improve snoring.
5. Improves lung function.
6. Develops a sense of community.
7. Enhances memory in people with dementia.
8. Helps with grief.
9. Improves mental health and mood.
10. Improves speaking ability.



Please contact Laura for Schedule of Fees, 2023:


Sign up for my newsletter for the latest musical messages delivered to your inbox!

One thought on “K-12 assembly programs, and workshops

  1. Jane Hartman says:

    Hi from Jane Hartman in Choteau! Because of a need in our community, I have ended up teaching beginning piano at the end of my nursing career at age 69 (eye roll appropriate!) and am very interested in any educational materials you may have for purchase that would be appropriate for K-8 students. I visited with Al Wiseman and he told me about your wonderful work. I viewed a copy of your westward expansion book and have subsequently ordered a copy. When ordering, reference was made to educational offerings and I wondered if there were any materials I could use with my students. I do a one hour group lesson 6 times a year and the students and I have really enjoyed exploring the historical aspects of our music during these lessons. Congratulations on your wonderful work!

Leave a Reply