ONCE UPON A TIME IN TEXAS: THE SONGS
The core of Once Upon A Time In Texas is a series of original and traditional ballads performed with guitar and vocal. These are not childrens' songs; rather, they are musical works that effectively narrate and dramatize the events that helped shape not only Texas, but our entire nation. Although the program emphasizes the revolutionary period of Texas' history, it also includes songs that focus on lesser-known regional historical events (depending on the location of the performance). Some of the songs in Once Upon A Time In Texas are:
TRAVIS' LETTER FROM THE ALAMO
The famous letter written by Colonel William Barret Travis appealing for reinforcements at the beginning of the siege of The Alamo. Students will be familiar with this letter from their Texas history curriculum. This rendition conveys both the urgency and the emotional gravity of the Texians' situation during the early days of the siege.
BALLAD OF THE ALAMO
A classic ballad, originally penned for the 1960 movie, The Alamo. This song presents a dramatic and colorful narrative of the battle, outlining the key figures and events from beginning to end. Over the past 50 years, The Ballad of The Alamo has sparked the imagination of many a young Texan, igniting a lifelong interest in Texas history.
"Remember The Alamo - Remember Goliad", was the Texians' battle cry in the final chapter of The Texas Revolution. The battle of San Jacinto lasted only 18 minutes, yet created an independent Republic of Texas, and paved the way for The U.S. to acquire approximately one-third of its current land area. This song portrays General Sam Houston giving his victory speech after that decisive battle.
THE CRASH AT CRUSH
The curious tale of an 1897 train wreck, staged by the Katy Railroad as a publicity stunt, which ended in tragedy. For the student who has developed an interest in history, this and similar songs illustrate the important point that there is an abundance of interesting and colorful history to be discovered outside of most history books.
VIDEO: I'VE BEEN EVERYWHERE (IN TEXAS)
VIDEO: MAN WALKS AMONG US
ONCE UPON A TIME IN TEXAS: THE DIALOG
Brian is a strong advocate for literacy, education, and success, and is adept at framing his dialog to promote those values. He narrates the songs chronologically, and will typically call upon students to answer simple questions. The overall tone is casual; however, it is an acoustic "listening" concert, and audiences are encouraged to practice proper audience etiquette and engagement.
Toward the end of the presentation, Brian will open the floor to a fun, friendly Q&A session, inviting students to ask questions about the history behind the songs, the songwriting process, musicianship, travels and experiences in the music business, etc.
Teachers are encouraged to work Brian's songs into lesson plans, creative exercises, etc., both before and after the presentation. When done before the presentation, these activities tend to create increased interest and excitement for the presentation date; students feel more engaged, and will study harder and take a deeper interest. During the presentation, students will be better prepared to answer questions Brian may ask, as well as to ask thoughtful questions themselves. Many educators associate Once Upon A Time In Texas with their students' earning better grades in Texas history after attending the presentation.
Once Upon A Time In Texas is geared toward grades 3 through 8, and Brian tailors the content and dialog of each presentation to the grade level(s) for which he is performing. Grade levels below 3rd are welcome to attend the presentation, but only if they are within an audience that also includes target grade levels (3 through 8). This is an important point, and if you have questions about this, please include them in your inquiry email.
Brian typically closes the show with a positive message about the importance of education, the significance of history to current events and personal experience, the contributions of diverse cultures to history, or other inspirational/motivational topics. Brian can tailor portions of his dialog to these or any other campaigns that your school may be promoting -- reading, anti-drug, etc. (please make any such requests at the time of booking).