A Family Legacy

Sheila Craig remembers church hymn written by her grandmother 50 years ago Sara Stromseth-Troy BURR OAK, IOWA – Fifty years after its publication, Sheila Craig remembers a  hymn written by her grandmother, Genevra Smith, an ode to a country church where she was a lifelong member. "The Little White Church on the Hill," penned by Smith, was completed with notation assistance...
Read More

Music As Celebration

Sara Stromseth-Troy Recently, I came across a photo of myself and a longtime family friend, Bonnie (Craw) Kosloski, from a July 4th celebration years ago. We were dressed in our red, white and blue patriotic best and sharing (or subjecting, depending on your point of view) our families to ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ on recorder. This isn’t the first or last time music accompa...
Read More

How Music Shaped A Family, Part 2

Sara Stromseth-Troy ALLEN, TEXAS -- Music has been an integral part of the Bui family for several generations.  In Part 1, patriarch Ian Bui described his life story, beginning with his childhood in Vietnam, continuing after the fall of Saigon when his family moved to the United States, and onward through the lives and accomplishments of his children. In Part 2, we  hear from ...
Read More

How Music Shaped A Family, Part 1

Sara Stromseth-Troy ALLEN, TEXAS -- Music has accompanied Ian Bui's life story, beginning with his childhood in Vietnam, continuing after the fall of Saigon when his family moved to the United States, and onward through the lives and accomplishments of his children. In Part 1, Ian describes how music education has influenced his life and the lives of his children. Ian shar...
Read More

The Christmas Kid: Musical Holiday Memories

Sara Stromseth-Troy Thanks to my unbridled enthusiasm of the holiday season, I've been called the 'Christmas Kid'. The day after Thanksgiving, I decorate at least one Christmas tree. I pick a color theme each year and make sure the ornaments and wrapping paper are complimentary. Treasured mementos are placed around the house. Perhaps most significantly for me, the Chris...
Read More

Iowa band Foot-Notes celebrates 25th anniversary with World’s Largest Schottische

1,881 dancers partake in folk dance; Guinness World  Record sought  Sara Stromseth-Troy DECORAH, IOWA – What should an Iowa band specializing in Scandinavian and Scandinavian-American old-time dance music do to celebrate its 25th anniversary? How about attempting to set a Guinness World Record? Foot-Notes is a band based in Decorah, Iowa, a town in the northeast corner ...
Read More

Iowa’s Sopha Sisters spread joy of singing far and wide

Sara Stromseth-Troy CRESCO, IOWA --Nestled in the Northeast corner of Iowa, four young sisters raise their voices in song, their harmonic blend often stopping passersby in their tracks. Addie, 14, Josie, 12, Ella, 10 and Gwen, 9, are the daughters of Steve and Julie Sopha of Cresco, Iowa. Largely self-taught and surrounded by a music-loving family, the girls listen to their...
Read More

Guitarist Kyle Chapman wishes for ‘A thriving music scene in every community’

Sara Stromseth-Troy Note: We first met Kyle Chapman in the feature story about 6-year-old guitarist and Beatles fan King Tobias. Kyle is King’s guitar teacher. In this piece, Kyle talks about his band, Fir Drive, and the recently released debut album, ‘The Block EP’, along with his dreams of seeing a thriving music scene in every community in the United States. LOS BANOS, CALI...
Read More

King Tobias: Living His Musical Dream Part 2

Sara Stromseth-Troy In the first installment of this article we met guitar prodigy and ultimate Beatles fan King Tobias and his family, and learned how Todd Rundgren facilitated King meeting one of his idols.  In Part 2, King's dreams come true. KING MEETS RINGO STARR Richard Kerris describes the meeting between King and Ringo Starr: “As soon as Ringo met King, he s...
Read More

King Tobias: Living His Musical Dream Part 1

Sara Stromseth-Troy A 6-year-old San Jose, California boy and avid Beatles fan, King Tobias, is living the musical dream of his young life. The precocious guitar player, who, in less than one year of lessons, has already mastered numerous songs by the Fab Four, got to meet two of his musical heroes (or, in King’s word, ‘brothers’): Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Ki...
Read More