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Honoring Ella Jenkins

Children are her favorite people. Ella Jenkins sees them as genuine, down to earth people who should be listened to and recognized as having much to offer.  Fellow music educator Patricia Sheehan Campbell lauds her as “a pioneer in her early and continuing realization that children have something to sing about, that the essence of who they are may be expressed through song, and that much of what they need to know of their language, heritage, and current cultural concepts may be communicated to them through song.”

Through her songs, she hopes to develop greater intercultural understanding and rhythmic-consciousness, and to help people discover the joy of singing and communicating through active participation in songs.

Jenkins’ repertoire includes nursery rhymes, holiday songs, bilingual songs, African-American folk songs, international songs, rhythmic chants, and original songs. Drawing from cultures all over the world, she sings in many languages, exposing her audiences to diverse cultures and promoting greater cultural awareness.

Through call and response singing, Jenkins promotes group participation.  This began in Africa. Call-and-response singing involves a leader or leaders singing a phrase and the participants responding with another phrase.  Her goal was to break barriers between audience and performer, and turns everyone into a performer. By encouraging active participation, she promotes the development of a warm group feeling, cooperation among the participants, greater attentiveness, an enjoyment of singing, and a desire to sing. She also encourages children to lead songs, make up their own variations of songs, and experiment with fun and silly sounds. This allows children to think independently, develop leadership skills, and improvise, resulting in increased self-confidence.

In helping children discover music and participate in its creation, Jenkins provides them with a new tool of communication that they can use and enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Ella Jenkins, “The First Lady of Children’s Music, has received numerous awards during her lifetime.  In September of 2015, a park was named in her honor.  Ella Jenkins Park is one of her these many awards that have been bestowed upon her.

To the audience’s delight, at the dedication ceremony, she performed performed “Jambo”  and  “Did You Feed My Cow.”

Music is everything.  If you are going to listen to music, you should listen with the best equipment so that you can hear very sound in great detail.  When you use cheap speakers and cheap earbuds, you are missing out on a lot.  The  eon515xt is an excellent choice.

Congratulations again to Ms. Ella Jenkins and thank you so much for the hundreds of songs that you created and brightened children’s lives with over the decades!