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updated: 10/11/2017 5:17 PM

Singer Bill Harley teaches, performs at District 158 schools

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  • Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and storyteller Bill Harley talks to students Wednesday during an assembly at Martin Elementary School in Lake in the Hills. Harley has been leading songwriting workshops at two Lake in the Hills elementary schools this week and is performing a free concert Thursday at Martin.

      Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and storyteller Bill Harley talks to students Wednesday during an assembly at Martin Elementary School in Lake in the Hills. Harley has been leading songwriting workshops at two Lake in the Hills elementary schools this week and is performing a free concert Thursday at Martin.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Storyteller Bill Harley performs Wednesday during a student assembly at Martin Elementary School in Lake in the Hills.

      Storyteller Bill Harley performs Wednesday during a student assembly at Martin Elementary School in Lake in the Hills.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Martin Elementary School fifth-grader Rossi Cacciottolo reacts to Grammy-winning singer Bill Harley's performance Wednesday during an assembly at the Lake in the Hills school.

      Martin Elementary School fifth-grader Rossi Cacciottolo reacts to Grammy-winning singer Bill Harley's performance Wednesday during an assembly at the Lake in the Hills school.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Video: The Freedom Bird

 
 

Students at two Lake in the Hills elementary schools will learn the art of songwriting from recording artist Bill Harley.

Harley, a Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and author, has been storytelling and performing during assemblies all week for students in kindergarten through fifth grades at Chesak and Martin elementary schools. He will conduct songwriting workshops with students Thursday and Friday at Martin.

"All the grades have just been enthralled," said Leann Runyanwood, music teacher at Chesak. "They are super excited about him being there. It's the first time a musician, author has been an artist in residence on our campus."

In preparation for Harley's visit, students have been listening to some of his songs and stories, and reading his books, she added.

Most of Harley's assemblies have been humorous, involving singalongs, and dealing with topics such as self expression, Runyanwood said.

Others have touched on more serious themes, such as the story of The Freedom Bird, which Harley wrote and performed, that will lead to classroom discussions, she added.

Harley is a two-time Grammy Award winner for Best Spoken Word Album for Children. He tours nationwide as an author, performing artist and keynote speaker and has released a dozen albums combining songs and storytelling in a humorous, family-friendly style. He has written several children's, young adult, and picture books, as well as songbooks and other books for educators.

"It's a wonderful experience so far and they are only halfway done," Runyanwood said.

Harley also will perform a free concert from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Martin Elementary School, 10920 Reed Road, Lake in the Hills. It is open to the public. RSVP to attend at signupgenius.com. Donations will be accepted.

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