D U C A T I O N
Schools who have participated in CWP
Washington (Sunnyside, WA)
Keene-Riverview (Prosser, WA)
Roosevelt (Granger, WA)
Toledo, WA Schools
By ROSS COURTNEY
SUNNYSIDE -- Odes to patriotism, pets, schools and, yes,
SquarePants come together on several compact discs written and
recorded by Sunnyside
elementary school students.
During the past two years, roaming musical educators Cowboy
Buck and Elizabeth have visited Pioneer, Washington and
Outlook elementary schools to help students produce their own
Last month, Buck and Elizabeth compiled Pioneer Elementary's
The two musicians help kick-start the creative process, but
all the lyrics come from the children's imaginations.
Then the musicians record the children's voices.
"The kids come up with ideas themselves; he sort of guides
them," says Cricket Van Pelt, a fourth-grade teacher at
Buck says the purpose of the songwriting "is to get crazy and
wild." They like silly songs -- such as "SpongeBob Comes
to School" and "Yummy Macaroni" -- as well as songs like "I'm
The husband and wife duo, whose real names are Paul and
Elizabeth Stierle of Castle Rock, first perform a school
assembly. Then they visit classrooms one at a time and
lead students in composing lyrics.
They sing the lyrics back to the students, recording with
The next day, they visit the schools again, recording the
students singing choruses or sections of the verses.
They splice in as much of the student vocals as they can, then
play the songs at one more assembly.
Often, they throw in an evening assembly, too, for parents.
Buck and Elizabeth give one CD to each participating teacher,
then charge $3 each after that. They don't attempt to
copyright any of the songs. Instead, they encourage the
school to copy them and sell them for fundraisers.