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Lincoln Academy beginning guitar students playing at the Lincoln Home. From Left: Patrick McGowan, Dalton Theriault, Alejandro Ramos, Ali Gorrill, Jennifer (Maoying) Yu. Standing: Beth Preston.

On Friday, March 4, Lincoln Academy’s Beginner Guitar and Ukulele classes performed at the Lincoln Home in Newcastle. These classes are taught by Beth Preston, who also teaches Vocal Performance at LA. “The guitar and ukulele classes are not required to perform in public, but these kids were up for it.”
In addition to playing at the Lincoln Home, the ukulele class decided to play for the Lincoln Academy Friday Community Meeting in front of an audience of 600 students and teachers. “Performing for such a big audience is a bit nerve-wracking,” said Ms. Preston, but it’s always a good experience. The Lincoln Academy assembly audiences are supportive and attentive. It’s always a pleasure to watch kids perform for their peers.”

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Ukulele students playing in the Lincoln Academy Friday Community Meeting. From left: Phuong Nguyen, Margaret Skiff, Abby Teele, Beth Preston, and Addie Vermilion.

Not only is performing for an audience an important part of musical education, learning this repertoire of songs from the 30s, 40’s and 50s meant learning chords that were more involved and very challenging. The students loved the experience.

Patrick McGowan, Dalton Theriault, Alejandro Ramos, Ali Gorrill, Jennifer (Maoying) Yu

Patrick McGowan and Dalton Theriault, play “All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley at the Lincoln Home.

“Some of the people got teary-eyed,” said Lincoln Academy senior Margaret Skiff, a member of the ukulele class.

Addie Vermillion, another senior ukulele student, said, “it was great to see that they knew the songs and sang along.”The students looked festive for the occasion, wearing shirts borrowed from John Strong, who is Ms. Preston’s husband. “We loved the Hawaiian shirts that Ms. Preston’s husband brought for us to wear,” said Alejandro Ramos, a senior from Spain who is in the beginning guitar class.

Senior Allie Gorill plays "American Pie" on guitar at the Lincoln Home.

Senior Allie Gorill plays “American Pie” on guitar at the Lincoln Home.

“Guitar and ukulele are instruments these students can play for their whole lives,” said Preston. “And playing for an audience is part of honing their skills.”