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Artist-In-Residence Marianne McAuliffe teaching TAES students about Native American culture

Artist-In-Residence Marianne McAuliffe, a Native American Folk Artist, was selected this year to come into Tyrone Area Elementary School for a two week residency and offer her knowledge and creativity in Native American culture and folk art.
Since October 25 and lasting until Thursday, November 8, McAuliffe has been working with a 15 member core group of fourth grade students learning to play the Indian flute and other art forms of the American Indian, with in-depth learning about the art form being presented.
McAuliffe also works with all the students from second to fourth grade. The second graders have made Native American necklaces, and the third and fourth graders are making rattles out of gourds and dreamcatchers wrapped in leather.
At the end of McAuliffe’s stay this Thursday, November 8, there will be a recital in the high school auditorium at 9 a.m. for all elementary students featuring McAuliffe and the core group performing and sharing Native American songs and culture that they have learned over the past two weeks. The rest of the students participating in the residency will also sing a “Cherokee Morning Song”.
Funding for McAuliffe’s residency is being provided by a grant through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, SAMA (Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art), the Tyrone Area School District, and the PTO. These programs implement the PA Arts and Humanity Standards. Elementary Art teacher Ann Yaniello and Elementary Music teacher Myra Hess assist in finding an artist for the residency program.
McAuliffe is being sponsored by SAMA, and she has been studying Native American culture most of her life. Much of her hands-on knowledge has been imparted by several prolific teachers, including R. Carlos Nakai, Navajo/Ute, who introduced her to the magic of the Native American Flute, and has also taught her leather-working, music and philosophy. She also credits J.T. Garrett, Ed.D. M.P.H. and Michael T. Garrett, Ph.D., both of the Eastern Band Cherokee, for sharing valuable information. The two are her mentors in Cherokee medicine, the way of right relationship, and Cherokee life. She is currently learning the Cherokee language.
McAuliffe’s residencies incorporate performing and teaching Native American flute music, storytelling, creating authentic American Indian items such as rattles and dreamcatchers, and sharing a marvelous culture.
She is an active member of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, SAMA and ArtsPath artist roster, the International Native American Flute Association, and the National Storytelling Network.
Currently, McAuliffe has interrupted recording her music to work on a project to promote relaxation and healing through meditation and music. But, she also enjoys working with children and incorporating her knowledge as she is doing in her residency at TAES.
“I love working with children and I love seeing them grow with the things that we do, things they have never done before,” said McAuliffe. “It’s wonderful sharing the knowledge I’ve garnered over the past 15 years. I found my niche, my path…and like any great joy, it’s meant to be shared.”
McAuliffe said 20 years ago she never would have thought she’d be doing something like this, sharing her knowledge of the Native American Flute with kids and adults who’ve never played the instrument.
“It’s very fulfilling. The flute is very easy to play, if you can breathe and move your fingers, you can play it – and the kids are having a blast with it,” added McAuliffe.
McAuliffe stated that her time at TAES has been wonderful and the teachers and staff have been so extremely cooperative. She has done other residencies at other schools that have all been good, but she said Tyrone has been exceptional.
“Ann Yaniello (Elementary Art) and Myra Hess (Elementary Music) have been the most gracious and accommodating teachers I’ve ever worked with – I’ve just really enjoyed my time here,” ended McAuliffe.