HOOTENANNY: A Folk Song Sing-a-Long

What is a Hootenanny?


“The hootenanny is to folk, what the jam session is to jazz.” —Joan Baez


The hootenanny is a folk music party – a chance to share songs and sing together. The term was first used in Seattle in the 1930s to describe a monthly musical fundraiser that occurred in the city and through the folk music revival of the 1960s, and became a way for young people of all backgrounds to connect, share songs and sing together during times of unrest and social tension.

School Show


Bilingual singer-songwriters Will Stroet of Will’s Jams and Jessica Mai’s new young audience show celebrates folk music with an emphasis on Canadian songwriters. The main objective is to collectively join everyone’s voices in song to share in the joy of singing, while also learning about several singer-songwriters and the different styles of music from the folk cannon (folk, blues, country, traditional). Folk is by definition the “music of the people,” and in this interactive performance, Will and Jessica will bring audiences along on a folk-music journey through Canada and the U.S. In addition to sharing stories about the songwriters, students and teachers will also learn about Canadian and North American history, diverse Canadian perspectives, the songwriting process, and about different acoustic musical instruments. 


Will and Jess will share songs by iconic Canadian and American folk musicians including Joni Mitchell, Neil young, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Stan Rogers, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Dolly Parton and Woody Guthrie, as well as some traditional French Canadian folk songs. They will also share a couple of their own songs inspired by these folk legends. They hope this show will inspire children to sing and even become songwriters themselves. 

Grade Suitability: K - 12

Duration:  60 mins

Capacity: 500 students


Will and Jess can lead English or French half-day, full-day or multi-day songwriting residencies with students in English or French. Students will learn about the basics of songwriting including lyric, chorus and verse composition; rhythm and rhyme schemes, melody; and about writing song structures for folk music. Students will then collaboratively compose a song tied to a curriculum theme or topic with Will and Jess that will be ready to perform in a final presentation. Recording the song at the school with the students is an additional add on available to schools.


It's Canadian history, it's interactive, it's entertaining, and it's a great way for the kids to sing and to learn at the same time.

—Mr. Singh, Vice Principal, Trafalgar Elementary

© 2017 by Pebble Star Artists Inc.

With support from: