Stories From Women Who Walk

How America the Dream Came to Be With Award-Winning Recording Artist and Composer Steve Schuch. Part 1.

Episode Summary

Join us for a most wonderful story about how musing on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream!" speech and America the Beautiful traveled a musical way to becoming a new America the Dream.

Episode Notes

Coming to you from Whidbey Island, Washington this is Stories From Women Who Walk. I’m your host, Diane Wyzga.

Today we have a special bonus episode because the boys are back in town. My guest is Steve Schuch joining us from Hancock, New Hampshire. Steve is a former Peace Corps volunteer, Audubon naturalist, award-winning recording artist and author, composer, musician, and the recipient of the Parent’s Choice Gold Award for his CD Trees of Life. You’ve heard his music on NPR and PBS. But mostly I’ve known Steve as my brother-in-law. I’ve invited him here to share with us a most wonderful story about how musing on Martin Luther King, Jr. and America the Beautiful traveled all its musical way to becoming a new America the Dream

What makes this such a neat story? Let’s hear how all this came to be. Welcome to the podcast, Steve!

Minutes: 37:01

0:00 to 2:22 Intro

Start From Where You Are.

Minute 2:22 to 6:34  Steve as Musician Back Story 

On your website you have a darling quote by a 3rd grader who wrote: "I really likt your songs and storeys. What do you do for a liveing?" -Barry, 3rd grade. My listeners have heard 2 of your compositions: Mer’s Waltz that underscores my daily 60 Seconds podcast, and Entering Erdenheim which introduces and closes my guest interviews. How did music catch your attention?

Minute 6:34 to 11:46  Symphony of Whales

How It All Began

Minute 11:46 to 15:55 From Small Town Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration to Music Mission 

I understand that you and (your wife, my sister) Marilyn were at a local New Hampshire town gathering in January of 2019 celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday and you had this idea......tell us more about that:

What was intriguing about the Martin Luther King , Jr. language?

Minute 15:55 to 19:36  Katherine Lee Bates and America the Beautiful

For those who may not know, 130 years ago Katherine Lee Bates wrote a poem which came to be known as America the Beautiful. Would you tell us more about that and how it came to be our unofficial anthem

What kept you moving forward with this work as it morphed from project to mission?

Minute 19:36 to 21:00  America the Dream  - The Evolution

The evolution of the poem which had been set to music and in time becoming our unofficial national anthem - America the Beautiful  - partnered with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream!" speech

Let’s hear and talk about some of the arrangements our listener will discover on the America the Dream website

Minute 21:00 to 26:05  America the Dream Arrangement III

Tell us about what we just heard and why this is not another rehash America the Beautiful

Minute 26:05 to 28:00  How these voice were brought together

Minute 28:00 to 37:01   America the Dream Arrangement IV

This brings tears to my eyes!

Minute 35:00 to 39:00       You use the analogy of a baseball game when you were talking about this work. What does that mean for people who haven’t been the website yet?

Here we are, at the end of the road but not the journey. Thank you for listening to Part 1 of this episode of Stories From Women Who Walk with your host Diane Wyzga and my guest recording artist, musician, composer, and brother-in-law Steve Schuch. We’ll pick up with Part 2 next Thursday to hear more music and how musing on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream and America the Beautiful traveled all its musical way to becoming a new America the Dream.

Remember to visit Steve and Night Heron Music as well as check out the many free resources, sheet music, music, and videos on America the Dream. And, check out the over 200 episodes of Stories From Women Who Walk found on Simplecast or your favorite podcast platform. Come for the stories - stay for the magic! Speaking of magic, I hope you’ll subscribe, leave us a nice shout out on social media, and join us next time! You will have wonderful company as we walk our lives together !


Steve Schuch BIO and Testimonials

Steve Schuch started violin at the age of seven. He began playing professionally while still in high school. Later at Oberlin College he continued studying both music and biology. There he started listening to different kinds of music beyond just classical, picked up his first used $25 guitar, and began writing his first songs.

After college Steve spent two and a half years as a Peace Corps volunteer, planting trees with farmers in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. There he listened to the different melodies and rhythms and began writing more of his own music. Many evenings, a guitar would be passed around a room full of people. By lantern light, young and old alike shared music and stories over cups of ginger root tea and home grown coffee.

Since returning to the United States in 1984, Steve and his music have embraced both the classical and folk realms. Haunting violin and whale calls... music and tales of Ireland... a pizzicato interpretation of a Picasso painting... these are just part of Steve's wide-ranging repertoire. Many of his pieces have been featured on National Public Radio and PBS.

For four years Steve taught a graduate course on integrating music and storytelling into classroom curriculum. A former Audubon naturalist, Steve lives on a farm with his wife and various creatures. Personal interests include white water canoeing, Mexican food, and relating to large reptiles.

Honors include composer awards, Artist Fellowship Awards, and five fiddling championships. Steve's recordings with The Night Heron Consort are national bestsellers on the North Star label. His latest book, A Symphony of Whales, has received five national book awards. His latest CD, Trees of Life, has received a Parent's Choice Gold Award.

"Schuch conveys awe with an economy of language that approaches poetry." ~ The Boston Sunday Globe

"Riveting Indeed." ~ The Smithsonian

"There is great dignity in the simple words, which communicate the author's respect for what he can't explain." ~ -The New York Times

"Warmth and storytelling magic." ~  Los Angeles Times

About Steve's Composing and Playing

"Exceptionally fine... Schuch brings as much intelligence and skill to folk music as he does to classical." ~  The Boston Globe

"Downright exhilarating. Here's a player who doesn't recite music, he paints it." ~ The Lowell Sun

"I really likt your songs and storeys. What do you do for a liveing?" ~ Barry, 3rd grade


America the Dream: 

To find out more from Steve, tap the Interview Clips: 

Steve Schuch and Night Heron Music:


Stories From Women Who Walk Production Team 

Podcaster: Diane F Wyzga: Quarter Moon Story Arts

Music: Entering Erdenheim from Crossing the Waters by Steve Schuch & Night Heron Music

Sound Editing: Dawin Carlisle & First Class Reels

All content and image © 2019 - Present: for credit and attribution Quarter Moon Story Arts