Fourth and fifth graders at Afton-Lakeland Elementary are making music, Nashville style. The students worked with country singer-songwriter Jeff Dayton to write their own songs. Following a week-long residency program, fourteen groups performed their songs live in-concert for the school. Some of the songs were fun and silly, others more poignant.
Dayton, a Minnesota native, has worked with country greats such as Glen Campbell, Kenny Chesney and Buck Owens. George Strait recorded one of his songs. Dayton said he could imagine some of the students’ songs being played on the radio. Dayton, who has performed in all 50 state and ten different countries, said he is very impressed by the students and staff at Afton-Lakeland Elementary.
“I have never encountered a school that has this quality of love and compassion for its kids and the success that comes out of this building,” said Dayton.
Dayton said years from now the students might not remember the musical lessons they learned, but they will remember the experience forever.
Mrs. Sortedahl came up with the songwriting residency idea several years ago. She and her musician husband are longtime friends of Dayton. The project is funded by The Partnership Plan, Afton-Lakeland PTA and St. Croix Valley Foundation.