Minnesota School Of Music - July 2021


What do your kids know about the Fourth of July? Do they know it’s a day when you have a barbecue, spend time with friends and neighbors, and watch a fireworks show? These hallmarks of the holiday

Two future presidents signed the Declaration of Independence: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. They both died exactly 50 years later, on July 4, 1826. This fact is an interesting coincidence sure to fascinate both kids and adults. It’s also a great way to introduce kids to some of the Founding Fathers and share how they helped shape the United States today. In 1776, the year the United States was founded, only 2.5 million people lived here. Today, the U.S. population is 331 million. Lots of people have been born in the United States since it was founded, and millions more came here from other places, hoping to find a better life. Many succeeded, too. Many people want to call this country home! On the Fourth of July, around 155 million hot dogs are eaten in the United States. Okay, so this fact might not have anything to do with American history, but it’s still pretty funny! If anything, the fact that we have so many hot dogs to eat on that day is evidence of the prosperity so many people enjoy in the United States of America.

certainly do make it fun and memorable, but they don’t really exemplify why we celebrate the Fourth of July, the anniversary of when the United States declared its independence from Britain. So, along with the sparklers and hot dogs, here are a few fun facts about Independence Day you can share with your kids to help them understand the significance of the holiday. The Fourth of July marks our country’s independence because it’s when the Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence. This fact might seem like a no-brainer, but it contextualizes the holiday for kids. It’s a great jumping-off point to talk about why the United States wanted to be its own country, what the Continental Congress was, what the Declaration of Independence said, and what it means to “ratify” something.


We’re happy to introduce John Hodges as MnSOM’s office manager! John joined the MnSOM family last year as a guitar teacher after finishing his seminary degree at Yale and relocating from the East Coast with his wife, Hopewell, who is doing a Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota. John is a great musician and teacher, but he also brings a diverse skill set to his position at MnSOM.

where he grew up to his time at Yale. It even went across the pond with him when he studied for a stint at Oxford University. Though his travels and involvement in the church community, John has had the opportunity to play with lots of talented musicians and practice new genres like gospel and neo-soul. When he moved to Minnesota last year, he began at MnSOM as a part-time teacher but happily jumped on the opportunity when Eric recruited him to full-time office staff. “I really like what the Nehrin family has built with his school. There is a culture of mutual encouragement and people are excited about learning and the students,” John said. He’s looking forward to helping Eric continue to build on the school’s excellent reputation and expand the musical offerings to serve even more students. As the office manager, John will be the liaison between staff and instructors, making sure that everyone’s schedules run smoothly. He’ll also be helping Eric plan and execute events and recitals, which are in high demand after a year spent largely at home. When it comes to logistics, John is a pro. He got married and moved across the country during a pandemic year. He’s excited to put down roots here and says he and his wife love exploring the city and state they now call home.

John’s academic background is in Biblical studies and divinity, but music has always been an important part of his life thanks to his parents. “My mom is quite musical. She sings and learned guitar with me when I first took lessons in elementary school,” he said. “My dad can’t really even clap on beat,” John jokes, “but he was also a huge musical influence and is responsible for a lot of musical taste,” including taking him to see his first concert — Bob Dylan — when John was 7. The guitar lessons John did with his mom as a kid stuck. He’s continued to play guitar and write songs, and that hobby has traveled with him across the country from Montana

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