Photocredit: My Phone - aren't they adorable???
BY: RACHEL SMITH
Being a transplant to Clear Lake, I often wonder what it’s like to be a kid in this town. I can’t imagine growing up here, getting to spend every summer ‘at the lake’ simply because it’s home.
I’ve learned, thanks to my children, that growing up in Clear Lake is special. Not just because most kids become pros at a wide variety of water activities by the time they graduate, but because they’re one of the few schools that include a special piece of Rock ‘n Roll history in their curriculum.
The Winter Dance Party Education programs have varied throughout the years, but the focus has always been to share the story of the Day the Music died with the students. In 2003, the Wednesday night sock hop was opened at the Surf Ballroom. It became a highlighted kick-off event for the community to start the 3-day Winter Dance Party. In 2009, the sock hop morphed into the Family Sock Hop with the intention of involving kids and their families. Tickets are given to each student at no cost in hopes to draw a large crowd. And boy does it ever! It’s always a night packed full of family fun and entertainment!
Mallory Huffman is the Education coordinator at the Surf Ballroom. Each year, she spends time visiting each classroom at Clear Creek Elementary. Her visits include a lesson on Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. She also highlights some history of the Surf Ballroom itself, and even teaches the kids a couple of 50’s style dance moves.
After visiting the school, the students are bussed to the Surf Ballroom on Friday morning for a special kids show. I’ve been lucky to attend this special show for the past few years as my children attend Clear Creek, and it’s so fun to see all the kids dressed up, ready to shimmy and shake to some old time Rock ‘n Roll.
I asked a few of the lower elementary teachers to talk with their students about these special events. The feedback was adorable (and priceless, really). Basically, the younger kids are just excited to go to a dance party. “The Surf concert” was a term used a few times. The girls, of course, can't wait to get dressed up in their poodle skirts and saddle shoes. The boys, however, seemed to be more interested in our Three Fallen Stars and the history behind that fateful night so many years ago.
These are things I never knew of as a kid. As I grew older, I remember learning about the crash via the Don McLean song, “American Pie,” thanks to the insightful knowledge from my family of music buffs.
I’m so thankful my kids get to grow up learning this history, attending the sock hop events and really setting the base for their love of music.