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Danny and Michelle Jerabek help Neenah's Lakeview Students Broaden Their Musical Horizons

Lauren had not heard anyone rock out with a button accordion or a washboard, however, until she witnessed Danny and Michelle Jerabek in action Wednesday.

"They kind of sounded different to me, and I liked it," Lauren said.

The Jerabeks are the husband-and-wife team leading Copper Box, a high-energy band from Oshkosh whose sound has been dubbed squeezebox rock.

The duo introduced different instruments and musical genres to Lauren and 360 other students at Lakeview Elementary School during two miniconcerts.

The performances were sponsored by the Lakeview Parent Teacher Organization and Performing Arts for Youth as a means to broaden the students' appreciation of music.

Danny played a button accordion (button box), cornet, penny whistle and kazoo, and Michelle played a guitar and saxophone. They had students clapping their hands, slapping their knees and bobbing their heads to the "Clarinet Polka," "Irish Jig" and "Mardi Gras Mambo."

The younger students even flapped their arms and wagged their tails to the familiar "Chicken Dance." They knew the song from hearing it at the roller rink.

The biggest hit among students, though, was when Michelle played the rhythm of a zydeco song by stroking spoons across a washboard hung from her shoulders. The percussion instrument captivated the audience.

"That was a completely new thing for me," fourth-grader John Zwick said afterward. "I thought that was kind of interesting."

"It was cool," fifth-grader Katie Sukanen said. "I wish I could play the washboard."

Michelle encouraged the students to get their own washboard to play.

"Your mom and dad are going to love it!" Danny said.

Posted by Jeff Sanders on Thursday, October 15, 2009