Perham middle school students enjoy Motown music by The Paper Clips

The traveling trombone quartet visited Prairie Wind Middle School last week to give kids a taste of live music.

Students smile and clap along to The Paper Clips' trombone quartet performance at Prairie Wind Middle School on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Students smile and clap along to The Paper Clips' trombone quartet performance at Prairie Wind Middle School on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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PERHAM — Bringing performing groups to schools can be a difficult task, said Perham choir teacher Maggie Ragan, but this didn't stop her from finding the opportunity for students to see live music. Through her efforts, The Paper Clips, a trombone quartet, was able to visit and perform at Prairie Wind Middle School on Friday, May 20.

"I'm just so excited we can finally get a performing group up here for our kids so that they can see some other performances," Ragan said. "It's also just kind of a reward (to say), 'You guys have worked so hard. Why don't you come and enjoy a music performance?'"

Chris Allen, of The Paper Clips, demonstrates his trombone playing to students at Prairie Wind Middle School while fellow band member, Ben Bussey, watches with a smile.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

The Paper Clips performance was a part of the MPR Class Notes Concerts program, designed to bring live music to young people across the state of Minnesota. Ragan first heard about the program at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Conference, and she immediately reached out. In a stroke of luck, she learned that The Paper Clips were already going to be performing in Detroit Lakes, so Prairie Wind Middle School booked them to perform that same week.

"It definitely gives (students) something to look up to," Ragan said. "(Seeing live music) just gives them inspiration and insight into the world of musical performance."

The Paper Clips, named for the way trombones resemble paper clips, primarily plays Motown music from the mid-1900s. Throughout the concert, the group talked about Motown's influence on music, their own individual instruments, the trombone family, and what the different instruments do. The members — Brooklynne Audette, Ben Bussey, Lauren Husting and Chris Allen — said they enjoyed the opportunity to come from the Twin Cities to the lakes area to perform.


"There's definitely not as much of an opportunity for kids to see live music these days," said Bussey. "There's plenty of kids all over that need to hear musicians from all over."

Trombone player Allen continued, "It's always fun to play for students and share the music that we love that maybe they don't listen to on their own."

Members of The Paper Clips Lauren Husting, left, and Brooklynne Audette play trombone for their audience at Prairie Wind Middle School.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

The Paper Clips' performance was met with laughter and applause from the Perham students, who also took the opportunity to ask questions and learn about trombones and Motown music.

For more information about the Class Notes Concerts program, reach out to

Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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