Finding our Voices

Nate Silas-Richardson prepares a group of DeWitt Middle School 7th graders at Pyramid Sound in Ithaca.  Photo Credit:    Sheryl Sinkow Photography

Nate Silas-Richardson prepares a group of DeWitt Middle School 7th graders at Pyramid Sound in Ithaca. Photo Credit: Sheryl Sinkow Photography

In January and February, a Seventh – grade class at DeWitt Middle School worked hard over just a few weeks to explore and express themselves and common themes in their lives with Musicians for World Harmony.  The project was part of the poetry unit in their English class, but the project had another goal – to help kids express themselves and build connections across differences.

Nineteen students worked in class with performing artists Samite and Nate Richardson, and their teachers Theresa Souchet and Isaac Kain.  “We had several students take initiative as the project progressed.  One student brought in his instruments to "jam" with Samite and Nate during class and took it upon himself to rework melodies and lyrics.  Another student was very hesitant to participate at first, but seemed to find his voice, summarizing his experience by saying his lyrics were meant to encourage other students "to just go for it".  We had several new students (immigrants and international visitors) who joined the class midway through the project.  Because of the nature of the project, students were able to jump right in, which went a long way in helping them adopt their new school and get to know their classmates”.

At the end of the project, the students took a field trip to Pyramid Sound Studios in Ithaca to record their individual statements and to sing as a group.  At the end of the project, more than a few expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work with Nate and Samite and to check out the studio.  A few noted they knew a little more about themselves or a classmate.  For some, the foray into self-expression took courage and they were proud to have found their voices. 

We look forward to sharing the recording with you when it is ready!  MWH is grateful to DeWitt Middle School and the Community Foundation of Tompkins County for their resources to make the project a reality. 


Thanks to all who attended Music for the Ages 2018 - check out the photo gallery by clicking below!

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