The Harding 6th Grade Choir
Three choirs each from Harding and Garfield Middle Schools competed in the "Stop the Hate: Youth Sing Out" at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The event was sponsored by the Maltz Museum and Roots of American Music and is a program that combines anti-bias training with the power of music.
To prepare for the Sing Out, students visited the Maltz Museum to learn about hateful events from history. Students took what they learned back to the classroom to create an original song in just a few weeks. Middle school choir director Lisa Richards said her ensembles created each group's unique song with the help of a visiting artist from Roots of American Music. Students incorporated the themes of diversity and tolerance into their lyrics. A sample of lyrics from the Harding 6th Grade Choir include:
We're too busy pointing fingers
Focusing on ourselves
We need to come together
Respect and love each other
So we can all speak out
The project concluded with a performance at the Rock Hall on Dec. 6. The choirs performed their songs for a panel of judges and for each other. The song selected as the winner will be performed at the “Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out!” awards ceremony in the spring by the students who wrote it.
The students also took a short class, “Fight the Power: Music as Social Force.” The class featured songs from the 1960s and early 1970s that have challenged audiences to consider the alternatives and make changes in our society. Students explored recordings and videos of legendary artists to examine expressions of social commentary contained in lyrics, performance styles, and historical images.