This is the text message that started us on the process of creating the video you’re about to see:
Wed, March 25, 9:37am
OK, you guys – I’m having a moment. I’m doing a walk in the neighborhood with Willa right now and listening to SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, and wondering if we could get the cast and some of the musicians together – not together-together, but virtually together – to do a Zoom version of the final song… I know the editing would be a lot…Let me know if this is something you might want to do as a project, and I’ll see if we can pull the kids together…
I had to scroll through hundreds and hundreds of text messages sent since then between Justin Solonynka (Middle School Teacher), Seth Schmitt-Hall (AFS Technical Director) and myself to find it. It was Spring Break, when we didn’t know yet whether we’d be returning to school at any point in the next couple weeks. There was so much uncertainty – and this song (“Hear My Song”) reminded me of what it was to be in a room with students, of the amazing collaborative experience we had with SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD back in the fall, and of possibility. I needed a reminder of that, and I thought our kids might, too. Back then, the song’s message of hope and resilience felt more about the state of our country and its leadership; now it has a resonance none of us could have possibly imagined.
So, this is the result of hours and hours of retrieving sheet music, explaining the vision to our students, nudging kids to do their recordings, editing and re-editing sound and video, making decisions about what to leave on the cutting room floor – i.e., the creative process. I must give credit where credit is very much due: Seth and Justin did the lion’s share of the work. Luckily for us all, they are the most creative, can-do colleagues I could hope for—as are the children we educate in the Arts department at AFS. So my deepest thanks to Seth and Justin; and also to Noah and Maya and Madi, to Devyn, Halle, Sophie, Ella, Katie, Zach, Mar’keece, Nick, Cole, Gabriela, Morgan, Peri, Silas, Clay, Georgie, Willa, Izzy and Via, who took time out of the bizarre demands of our current reality to make something beautiful together.
We hope you enjoy.
Megan Bellwoar Hollinger
Arts Department Chair
Upper School Theatre