The Charlottesville High School music program is a triple-gold winner in the 2019 Music for All Advocacy in Action Awards for its 2018 music collaboration with students from Metro Nashville Public Schools.
Recognized for excellence in three categories, Community Service Project, Community Engagement, and Community Event, members of the CHS Orchestra and CHS Choir joined talents with the “Fab 5,” a student quintet from Pearl-Cohn Magnet High School in Nashville to perform Bebe Winans’ hit song, “Right Now (We Need One Another).” The efforts were a direct response to the deadly events of August 11-12, 2017 in Charlottesville, VA.
Under the leadership of CHS Orchestra Director Laura Mulligan Thomas and CHS Choir Director Will Cooke, the students performed the song at a school-wide assembly at Charlottesville High School followed by various locations around the city, including the street where Heather Heyer lost her life. Video footage of the collaboration was shared with the community via social media and broadcasted on a jumbotron as part of the Concert for Charlottesville featuring headlining musicians such as Dave Matthews, Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder. Held at University of Virginia’s Scott Stadium, the concert was attended by over 50,000 people and live-streamed on such platforms as Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr and HuffPost.
“We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our students’ efforts for community advocacy through music,” said Cooke. “The collaboration created immeasurable positive feeling and healing within our school communities, our local communities, and beyond—including a follow-up gathering to record a second song in support of the Parkland, Florida survivors.”
Charlottesville High School’s submission will be part of the Music for All Advocacy in Action website, which is a clearinghouse of practical advocacy examples that can be adapted and replicated by programs nationwide. To read more about the project and see the video, visit https://advocacy.musicforall.org/submission/right-now-we-need-one-another-event/.
“Building bridges between schools and communities starts with identifying what we already share,” said Thomas. “Students in a Virginia choir and orchestra were eager to collaborate with students in a Tennessee choir because we all speak the same musical language; we share the culture of rehearsals, practice, and performance. The students in Nashville recorded a video for us, we responded with an invitation, and the resulting collaboration was awe-inspiring for our students, teachers, and community!”
For more information about Music for All, please visit www.musicforall.org.