Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bookshop Santa Cruz and the Gateway School Freedom Singers

Usually as I get ready to speak, I look out and see people expectantly waiting, like this:

But this time, Bookshop Santa Cruz and I did something a little different.

Because I love the Freedom Songs that fueled the civil rights march, I asked if we could have a group of kids come and sing at my presentation. In addition to Bookshop Santa Cruz making Marching for Freedom their community book of the month, they arranged for the enthusiastic participation of the second and fifth graders from Gateway School. The kids were amazing!

Not only did they sing three Freedom Songs, but they sang This Land is Your Land. As a special surprise for me, they even included a song they had written. (I suspect it was their incredible music teacher who actually wrote it, seen in the video below playing ukulele as she directs them.)

So music from the streets of Selma, accompanied by hand clapping and feet marching, made its way to Bookshop Santa Cruz, accompanied by the ukulele, originally from Hawaii. Not to be too over-the-top patriotic, but I love so many things about our interesting, constantly-evolving beautiful country. And bright, earnest kids are the best of all. Here they are, singing.


Gary said...

It worked, Betsy!

anna said...

So cool!

patricia2gatewayschool said...

Hi Elizabeth... Now it is summer and I've got a little time. I was just showing my niece your page about my class participating with your presentation at Bookshop Santa Cruz. She is a teacher in Brooklyn and an amazing musician like Kristen our school music teacher. I remember wanting to tell you this way back then but something else must have caught my attention. Those 5th graders actually wrote that song. Kristen is such an amazing teacher that she was able to wade through the process of helping them to create it into a performance piece. It was also your book and the kids study with their homeroom teacher that gave them the passion to create it. It really is wonderful to see what books and teaching and music and writing and talking and knowledge and determination and...... can do. Thank you so much for all your work. Patricia