“Sing My Song” project brings together the vision of renowned operatic baritone Thomas Hampson and Detroit high school students

Source: Duderstadt Center, Digital Media Commons

Thomas Hampson shares his passion for song and its power for cultural outreach with students in the course, “Children in Peril” at The School at Marygrove. Hampson is a world-renowned baritone who has performed in more than 80 operatic roles and made over 170 recordings. Photo by Mark Clague.

“In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.”

That statement, by Thomas Hampson, one of the world’s most renowned operatic baritones, is central to his vision of education and artistic research, and the impetus for a collaboration with the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and a Detroit high school class for the “Sing My Song” project.

In an earlier visit to Detroit’s School at Marygrove, Hampson shared his passion about the positive intercultural effects possible through music and lyric with students in the high school’s humanities course, “Children in Peril,” taught by Jane Jordan. Jordan is the founding Social Studies teacher in The School at Marygrove – a groundbreaking collaboration between the U-M School of Education and the Detroit Public Schools.

After a year-long pause due to Covid-19 precautions, the 21 students in this year’s “Children in Peril” class undertook a semester-long project collaborating with School of Music, Theatre & Dance graduate music composition students, Alfredo Cabrera and Nicholas Felder. The project culminated in a visit to U-M’s North Campus, including a professional-level recording session in the Digital Media Commons Audio Studio in The Duderstadt Center. There, each student gave a spoken-word performance of six-word memoirs written for their coursework. Those vocal tracks became the underlying content of the musical composition created by Cabrera and Felder.

Read the rest of the story from the Duderstadt Center.

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