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Lowell Poetry and Song 2018

In the spring of 2018, we were pleased to complete our fourth year working with Lowell Elementary School students to create poetry and songs. This web page is the culmination of Jack Straw artist residencies with Lowell second grade students, including students from the Aspire and Focus special education classes.

Lowell second graders worked with Jack Straw's artist team to write, perform, and record their own poetry and songs. First, poet Samar Abulhassan visited the students and helped them write their poems. The students chose their favorites, and songwriters Tai Shan and Levi Fuller wrote songs inspired by the poems.

Tai and Levi visited the students in the classroom to teach them the songs, which they then practiced in school. Jack Straw's vocal coaches also visited the classroom to help the students read their poems out loud. As the culmination of the project, the students visited Jack Straw's studios. They recorded their individual poems with the help of vocal coaches Sunam Ellis, Alyssa Keene, and Katya Landau and audio engineers Daniel Guenther and Joel Maddox, and then played and sang their songs as a group with Tai and Levi, with help from Peter Williams on cello.

Lowell 2nd graders record their song with Levi Fuller
Lowell 2nd graders record their song with Tai Shan
Lowell 2nd graders record their song with Tai Shan

Poems by Lowell 2nd Graders and Aspire students:

   
   

Lowell Aspire student works with Jack Straw vocal coach Katya Landau and her in-school helper to record her poem A Lowell 2nd grader records his poem in the studio

Jack Straw vocal coaches Katya Landau and Sunam Ellis warm up with a group of Lowell students Katya Landau helps a Lowell student record her poem

Lowell 2nd Graders and Aspire students record their song in the studio

Lowell Aspire student works with Jack Straw vocal coach Katya Landau and her in-school helper to record her poem

Jack Straw vocal coach Sunam Ellis helps a Lowell student record her poem

Jack Straw engineer Daniel Guenther and vocal coach Katya Landau help a student record her poem

Lowell Aspire student works with Katya Landau to record his poem

Vocal coach Sunam Ellis helps a Lowell student record his poem

Jack Straw engineer Joel Maddox in the studio with Lowell 2nd graders

Sunam Ellis works with a blind Lowell student readent as she reads her poem from a braille text

Lowell Poetry and Song 2018 was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center and Lowell Elementary School with the generous support of the Jubilation Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, the Washington State Arts Commission, and individual contributors. This program was provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Our thanks to Lowell teachers Sara Manley, Rob Smuidrins, Cameron Whitney, and Davina Diaz who worked with our artist team to make our special needs project very special. 

Our thanks to Lowell 2nd grade students and 2nd grade teachers Rae Richardson, Alexi West, and Catherine Comings. Our thanks also to Angeline Zalben for her assistance with the students and to parent & PTA chaperones for their help on studio field trips. And, our special thanks to Shelby Leyland, Lowell music teacher, whose enthusiasm and commitment have made this program possible.

The Jack Straw artist team included poet Samar Abulhassan, vocal coaches Katya Landau, Sunam Ellis, and Alyssa Keene, musicians Tai Shan, Levi Fuller, and Peter Williams, audio engineers Daniel Guenther and Joel Maddox, photographer Sherwin Eng, and Jack Straw Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz.

Kennedy Center 2017

A Lowell 2nd grader records his poem in the studio

Poet Samar Abulhassan with Lowell students

Photos by Sherwin Eng

 

Lowell Poetry and Song 2015

Lowell Poetry and Song 2016

Lowell Poetry and Song 2017

Lowell Poetry and Song 2019

 

For further information on our educational programs, contact:

Joan Rabinowitz, Executive Director
Jack Straw Cultural Center
206-634-0919


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