In the spring of 2016, the Jack Straw artist team worked with 2nd graders at Lowell Elementary to create their own original poetry and songs. First, poet Samar Abulhassan visited two classes 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 with their classroom teachers, and with art teacher Robyn Jordan and music teacher Rose Leatham. As the culmination of the project, the students visited Jack Straw’s studios. They recorded their individual poems with the help of Jack Straw voice coaches Alyssa Keene and Meg McLynn and audio engineers Daniel Guenther and CJ Lazenby, and then played and sang their songs as a group with Tai and Levi.
Lowell Poetry and Song 2016 was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center and Lowell Elementary School with the generous support of Creative Advantage, Jubilation Foundation, the Washington State Arts Commission, and individual contributors.
Special thanks to Lowell 2nd grade students, 2nd grade teachers Rae Richardson, Alexi West, and Hannah Moffitt, Lowell’s Creative Advantage Co-Coordinator and art teacher Robyn Jordan, music teacher Rose Leatham, and principal Ms. Geri Guerrero, who all helped make this program possible.
The Jack Straw artist team included poet Samar Abulhassan, vocal coaches Alyssa Keene and Meg McLynn, musicians Tai Shan and Levi Fuller, audio engineers Daniel Guenther and CJ Lazenby, program assistants Leah Meyer, Ayesha Ubayatilaka, Joel Maddox, and Gus Meyer, photographer Sherwin Eng, and Jack Straw Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz.
Photos by Sherwin Eng.