November 13-17 is American Education Week! Alexander Street celebrates public education and honors individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education.
American Education Week: Educator for a Day-
Someone Sang for Me is a one-hour documentary by award-winning filmmaker Julie Akeret profiling the critically acclaimed African-American singer and music educator Jane Sapp. Since 1989 Sapp has been based in Springfield, Massachusetts, where her music workshops with "at risk" youth are changing lives and animating the community. Someone Sang for Me showcases Sapp's work and places her squarely at the center of the arts and social change movement. The film weaves footage of Springfield young people rehearsing, performing, and discussing their experiences with interviews with Sapp, the young artists, community activists, and scholars who explore the ways art can be used to foster social change. The film explores the ways that music education can give young people the tools they need to express themselves in creative and constructive ways. Someone Sang for Me shows audiences that as the young people find their voices, they develop leadership skills they can use in their own lives and the life of the community. Jane Sapp is a powerful, highly regarded performer, songwriter, recording artist, and educator. She uses her art (and her considerable charisma) to bring people together and draw them out; to engage them not simply in artistic expression but in a critical evaluation of the social and cultural issues that effect them. The film profiles her work with a multi-racial group of approximately twenty-five low-income middle and high school students, many of whom were silent or disruptive in class. Sapp encourages the children to talk about their families, their schools, poverty, racism, and other pressing issues. Then she types up the young people's writings, works with them to set their words to music, and rehearses the songs with the full group. An experienced activist, Sapp has the knowledge and understanding to help the young people analyze the social and political context of their lives. The group now performs at community events and concerts throughout the area, always to rave reviews and standing ovations.