James Weldon Johnson and the Civil Rights Movement
Opening with the traditional Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, ARISE will follow up with the story about the song’s author, James Weldon and his brother John Rosamond Johnson, and how they created what has come to be known as the Black National Anthem, including protocols. Afterwards, students will be encouraged to learn the first verse of the song and what it means. From the Civil Rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. influences, songs are performed and taught such as Ain Gon Let Nobody Turn Me Around, One Nation and We Shall Overcome. The performance closes with the concertized version of Lift Ev’ry Voice.
Appropriate for ages: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12
Directed by Shawn Chastain, Fine Arts director for Wichita Public Schools and accompanied by June Faucette-Huff, retired music teacher, the ARISE script writer is Dr. Sharon Hill Cranford, local historian and author. With the power of a 15 – 30 voices, the ensemble uses music to weave the historical perspectives of spirituals with the artistic delivery of oration. ARISE is a traveling treasure trove of American History and Music, able to reach and touch people of all ages as they seek to improve communications and create a more welcoming environment among diverse audiences throughout the state and beyond. The multigenerational and multiethnic ARISE group ensures interactive presentations as they provide residencies and performances, consistently drawing full participation at both. From small to large classroom settings to filling the state capitol rotunda, to overflow crowds of several hundred in churches and auditoriums, ARISE is well received. Through the Arts Partners program, 10 to 15 members of ARISE along with the director and accompanist will come to your school for each performance. 2 to 3 members will come for residencies.
We thoroughly appreciate Arts Partners and the experiences they can provide for our students. The ARISE performance was perfect for us demonstrating cultural diversity as well as an amazing fine arts demonstration. We would highly recommend them to any school looking for a rich experience for their students!
E. Hofer-Holdeman, Mayberry Cultural and Fine Arts Magnet Middle School, Wichita