I have traveled the world for the last 20 years working with choirs, community groups and schools performing and conducting workshops which focus on the history and significance of African American musical traditions particularly those that are centered around group singing. No tradition excels the Freedom Songs of the American Civil Rights Movement in merging social action with the raw power of the group voice. I dare say that it was one of the greatest singing movements that the world has ever seen.
The songs that grew out of the campaigns across the South in the early 1960s sprang from the rich culture of African American communities, the music of the black church, and the vibrancy, creativity, and courage of the heroic youth of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Guy and Candie Carawan, editors of the two volume series Sing for Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Its Songs, state that " the civil rights movement without it's music would have been like a bird without its wings." According to Bernice Reagon, a SNCC Freedom Singer and founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, "...this music is like holding a tool in your hand."
Join me in placing the vital and energizing tool of music in the hands, hearts and souls of young people once again as we launch the Young People's Freedom Choir (YPFC), a community supported grassroots music education movement. The initiative is an interactive exploration of the Freedom Song tradition born during the time of the American Civil Rights Movement, designed to educate, elevate, and assist young people in finding and lending their voice to the ever emerging story of humanity.