OMS Music Department Receives Grant

Oliver Middle School chorus teacher, Lisa Lancia, along with Dr. Carrie Magin, received a grant this year for the school’s choral music project.

GVAC“This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council of the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts.”

The sixth-grade chorus worked with Dr. Carrie Magin, a theory and composition professor at Houghton College, to develop a brand new piece of music. Dr. Magin worked with the chorus students throughout the spring semester. The group began by brainstorming for the piece they were going to help compose. Once the piece was composed by Dr. Magin, using themes developed by the students, the group was able to practice and then record it.

There are just under 50 students in the sixth-grade chorus.

After reflecting on the pandemic and events of this past year, students answered the following four questions in order to come up with the lyrics:

1. Name something that you are grateful for.
2. Describe or tell us about an image or something that has been important to you or that has brought you joy.
3. Name a challenge that you have had to overcome.
4. Choose one word that describes something that has given you strength.

The full lyrics inspired by the answers the students gave to these questions can be found below.

"This past year has had a profound impact on all of our lives. Allowing the students the opportunity to express their feelings collectively, through music, has been an incredible experience for all involved,” says Ms. Lancia. “The students have taken ownership of their song and have found that singing their own words, set to fun melodies, has been incredibly inspiring to them. As a teacher and musician, it has brought me so much joy to watch how excited they have been about this entire project. This has truly been a very bright spot in a very difficult year."

“What a pleasure and honor it has been to work with Ms. Lancia and her creative, introspective, and thoughtful students,” says Dr. Magin. “I’ve written a number of pieces for young musicians in my career,
but because of the bravery, vulnerability, and compassion of these students, this project has been incredibly meaningful and will always hold a special place in my mind and heart.”

Photos of chorus rehearsal have been compiled into a video accompanying the vocal recording of the piece. To view the video, click here.

I turn around.
I look back.
I am grateful.
I'm grateful for my friends, for my sister, for my parents.
I am grateful for my family.
I'm grateful for my cat, for my school, for my teachers.
I am grateful to be alive.
Skiing every weekend,
and pictures of my family,
my dog and how she comforts me,
and seeing people happy.
These times are tough right now.
Mom's in the hospital,
my parents splitting up,
the fear of being lonely.
Improving reading,
Stress and anxiety,
I could not leave my house,
I've got to be strong.
Joy Breath God Love Power Hope
Friendship Music Kindness Passion