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New Year / New Music
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New Year / New Music

January 16, 2019

Hello, 2019, have we got some good music for ya

So much of the process of music-making happens behind the scenes. Whether we’re writing songs with high school students, or working with artists to develop Bridge Sessions, or commissioning new music for a public performance, here at LiveConnections we’re always brainstorming, refining, creating, revising, creating again, building momentum.

In 2019, we’re getting ready for the culmination of two years of behind-the-scenes work through our “A Song Everyone Can Sing” initiative.

The premise: in planning our 10th anniversary season, we wanted to bring together the many pieces that comprise LiveConnections (education, accessibility, collaborative concerts), and imagine a new way of making music. Beyond just removing barriers, we want to create music that is, by its very design, inclusive of people with disabilities. We want to bring together artists and participants to create WITH each other, not just FOR someone else. We want to expand definitions of what is a “song,” who is “everyone” and what does it mean to “sing.”

Behind-the-scenes: To create such ambitious music, we’ve had a whole team of creative people at work, along with participants from four anchor choirs: Merakey Behavioral Health, Northeast High School, Our Lady of Confidence Day School and Overbrook School for the Blind.

  • Poet Dan Simpson has generated text with the anchor choirs, transforming participants’ words about themselves into lyrics. (“What I most want you to know is I’m autistic, different, happy.”)
  • Composer Jay Fluellen has set the lyrics to music, seeking to honor the distinct character of each ensemble while also creating an inclusive whole. (“How do we find a song that everyone can sing?”)
  • Movement artist Shavon Norris is working with the anchor choirs to interpret the music through movement, adding ways for bodies to participate.
  • Choral innovator Paul Smith is helping anchor choirs learn the music using his “VOCES8 Method,” designed to enhance neurological development, and renowned a cappella ensemble VOCES8 will be our keynote performers.
  • Our collaborators at the ExCITe Center are developing technology to expand the ways our senses might experience the music: by turning movement into sound, and sound into visuals.
  • And our long-time friends at Art-Reach are helping us embed accessibility into the design.

The process is ambitious, multi-faceted, with so much planning and behind-the-scenes work leading to a culminating event unlike anything you’ve experienced before. All of the pieces build upon each other, layering, stacking, to create a vibrant whole.

The culmination: New music. A new way of making music. Join us for LiveConnections’ Community Sing on March 10 to see/hear/feel/experience the result of the process: a celebration of human ability and the joy of singing together.

Happy New Year,

Melinda Steffy

Melinda Steffy
Executive Director

P.S. See below for more details and to reserve your seats

Reserve your seats!

A Song Everyone Can Sing: a Community Sing featuring VOCES8
Sunday, March 10, 2019 | 3:00 PM
Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad St., Philadelphia

We’re dreaming big about accessibility and inclusion. Our multi-media music extravaganza welcomes EVERYONE to make music together. The cornerstone is a new choral work that invites people with diverse abilities to participate through singing, movement, visuals and technology.

Collaborators include renowned a cappella ensemble VOCES8, composer Jay Fluellen, movement artist Shavon Norris, poet Daniel Simpson, Drexel University’s ExCITe Center, accessibility leader Art-Reach, and choirs from Merakey Behavioral Health, Northeast High School, Our Lady of Confidence Day School and Overbrook School for the Blind.

Just $1 to register; individuals and choirs/groups are invited to attend.

Upcoming Bridge Sessions

LiveConnections’ signature Bridge Sessions at World Cafe Live blend live performance with hands-on participation, allowing groups from schools or human service organizations to experience the joy and power of music.

Please contact to inquire about attending or observing a session.

  • January 16 – Folk Music: The People’s Music
  • February 4 – Language of Rhythm
  • February 11 – Language of Rhythm
  • February 12 – Jazz Speaks
  • February 25 – African-American Spirituals: Roots & Reverberations
  • February 26 – African-American Spirituals: Roots & Reverberations
  • March 11 – A Song Everyone Can Sing: a special session with VOCES8

New Album with Hill-Freedman World Academy

For the third year, we’re collaborating with Philadelphia public high school Hill-Freedman World Academy and their music technology teacher Ezechial Thurman to help students write, record and produce their own original songs. LiveConnections artists Andrew Lipke, Kristal “Tytewriter” Oliver and Luke Carlos O’Reilly are working with students on songwriting and music production. This year’s theme, WAKE UP EVERYBODY, is inspired by the sound and mission of Philadelphia International Records.

Check out a song they created for the holidays: