Our new project is in direct response to Chicago teachers who have urged us to create programs that resonate especially for their Black and Latino students. We’re taking their request a step further. We want to use the power of song to inspire youth to see themselves as makers of history and social change, by bringing an array of thought-provoking performances and workshops to the junior high and high school classroom.
Cabaret is noted for truth-telling in song and its ability to comment on contemporary society through a variety of musical genres up close and personal. A dozen associated artists have responded to our call to craft school-appropriate programs that combine our cabaret repertoires and our passion for social justice. Dr. Roosevelt Griffin of VanderCook College of Music is leading the project.
Our project begins on Sunday, March 10, 2024 with a one-day workshop to help performers adapt their concerts for grades 7-12. Their work will culminate in showcase performances later this spring.
For performers: We invite performers of all races to create programs that address topics of social justice and change.
For teachers: We invite you to help us devise and suggest programs suitable for your students and curriculum.
Please complete the following survey if you are interested in participating with us. BVIC Goes to School Form
For those already preparing a school program, use this form to provide Program Details.
Examples of thematic musical programs under development are Bridge over Muddied Waters – a personal history of the struggle for civil rights; The Great Filipino Songbook; How Women Won the Right to Vote; Riding for America—Black jockey Isaac Burns Murphy; The Great Migration; Her Chance to Dream; Being Different Can Make a Difference; Blacklisted—the Songs McCarthy Didn’t Want You to Hear and more.
KEYNOTE PERFORMERS eager to create school-worthy prototypes from their original shows include:
● Jessie Bolger: Her Chance to Dream embraces a woman’s dreams realized
● Cynthia Clarey: In her acclaimed Bridge over Muddied Waters opera-
turned-cabaret singer shares her perspective and reflections on political and racial issues in the US. This personal show delivers a universal message: the end to bigotry and prejudice.
● Susie Friedman, cantor, cabaret and opera singer specializes in Holocaust
era songs to confront Jew-hatred
● Sean Harris, singer. Southside-born tenor Sean Harris is noted for his
crossover repertoire from opera to standards. Blind since age 14, he offers an
inspiring story of resilience
● Carla Gordon offers her acclaimed program, Blacklisted—Songs McCarthy
Didn’t Want Us to Hear
● Rae-Myra Hilliard introduces the first two African-American women composers to make their mark in classical music, Florence Price and Margaret Bonds
● Claudia Hommel, actor-singer, reveals the complex relations between
Americans and French including the legacy of African American expats in Paris in
the Jazz Age and Souvenirs of Paris 1950
● Anita Kallen and Catherine Thomsen offer HERstory shows including How
Women Won the Right to Vote and Trailblazing Female Firsts.
● Madeline Morgan sings The Great Migration —Blacks moving from the South to the urban North
● Lou Ella Rose, singer, director of SamaSama Project explores the Great
Filipino Songbook in the context of US colonial history
● Patricia Tyson, composer, singer, classical pianist, whose inspirational
choral works have been performed by local high schools.
● Kevin Wood takes a personal look at overcoming being different