Sacred harp singing is considered to be one of the oldest forms of American folk music. It dates back to the 1700s, to a choral style that developed in the churches of colonial New England, but eventually took root in the rural south. It’s a participatory tradition, which means that singers perform for themselves, not for an audience. Today, Sacred harp is experiencing something of a renaissance, some even characterize it as the punk rock of choral music.
In 2002, Oakland Mayor, now governor, Jerry Brown started Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) with the hope that students would have an outlet to express themselves through art forms like dance, theater, and visual illustrations.
To me, Sunday mornings are sacred, but not for any religious reason. It’s when I head out for a weekly bike ride through Golden Gate Park west to Ocean Beach. But one weekend, I decide to go on a Saturday instead. I take my usual route – cruising through the aromatic eucalyptus trees along the Panhandle, hugging the curves of John F Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park. But when I arrive at the white Conservatory of Flowers, something’s different. On my left, a soothing, and out-of-place sound emerges from out of nowhere. It’s jazz.
Learning music and playing it is one thing, but teaching it is whole other can of worms, especially when you’re teaching kids – and especially when there are 850 of them.
That’s what Ivan DeSouza does every week. He’s been the music teacher at Delaine Eastin Elementary School in Union City since its birth 12 years ago. It's part of New Haven Unified School District that recently won $29 million in the President's Race to the Top program.
It’s not often we hear a story of love and heartbreak – and the music that was specifically composed for it. One such story befell the 19th century composer Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann. Meghan Laslocky is author of The Little Book of Heartbreak and she shares their story of love and the music that told it with KALW’s Hana Baba.