Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center: The Paragon, Vol 1

This is a guest post from Lizzie Zink, a rising senior at BCMN site Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus, Ohio.

The Paragon Logo Color

The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free is a compilation album created by the students at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center.

The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free album tackles many of the controversial topics that are at the forefront of our national discourse. Issues such as racial stereotypes, depression, youth violence, suicide, police brutality and identity are discussed through the musical journey this project takes you on. The ideas expressed in these songs are an accurate representation of the challenges that many youth around the country face on a daily basis. It was our goal to address these songs artistically in a variety of genres. Hip-Hop, Singer Songwriter, Spoken word, Reggae, and Neo Soul are all represented on the project.

The musical pieces represented on the album are mix of self composed works and covers. The pieces assembled were chosen by the students to create a comprehensive narrative that emotionally take the listener into their world in a way that very few think pieces or media reports can. In fact, we often refer to the project as an audio publication or soundtrack to our life’s movie because the relevance of the songs carry an authenticity that traditional descriptions don’t capture. The album features covers of artists such as Gil Scott Heron, Birdy, Nina Simone, and Donny Hathaway, along with many brilliant originals. The depth of the lyrics written by my peers provides clarity of the situations that we struggle with and their articulation of a circumstance and the feeling is truly inspiring. The students featured on this album are some of Fort Hayes’ best and brightest musicians and have a desire to use their gift to express the need for awareness and action in society today.

Fixing society’s flaws is no easy task, but if we raise our voices together as one, we will be heard. Throughout the creation of this project, we constantly reminded ourselves that every individual has a voice and because of that we are confident that our voices will be heard amongst the noise.

In short, the ideas expressed within the album are presented by students to students and to those struggling to overcome obstacles or those watching someone struggle… which ultimately includes everyone. These are universal messages that can provide assurance that a person is not alone in their suffering and that there is indeed hope in our world.

We created The Paragon to inspire hope, inspire dialogue and spark a fire to change the world. We lifted our voices, and now it’s the time for them to be heard so that everybody knows that the revolution is starting. “The revolution will not be televised… The revolution will be live”, says WaTeasa Freeman in “The Revolution”. This revolution starts with us, and we extend our hand for you to join us in order to ensure that Someday We’ll All Be Free.

The Paragon Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free is available on iTunes, Tidal, Amazon Music, & Spotify

-Lizzie Zink

Lizzie Link

 

For more information on The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free contact: Tony Anderson, Ph.D. at MichaelAnthonyAnderson@gmail.com
The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free Interview playlist.

Guest Post: Feb 2015 City Music Caf Show

This post is by guest blogger J. Curtis Warner, Jr., Associate Vice President of Education Outreach at Berklee College of Music.

On Friday, February 20th, we were treated to a stellar performance at the Berklee College of Music Dining Hall by an ensemble made up of Berklee City Music alumni representing Network partners from at least four different cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, CA, and New Orleans. The group “Turn the Lights On,” led by vocalist/percussionist Henry Oyekanmi (East Bay Performing Arts Center) and vocalist Langston Theard (Tipitina’s Foundation), gave a stellar depiction of what happens when cutting edge contemporary arrangements are blended with old school flavor and a penchant for “keeping things real.”

Customarily noted as “Caf Shows,” these performances are often organized by the students and take place in the college cafeteria without cost to its audience. It is not surprising to hear bands of a very high caliber, and that’s exactly what we experienced last week. The Berklee City Music Network alumni band could have easily opened for a major act at TD Garden, the Staples Center, or the Wells Fargo Center, and I for one would have paid a decent ticket price to see them – main or opening act.

If I dare to categorize the music, I would say: neo-soul infused with funk, a taste of Middle Eastern Phrygian-olydian, jazz-a-matazz hip pop, and some slammin’ R&B vocals atop a technotronic bed. There was a balanced roster of both cover tunes and some headed-to-the-top originals. Along with Henry and Langston were City Music students Darryl Staves on drums, John Dandan on keys, Macston Maccow on “tracks,” and Yesseh Furaha Ali on sax. The group was further complimented by Berklee students Justin Perkins on bass, Willie Moore III on guitar, and Matthew Sallee, Melaner Quiroz, and Alexis Shae on background vocals. An opening ensemble made up of a number of City Music Boston students was chosen by audition and definitely established itself as an “act to follow!”

Throughout the performance, both Henry and Langston repeatedly gave shout-outs to Berklee City Music making such statements as, “… they [City Music] are the reason I’m here [at Berklee] and “they’ve made me who I am.”

If you know any of these young musicians mentioned above, commend them, because they carried the City Music banner proud and high, and are clearly demonstrating the value of a Berklee education… and they are not even out yet!