Walden School: “What We Learned”

During October and November, Director Matt Allio, Director of Admissions and Communications Sarah Lougheed-Gill, and Director of Studies Terra Toscano visited nine local independent schools: Barnhart School; Chandler School; Clairbourn; Flintridge Preparatory School; Mayfield Junior School; Polytechnic School; Sequoyah School; The Waverly School; and Westridge School. Matt writes about what we learned on Walden School Blog.

A recent survey conducted by the National Anthem project reported that 61% percent of American adults do not know all the words to “The Star Spangled Banner.” At Walden School’s Winter Sing, Sixth Graders Mia McKinney and Cruz Soto opened the show with a history lesson and the singing of our national anthem to set the stage for “Winter Sing: Celebrating Freedom.”

Fellow Sixth Grader Nicholas Klatsky was inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s words: “Do we call this the land of the free? What is it to be free from King George the Fourth and continue the slaves of prejudice? What is it to be born free and equal, and not to live? What is the value of any political freedom, but as a means to moral freedom?” With Thoreau’s questions, Klatsky welcomed the audience to the show and his classmates continued the dialogue by sharing their research about freedom.

Isabelle Arya articulated, “Freedom, like most of the things we talk about at Walden is a big idea, and tonight we are going to explore it through song. I mean, historically, the arts have always played a big role in the questioning or defining freedom, so it only makes sense. These songs have been chosen collaboratively by Music Teacher Alejandro Lazo and the students to think about some of the different ideas that we think make up freedom.”

In the first act, classroom ensembles performed songs that examine personal freedoms or the rights that we have as individuals such as the right to play, the right to express our own opinions, the right we have to help others, and the right to learn. In act two, the Upper Core Choir (grades 4-6) presented songs about the history of freedom.

Students reminded the audience that it is important to remember that freedom’s history is made up of the stories of people and events, not just anonymous forces, so they began singing songs about different people’s perspectives to get the “HIS- tory”, the “HER- story,” and the “THEIR-story.” Different perspectives help us continue to think about where we are today, and also, where we want to go.

Walden School’s “Winter Sing: Celebrating Freedom” welcomed the audience to listen, discover, and celebrate freedom with the students.

Walden School, 74 S. San Gabriel Blvd, Pasadena, (626) 792-6166 or visit www.waldenschool.net.



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