My 7th-grade group of musicians from Conservatory Lab Charter School were empowered to take action after the senseless events at Stoneman Douglas High School and the countless gun-related tragedies that continue to be commonplace in our society. They voiced their heartache, concerns, and frustrations in a piece of new music as a call to action, honoring Cara, Alex (trombone student in Stoneman Douglas High School), and their fellow classmates and teachers that were tragically taken from this world.
The musical inspiration came after a study of the form and structure of the music of Snarky Puppy, Ensemble Mik Nawooj, and Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment. Students created form and analysis maps of their music and applied these concepts to "Call To Action." After reading about Cara and Alex in this NYTimes article, the students and I engaged in a conversation about their thoughts on the tragedy. They summarized their feelings with the phrase, "we need a call to action, we don't need thoughts and prayers." With this line of text, we began to compose a melody and groove based on the rhythm and inflection of this phrase. The melody is intoned by the clarinet as a brief introduction. Our conversations continued with specific examples of calls to action. This led to the inclusion of two spoken-word sections in the piece.