As the students who participated in Music Doing Good in Schools production of “In.My.Feelings.” head off to summer vacation, we are still celebrating their incredible performance at the Hobby Center. This production was by far the most ambitious to date. The children were challenged with learning extensive choreography, memorization of numerous lyrics and heavy dialogue. And they rose to the occasion to deliver a powerful and poignant story.
“In. My. Feelings. highlighted the everyday pressures — bullying, gender bias, low self-esteem, and ill will towards others — that students face. If left unresolved, these experiences often manifest as anger, sadness, hurt, and defeat. Through the teachings of female superheroes named Love, Respect, Accountability, and Humility, children learned how to apply positive techniques to change their thinking and response to negativity,” explains Program Director, Aisha Ussery, M.Ed.
Says Ebony Jones, who played the key role of Eartha, “When first given the role of Eartha, I was nervous and anxious not knowing how I would morph into becoming the mother of the Universe. This being one of my first acting performances, I struggled to remember my lines in the beginning. After passing over that hump, I faced the challenge of truly leaving Ebony behind and stepping into Eartha’s shoes. But through lots of early morning practices and dance sessions ,I honed my newly found craft. This experience has taught me about self discipline; having a goal and not having anyone stand over me and make sure I complete it but myself. I am very thankful and grateful to Music Doing Good for this opportunity and excited for a future working with them!”
Douglas Mills, who played the key role of the Messenger adds, “In.My. Feelings” has been the highlight of my year. It inspired me to reach for my highest goals, knowing that with hard work and determination, I can achieve them. This production taught me to accept and appreciate myself and others. I have learned it’s o.k. to be yourself and to accept and appreciate others for who they are. We all possess gifts and talents that will make our world a better place if we use them for good.
“In. My Feelings” challenged me to give my best. It was a challenge to learn the music and remember all the words. My greatest concern was making sure I sang all my pitches correctly. I also admired my fellow cast members. We had to learn to work together to deliver the life-long message of this production; LOVE, RESPECT, ACCOUNTABILITY and HUMILITY.
I would like to thank Ms. Ussery, the MDG staff, my fellow cast members, and Ms. Uriah, (teacher) and my parents, without you I would not have been able to be a part of this outstanding production. Now, I can’t wait for what comes next…”
In addition to learning their lines, children learned yoga, mindfulness and meditation to center themselves and prepare for rehearsals. They had to be completely prepared, which meant learning the entire dialogue, whether it was their line or another cast member’s. Right up until the night of the performance, roles were reassigned to students who were most prepared. They learned what it meant to be a professional and to be accountable.
“Children are vessels waiting to be filled, longing for the perfect opportunity to share what has been percolating on the inside. They sift through myriads of information and then put their own flavorful twist on whatever they encounter. IN.MY.FEELINGS. and its high expectations challenged me and my students to embrace our individual social and emotional growth sprinkled with the artistic and educational ingredients necessary for a dynamic performance to be remembered by all in attendance. “adds Ms. Ussery.
As a testimony to the value of Music Doing Good in Schools, fifteen students of the 70 who participated came back to the program, even though it was not being offered at their current school. One of the parents told us, “As long as there is a Music Doing Good, our son will be part of the program.”