Big Park kids sing out for “Freedom Now”
by Trish Tucker
the students of Mr. Simon’s fifth-grade class at Big Park School
in the Village of Oakcreek came together with singer-songwriter
Lynn Lynton to write a song about freedom, they did much more
than make up a tune and lyrics.
Together, they explored freedom, what
it means, how it is earned, and what the consequences may be if
it is taken for granted. And as a result, the song “Freedom Now”
will be included as part of the commemorative salute to September
11 to be heard on radio and television stations throughout Arizona.
A nine-year veteran as an elected member
of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Lynton shares with students
across our state her experiences of being a professional performer
and songwriter. Through a grant awarded by the Commission, Lynton
designed this workshop specifically to address our country’s renewed
interest in patriotism.
the tragic event we experienced last September, flags were waving
and cars and trucks displayed bumper stickers petitioning our
pledge to America, freedom and blessing this country,” said Lynton.
“At the same time, I witnessed some of these vehicles racing through
traffic and cutting people off to get just one space ahead. I
thought to myself . . . just what do we all agree the definition
of freedom is? And what is our personal commitment towards that
end? In other words, how can we personally walk our talk on a
Lynton shared with the students a dictionary
description of freedom and then encouraged each one to expand
on it with his or her own definition according to their experience.
She emphasizes individual accountability as she teaches her workshops.
The students then broke into groups and passed around a talking
stick to share ideas on various aspects of freedom.
“As soon as I had them break into groups,
kids were kids and it was clear that we had before us an opportunity
to actually exercise techniques to demonstrate freedom of speech
and to allow others in their group to experience freedom as well,”
said Lynton. “They learned that listening without judging another’s
opinion was a valuable part of communication and that the more
they listened, the more likely they too, would be heard.”
As a songwriter, Lynton’s interest
is in evoking conscious thoughts and feelings from the listener.
Her music takes on a tone of social and personal responsibility,
while expressing, sometimes, a spiritual quality. Part of the
workshop was to allow the students the experience of relating
their personal message to the public and observing how their thoughts
can positively effect a cause.
Each group wrote a verse for “Freedom
Now.” Lynton created music to go with the lyrics, and after rehearsing,
the students then sang their lyrics live as Lynton accompanied
them on guitar and recorded their voices. Later, she added an
orchestrated arrangement along with her own background vocals.
“It’s a bit of a backwards recording
project, getting the final vocals first and then building the
music around the kids voices,” Lynton. “Quite challenging, but
worth the effort.”
No stranger to this type of process,
Lynton recorded the songs for her CD release Voices of the People,
Songs from Navajo Country in much the same manner, using authentic,
unrehearsed traditional Navajo people singing and later creating
the musical arrangements. In addition, she has a successful children’s
CD, There’s A Dinosaur In The Backyard!.
Lynton is slated to appear in concert
as part of the downtown Phoenix 36 hour-commemorative programming
by KTVK Channel 3 where “Freedom Now” will be heard as well as
Lynton’s song “For the Sake of Freedom Won,” which appears on
her Navajo CD.
She is working on making the Freedom
Now CD available for purchase by then with a portion of the proceeds
benefiting charities relating to those affected by September11.
She plans to have it available in several local stores and through
the Web site cdbaby.com.
“I’m so proud of the students for expressing
their thoughts and feelings so creatively, and especially for
demonstrating through their actions their understanding of freedom,”
said Lynton. “Isn’t that what we are all trying to do - be successful
works in progress with the open mindedness and enthusiasm of a
For more information on where you can
hear or purchase Freedom Now, and on Lynton’s other CD releases,
you may contact Lynton at firstname.lastname@example.org.