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Written by Ladonna Edwards   
Published on Wednesday, 06 January 2016 10:30

 

A team of LiveConnections artists is in residence all year at Henry Houston Elementary School in Philadelphia, creating an album with the students inspired by the theme “A Day in My Life." Following a visit to the National Constitution Center, students were inspired by a line in the play Living News, which deals with current Constitutional issues. The line: “One life taken, one life saved,” came from a scene about gun violence and led a group of students to work with LiveConnections Founding Director David Bradley on a song about a school shooting, told from the point of view of an 11-year-old girl, a police officer called to the scene and the mother of a victim.

We’ve recorded the first version of the song, produced by teaching artist Andrew Lipke, featuring a beat created by a 7th grade student, rhythms taught by guest artist Alex Shaw and a guest vocal appearance by singer Valerie Chadwick. We’re sharing the lyrics here, which include a haunting question from the character of the 11-year-old: “What can be done to stop all this? Tell me what’s within our powers?”

“ONE LIFE TAKEN, ONE LIFE SAVED”
Lyrics By Ashley Goss, Jordan Harmon, Hailey Cooper, Nazir Johnson, Nashaylah Riggs, Sameer Faulks, Tatyanna Palmer, Jamaya Bailey, with David Bradley of LiveConnections

(Inspired by the play Living News by Larry Loebell at the National Constitution Center)

CHORUS
One life taken
One life saved
Is this right?
Is this right?
One life taken
One life saved
Is this right?
Is this right?

VERSE 1
My name is Hailey
I’m 11 years old
I ran from my school screaming
So my story could be told.
Today it wasn’t on TV
Today the school was ours
What can be done to stop all this?
Tell me, what’s within our powers?

I have a dream we’re playing, just flying on the swings
Then there are shots and then there are screams.
I hear the school bell ring, know that it’s so real
I want to know what can be done
To stop, to stop, to stop the fear I feel.

CHORUS
One life taken
One life saved
Is this right?
Is this right?
One life taken
One life saved
Is this right?
Is this right?

VERSE 2
My name is Officer James
15 years on the force.
I got a call on the scanner,
I took the fastest course.
A little girl named Emma, on the floor
Bleeding, making no sound
It always gives me such a shock
Every time this comes around.

If I’d have been there, could I have saved her?
I’m alive, I can’t believe she’s gone
If I’d have been there, could I have saved her?
Her life’s over, mine goes on.

CHORUS
One life taken
One life saved
Is this right?
Is this right?
One life taken
One life saved
Is this right?
Is this right?

VERSE 3
My name is Rose
I am Emma’s mom
I get a call from my neighbor
Emergency—a gun, a bomb?
I grab my keys
I run the lights
Crying, swearing, praying
Let everything be alright

I was hanging up a banner, Happy Birthday to My Girl
Now the candles sit unlit
I know it’s all too real.
I want my baby girl back
I want my baby girl

CHORUS
One life taken
One life saved
Is this right?
Is this right?
One life taken
One life saved
Is this right?
Is this right?

 

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Seeds that grew into branches | March reflections from executive director Melinda Steffy

March 1, 2017 — "Seeds that grew into branches." That's how vocalist Allen Pinkney described spirituals' influence on other styles of music, such as blues, jazz, gospel and hip-hop. Read more from executive director Melinda Steffy about musical family trees and new ideas taking root.

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LiveConnections is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

 

 

Additional support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

 

LiveConnections.org is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, tax ID 26-2666641. The official registration and financial information of LiveConnections.org may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.