By Phil Williams: Guest columnist
This is part of a week-long series in celebration of “Music in Our Schools Week” at Clovis Municipal Schools.
As I grew up in the central part of New Jersey, I always loved music.
Maybe it’s because of all the great artists born in the area — William “Count” Basie, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Dionne Warrick, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul Simon, Queen Latifah, Whitney Houston, and of course, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen. You name it— Gospel, soul, R&B, rock ’n’ roll, jazz, classical, country and western, big band, I love it all.
I learned an appreciation for music from my youth choir director, Francina Sapp. Sister Sapp always said, “It is one thing to have the gift of a voice and talent to play an instrument, but we all have our own song in life and music comes from the heart.”
It wasn’t until many years later that I understood what Sister Sapp was saying to us. I believe she was saying that music represents life, and although we come from different walks of life, we still have the same basic characteristics that make up humanity.
Music has always brought different cultures together for a common cause. During the civil rights movement, Americans sang, “We Shall Overcome,” as the theme for equality. The 1985 song, “We Are the World,” helped bring the world together in an effort to provide famine relief in Ethiopia. It was Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” that became a national theme song as our men and women went to serve in the Gulf War. Music concerts helped raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief and brought us together.
Now, more than ever, is a time that living in harmony is so important. During a time of terrorism, war on drugs, gang violence and so many other woes of society, there is one song I would like to leave in your mind as a theme to live by today. It comes from the 1971 Coke jingle — “I’d like to teach the world to sing. (In perfect harmony.)”
Keep the harmony going; support music in our schools.
Phil Williams is a Clovis Municipal Schools employee.