It’s amazing how much a beautiful soul can influence another’s life. One person I absolutely adore and respect as a role model is Kristin Chenoweth. Aside from her A+ dynamite performing arts skills, Kristin has one of the most kind & gentle souls I have ever seen. I have had the honor and privilege of seeing Kristin perform in concert and on Broadway about a half dozen times, and even have had the pleasure of meeting her too! At one of Kristin’s concerts, as she was about to sing her song “I Was Here”, she allowed her musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell to talk to the audience about her ASTEP organization. ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with underserved youth in the United States and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty (a lack of choice).
I recently had the pleasure of volunteering in the “ASTEP on Stage!” program with a lesson at the Women in Need housing shelter in Brooklyn. I co-led this lesson with Elisabeth “Lizzy” Rainer (with additional guidance from Aaron Rossini) that taught the 6-12 year old students about the Star Spangled Banner.
I absolutely LOVE our Star Spangled Banner and one of my life’s highlights thus far was singing it as a soloist at a MLB Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game in front of over 33,000 people! I knew incorporating some fun facts about our national anthem into the lesson would create an environment in the classroom that was not only jovial, but also educational. Two tidbits of information the children especially enjoyed learning were that Francis Scott Key’s original Star Spangled Banner includes 4 verses and the 1st verse of the song, which is accepted as our National Anthem, ends with a question mark!! I even sang it for the class with many of the students, and staff, joining in as well :)
The latter portion of the class challenged students to recognize their own personal anthems. After brainstorming their anthems, students had the opportunity to come to the front of the class to share their anthems with their peers.
Mine was: “Chris’s personal anthem is sharing his smile with everyone because he loves making people happy.”
Some of the students’ anthems included:
having love and joy because love and joy are key
letting it go because that means freedom for all
being happy all the time
giving a thumbs up to everyone so they feel good
being kind because some people are sad and mad
being fun and bored because sometimes people are both
What’s your personal anthem? Does it make you smile?