Hi, I'm Sarah :) I'm a single mom, a music teacher, a photographer, a philanthropist, and when I can find the time I enjoy teaching yoga.
I have the insanely awesome job of inspiring kids through music. I'm a super energetic crazy teacher that is generally dancing around like a lunatic, acting half my age while singing at the top of my lungs. I teach kids everything that they need to know to have a great foundation in music. Once they know that...I get to start *really* teaching. I teach them to express themselves. Be unique. Dream. Be creative. Hear the music with your heart and perform it with your soul. Most importantly I try to teach them through music they can be anything and do anything that they choose. I, LOVE. My. Job.
Our school has had a new music teacher every year for nearly a decade. Until me. This is my second year. While my predecessors have done a fine job, no one has been there long enough to build the music program. Between that and drastic cuts in funding over the past several years the music program needs new life. I realized that we lacked the equipment necessary to accomplish the two most important aspects of a performance...to be seen and be heard. We have one small set of risers which is enough for approximately 15 kids. Only problem is that I teach 400 kids, and during each performance, anywhere from 65-85 students are showcased at a time, so the rest of them are left standing in a line on each side of the risers feeling awkward. Then there's the sound system and two outdated microphones. We don't have a gymnasium or auditorium so we perform outdoors. Although the excellent weather in our state provides a lovely atmosphere...most of what I've taught them floats up into the beautiful Arizona sky before it ever makes it way to the audience's ears. Then it all made sense. If I can't be seen and can't be heard...why bother?
For the majority of a year now I've been trying to think of a way to fix this problem. I want risers. I want better sound. But most importantly I want the kids to WANT to be there. Whether or not they realize it those experiences will without a doubt help shape them into more confident, well rounded individuals and they will carry those experiences with them for life. Period. Recently during class I had an incredible realization. It was as though time froze for a brief moment and as I scanned the class I couldn't help but find myself with tears in my eyes and goosebumps covered my body. I realized that it wasn't just their knowledge that had grown, They had grown. So much. And their love for the music was more powerful than I ever imagined it could be. What I saw was beautiful and what I heard was indescribable. These kids have to be seen. They have to be heard.
I went to bed that night and couldn't get it out of my mind. I dreamt about it all night and when I woke the next morning I immediately realized what it was. I wanted to make an album. I'd have the kids professionally recorded and filmed so everyone could see and hear how amazing they are. Then I'll sell the CDs and DVDs and use the money earned to buy the equipment I need for our school. Yes. That's it. And I knew exactly who I needed to call on for help.
Kent Hertz has been a dear friend of mine for nearly 20 years. Since meeting in the drumline in Southwest Iowa Honor Marching Band we have both continued filling our lives with music. He has become a seasoned co-writer, producer, and engineer in the music business and has recorded countless artists including Michael Jackson, Steve Miller, and Gloria Estefan. I contacted Kent and told him my idea. Without a moment's hesitation...he agreed. Now we just need your help to complete the project so that everyone can see and hear these inspiring students.
The "Rise Up Project" is not just about one school that needs risers and microphones. It is about a much deeper need. Our children need music. As a society we must come together to make it a priority in all of our schools.
Risks and challenges
The hardest part is knowing exactly when we can get the merchandise in our hands and start shipping everything out that you ordered. Although, assuming we are successful in funding, we will make sure we get all the prizes out immediately following the Kickstarter campaign which ends on June 30th. We will make sure to keep everyone in the loop who is a part of the Rise Up Project. Thank you for all your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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