On November 8th and 9th Whitman held the annual Freedom Songs event. Every year the students put on this event to help the audience and performers to reflect on the societies we live in, while presenting music, dance, and poetry from underrepresented artists and students.
The lobby was packed as I walked in the door from the cold November night. Teachers, students, and members from the community were gathered and chatting waiting for the theatre doors to open. At the ticket booth volunteers checked tickets and handed out Freedom Zines, interactive booklets filled with art, short stories, and poems, that encouraged the reader to write notes in the margins and interact with the text. The Zine set the tone for the night as a reflective hour for the audience, giving people a way to interact with the show without interrupting it.
The performances presented topics of oppression that were difficult to look in the eye, and did it beautifully. This year’s theme of hope and healing did not lessen the passion of the performers nor did it remove any of the impactfulness of the performances. This year featured 2 dances choreographed by Ali Rodriguez, a live performance of a song with dancing behind the singer and guitarist, two poems, a comedy video, a metal video, a violin performance, and a song from each of Whitman’s acapella groups. The night concluded with all of the performers singing three songs about freedom together, keeping with the tradition to sing Ella’s Song (Sweet Honey in the Rock) at the end of every Freedom Songs event.
The Freedom Songs event was powerful, engaging, thought provoking and aside from a few technical difficulties, flawless. I would recommend that every Whitman student attend this event. There are limited seats, but the tickets are free, so there is no reason not to go.