Students Embrace Diversity Through Music

VERSATILE VOCALS: Common Chords plays at Staples
Photos by Emily Kowal ’12 & Ben Reiser ’13

On Apr. 28, the musical group Common Chords performed for Staples students in the auditorium.

Common Chords is a group of twelve ethnically diverse musicians who perform for middle and high school students around the country.

“It seems like we’ve been together forever,” said guitarist Salman Ahmad. “But really, it’s only been a few years.”

The New York based group plays traditional instruments such as the guitar, the saxophone and the violin; however, students are most intrigued by their unusual instruments, such as the tabla (an Indian percussion instrument).

The performance included lesser known Indian and Klezmer (a form of Jewish folk music from Eastern Europe) melodies, as well as renowned hits like John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Student violinist, Sam Weiser ’12, made a cameo appearance during the performance.

“I thought Sam was great. His technique and musicality were amazing,” said Jake Landau ‘13.

Members of the PTA Cultural Arts Committee organized the assembly. Each school year they strive to find new, attention-grabbing ways for students to embrace and experience other cultures around the world.

At today’s performance, it was evident that Common Chords allowed students to experience eclectic musical traditions.

“I think it was great that Staples brought culture to the school through music; music is the universal language.” said Katie Hickson ‘13.

Mary Lou Huisking, the diversity coordinator for Staples, thought the performance was wonderful as well.

“[The PTA Cultural Arts Committee] did a great job highlighting culture and having students learn a bit more about their ethnic background,” said Huisking.

Common Chords’ performance was merely one way that the committee attempts to present diversity.

“We have an Indian chef coming to the culinary classes and a man who lives in Egypt is coming to talk to some of the history classes,” said Huisking.

For more information about Common Chords, visit www.commonchordsmusic.com.