Original Song by the Johnny Mercer Children’s Choir
Through generous support from The Johnny Mercer Foundation, the Braille Institute’s Johnny Mercer Children’s Choir undertook a special project to create original lyrics for two new songs. As a result, the Braille Institute recently released a music video of one of these songs.
The Braille Institute’s Choir Director, Scarlett Brais, stated that “the songwriting project began in 2016 with lyric workshops led by Sari Rose Barron, Program Director, Johnny Mercer Foundation Accentuate the Positive Program. During these workshops, the students sat in a circle while Sari engaged them in an open conversation about their disabilities, the hardships they faced at school, and the way they felt about having a visual impairment. The students felt comfortable and knew they were safe amongst their peers, and this empowered them to openly express themselves. As the students spoke, Sari wrote down the key phrases, sentences and words that they were saying, and began developing those thoughts into lyrics. She encouraged them to think positively and create a song that highlighted their strengths rather than their anxieties.”
Through the recommendation of Michael Kerker, Director of Musical Theatre for ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and a board member of The Johnny Mercer Foundation, professional composer Peter Seibert created the music for the students to set their lyrics. The choir spent about a year learning two original songs and debuted them at a Braille Institute concert in late 2017.
During the summer of 2018, they focused on recording one of the original songs. After practicing singing into the recording microphones and becoming comfortable with the recording process, the choir members spent a three-hour session at a local home-studio recording their individual voices. Many additional hours were spent mixing the song and creating a music video that contains footage of the choir members in the songwriting workshops, rehearsal, live performance, in the recording studio, and even a field trip to the park.
Click here to see the music video of The Johnny Mercer Children’s Choir original song “Do What You Do.”