MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Teaching through music! We take a look at the Boys and Girls Choir of Memphis and how music theory and vocal training is changing lives. It's local good news.
Ashanti Bennett loves to play the guitar. And, he loves to sing. He's a student at Lake Cormorant High School. He's also a member of the Boys and Girls Choir of Memphis.
"The choir is a way for me to stay out of trouble, to stay away from negative influences outside of school and away from home," said Ashanti Bennett.
The choir was formed to introduce youth to arts education. It was also created so young women and men like Ashanti can use songs to express joy, victory, and even sorrow.
After Ashanti sings these lyrics, "Jesus bring the rain. Relieve me of my pain," Local 24 anchor Katina Rankin asked him. "Why did you write that song?”
"Initially, I had written it because my granddad had just passed, and I was kind of looking for a sense of relief, a sense of cleansing," said Bennett.
Fleming Ivory is the founder of the choir which falls under the Youth Performing Arts Company or YPAC.
"The reason why I started YPAC International is because when I was a young child or teenager, I kind of ran the streets, and it was the arts that saved me from the streets," said YPAC Founder Fleming Ivory.
The children have traveled to the U.K., Jamaica, Canada and across the U.S. to sing. The choir serves children ages seven to eighteen. They're taught music theory and vocal training.
"We represent the greatest city in the world, Memphis, TN, globally, and share the Memphis music, Memphis soul, blues, rock and roll, gospel to the world, and also teach our children about our culture as they also become very sensitive and aware of other cultures," said Ivory.
And their next stop is California.
"I have lived through the worst. But, I still pray every day," sings Bennett.
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