An owl’s hoot and a wolf’s soft howl could be heard in the Lake City High School Auditorium Tuesday as the school’s choir practiced for its performance that evening.
This choir concert wasn’t a typical one: There were no fun sing-alongs or classical pieces. Instead, students performed traditional music from various Native American tribes and foreign countries.
Students have been working on the songs since January, and did a lot of research to go with them.
“Most tribes don’t have a choral tradition,” said Mark Petty, the choir teacher at Lake City. “But recently, there’s been a collaboration between tribes and composers to start bridging a cultural understanding.”
With the help of a grant from the EXCEL Foundation, Petty had all five of his choirs research different pieces of music and their meanings.
Students looked at the cultural connections of the music. For example, the Cherokee song one group sang was about the Trail of Tears. Students got to learn about the displacement of the tribe during the Trail of Tears and use that to talk about Native displacement that’s still happening today.