Students from four classes at Easton Elementary School gave tribute to musician Robbie Schaefer, who has been introducing them to writing their own music for the last four years. Schaefer, through his program ONEVoice, also gave some of the students an opportunity to do a joint project with children suffering through the Syrian refugee crisis.
The entire program is part of The Avalon Foundation’s Outreach to area school students through the support of the Dock Street Foundation.The students and Principal Redman had a special message and presentation of a plaque for Schaefer, who is also the creative force behind the successful, alternative music act, Eddie from Ohio. “Dear Robbie,” the plaque reads, “On behalf of the staff and students at Easton Elementary-Moton, I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The work that you have done and the work that you continue to do encourages all of us to help make this world a better place for all, regardless of race, religion or relative location of this Earth.”The plaque for Schaefer further reads, “We have been blessed to have you work with our children at Easton Elementary-Moton for several years now.
Each time you come, I see the eyes of our children light up with pride, hope and love—the pride that comes from ‘writing a song with Robbie Schaefer!’—the hope that one day all of our communities will be united and able to speak with One Voice on behalf of all of humanity, and—the love that comes from your positive energy. It is contagious, and we are so fortunate that we get to welcome you home each year. We hope that you enjoy your time here as much as we look forward to having you!”
Last year Schaefer visited a Syrian Refugee camp in Greece and carried a special message from Easton Elementary halfway around the world with him. “It gave the school kids here an opportunity to send a message, to people their own age in another part of the world, that they were thinking of them and worried for them, loved them and hoped they were safe,” said Suzy Moore of The Avalon Foundation’s Outreach Program. On his visit to Greece, Schaefer took two puzzle pieces with him, one of which the students in Easton had colored, and the second was colored by the refugee children. When he came back with the colored pieces from Greece, the students here and children there shared in the message that we are all one. Schaefer’s teaching sessions start with him saying, “Songs can come from your imagination, where you make them up, or they can come from something you have experienced in real life.” In the classroom setting, Schaefer meticulously mines the minds of the students to get whatever sounds and lyrics are in their heads, and creates songs complete with verses and choruses that the children make up entirely by themselves. In this way, music, creativity, and the positive effects on the students are magnified. The students’ tunes include characters such as two best friend giraffes, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and subjects like human nature and the importance of realizing that we are all different in our own special ways.
“Our 5th grade class wanted to let Robbie know how much his commitment to being a good person meant to them, because they will be graduating to Middle School next year and will leave this particular program behind,” said Ms. Heather Orr, teacher at EES- Moton. “He really has a special connection with the children and they love the classroom work they do with him. And then comes the opportunity to perform both in front of their peers and their families on The Avalon Theatre stage. It is an especially rewarding program that has fully blossomed over the last four years.”The plaque borrowed words from one of Schaefer’s own songs that the children also learned and concluded. “ ‘You were born with endless love inside you; the whole world is calling your name. Everyone’s singing ‘Hallelujah’; everybody rides on the Miracle Train. You are powerful beyond imagination; you are made of indelible light. Who is going to change this world for the better? You just might.’ Well, no truer words have been spoken when it comes to describing you. We are all here to tell you that YOU Are Beautiful, and that you have absolutely changed this world for the better. Thank you for spreading your love every single day!”
More information on The Avalon Foundation and its programming, including their Outreach program is available online at avalonfoundation.org or by calling and talking directly to Jess Bellis or Suzy Moore at 410-822-7299.