Saturday, May 6, 2017

Linda Richards: A Musical Magician

The strains of the 1970s song "Reunited" are going through my head.

 An old friend is back in town.

These are the things that make your heart sing... especially when songs are involved.

Songs are always involved when it comes to Linda Richards, the mastermind behind S.L.Y.M.I: Sing Like You Mean It. Linda's music education program strives to connect kids (young and old) in music with a meaning and meant to share a message. Linda's mantra: "Songs can change the world!"

Linda, an avid environmental educator, has a rich history, in both environmentalism & music. Working with Pete Seeger on the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, she developed a music program called the Power of Song. Linda uses music to enrich content, tying it to emotions while connecting kids to the outdoors, social awareness, & the importance of empathy, respect, & caring for our world.

It's through environmental education that I first met Linda Richards, 10 years ago, at a li'l river-side eco school that sadly no longer is there.
A friend of our science teacher, Linda came to enjoy our Earth Day assembly. There, the 2 of them decided that the following year they could orchestrate a far better assembly... especially if Linda came for two days--writing eco parodies with our elementary students on Day 1 so that they could then BE the assembly the following day. For 6 years, it was an annual Earth Week assembly... which truly made our hearts sing.

Fast forward. My eco school, Eagle Cove, closed in 2014, & all of my colleagues (& students) had to flee the nest. We did, we scattered, we landed, we compared notes, & I found myself thanking my lucky stars where I landed. Some of us did better than others. I was one of the lucky ones! Life moved on, & then with my help (& others), my new school became a green school last spring. Along the way, I shared my ECS eco-experience. In our new green scene, we were looking for an Earth Day Assembly 2017. Enter Linda Richards, & the circle of life. Hakuna Matata.

Linda spent a day at my school, entertaining the younger students in a lively assembly. She & each of our 3rd grade classes wrote eco-parodies.
Our day wrapped up with another assembly for grades 3-5 where the 3rd graders were part of the featured entertainment.

Ahh! To old times, familiar memories, & another crop of kids who get to experience the importance of environmentalism & social awareness through song.
It's a beautiful, wonderful thing.

Here are the 2 songs that Linda Richards wrote with our 3rd graders:

Take Me Out to the Ocean
sung to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

Take me out to the ocean,
Take me out to the beach,
Help me to pick up the bottle caps,
And find ways to recycle the trash.
And there's oil from boats in the Chesapeake,
The rockfish and oysters are mad!
Stop! Help the Chesapeake and
Save the Day... Hooray!

This Bay Is Your Bay
sung to the tune of "This Land is Your Land"

This bay is your bay,
This bay is my bay,
From our own school,
All the way to Baltimore.
From the longest rivers,
To the deepest oceans,
This bay was made for you and me.

As I was fishing, I saw a rockfish.
It was so slimy, and trapped in plastic.
I helped the rockfish,
And recycled the plastic
What can we do to save our world?

To relive some of my favorite memories with Linda Rivers making magic and music with my former students, check out the links below:
For other ways to visit Linda Richards (because you know you want to)...
Check out her music album that she released earlier this year. (An easy place to get it is iTunes.)
To see the types of music programs she could bring to your school, center, or event go to her Programs page.

Images from our school's photographer; SLYMI logo from

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