Music No Boundaries: Epiphany Slam

Saturday, February 29, 2020

This May Yellow Barn Music Haul returns to the Epiphany School in Dorchester, MA, for a four-day slam poetry residency. Working with saxophonist Travis Laplante, harpist Charles Overton, and Epiphany School’s art director, A.B. Deleveaux, six Epiphany students in grades 5 to 8 will write and perform poetry expressing their personal thoughts and experiences with civil rights, racial discrimination, gun violence, and climate change.

Participating students (three from the 5th and 6th grades, and three from 7th and 8th) will be selected from a school-wide poetry slam at the end of April. In May, they will pair with saxophonist Travis Laplante and harpist Charles Overton to create six performances that integrate their poetry with the musicians’ improvisations. Overton is both a member of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute and an accomplished classical harpist based in Boston. Laplante, who is an international soloist and chamber musician, as well as a master qigong practitioner in Putney, Vermont, explores both avant-garde classical compositions and free jazz. Their work will culminate in a day of performances on Music Haul at the Epiphany School and in downtown Boston (May 21st or 22nd, weather depending).

This will be Yellow Barn’s second slam poetry residency. The first residency, titled “Intimate Letters”, brought four poets ages 17 to 24 from Stockton, CA to Putney, VT together with the Parker Quartet, baritone William Sharp, and Yellow Barn Artistic Director and pianist Seth Knopp for a program interspersing original poetry with chamber music. The residency culminated in a tour of performances in Vermont, Boston, New York, and Dallas.

The upcoming residency marks Yellow Barn’s third visit to the Epiphany School. An independent school for children of economically disadvantaged families in Boston, with scholarships for all, Epiphany offers structured support to enable children to discover and develop the fullness of their individual gifts and to help their families thrive.

The first traveling stage of its kind, Music Haul is the brainchild of Yellow Barn, an international center for chamber music based in Vermont that generates an international troupe of faculty, alumni, and ensembles. Like all street performers, Music Haul and its musicians make the most of an environment conducive to personal conversation, musical and otherwise, that happens on common ground. By giving people the shared experience of listening to music on a street corner, playground, or field, Music Haul opens up the unique possibilities of what music can do to unite us.


Yellow Barn Music Haul at the Epiphany School, September 2016 (Photo: Iaritza Menjivar)