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Folk Singer Inspires Hartshorn Students

Singer and songwriter Joe Jencks helps students write and sing about character traits they have been focusing on this year.

Joe Jencks leads Hartshorn students in June 6 concert. (Contributed photo)
Joe Jencks leads Hartshorn students in June 6 concert. (Contributed photo)
Hartshorn students presented a “Character Counts” concert Friday, June 6 during a picnic for school families and staff. The concert was the culmination of a weeklong songwriting workshop with folk singer, songwriter and artist-in-residence Joe Jencks.

Hartshorn second-grade teacher Amy Blake has used her love of music and songwriting as a method to deliver the curriculum for years. This year, thanks to funding from the Hartshorn PTO and Principal Ken Frattini, Blake brought her friend and musician Jencks to help the students in each grade write and sing a song about one of the character traits they have been focusing on this year as a character development initiative.  

The six traits covered in song are: kindness, fairness, honesty, courage, respect and responsibility. 

This “Musical Celebration of How We Live Our Lives” was an opportunity for students to reflect on the lessons learned, and to remember to carry those lessons forward. The concert included music by Jencks as well as the student singers. 

It was “A wonderful Hartshorn community experience,” said teacher Kathleen Small.  

Teacher Michele Orsini said, “Joe Jencks did an incredible job with the children—managing to bring out the best in all of them. It was a wonderful week for Hartshorn.”

Jencks is an international touring performer, songwriter, entertainer and educator, based in Chicago. From venues like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, to coffee houses, festivals, spiritual communities, and schools, Jencks has spent the last 12 years touring full time. He is noted for his unique merging of musical beauty, social consciousness, and spiritual exploration.

Jencks’ trio, "Brother Sun" performs widely throughout the United States and Canada, and their current recording "Some Part of the Truth" debuted at No. 1 on the Folk DJ Chart in March. In addition to the recording debuting at No. 1, its first track, Jencks's song, "Lady of the Harbor" also debuted at No. 1. The song can be heard here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3gOoySyNlI

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