Young Authors Greenhouse | Louisville, Kentucky


A week or so ago I was in Louisville and got to see some truly astonishing 7th graders perform songs with Jim James, Teddy Abrams, 1200, Tyrone Cotton, Rachel Grimes and other professional musicians. The kids wrote the songs, the musicians set them to music. This all happened on a Friday morning, and there were standing ovations for every tune. Here's 1200 with a few of the students. -D.E.


This is all the work of the Young Authors Greenhouse, a new youth writing center based on the 826 Valencia model. For a year they’ve been doing great work in a school called Frederick Law Olmsted Academy South — an all-girls public middle school run by a visionary principal, Angela Allen. -D.E.


Here, Tyrone Cotton and Jim James work with students at Frederick Law Olmsted Academy South school. The students wrote lyrics, and then musicians like Jim and Tyrone set them to music. The results were extraordinary. Keep your ears peeled for Jim’s imminent release of the song he worked on with the students. And someday the story of the pink dinosaur-piano will be told. -D.E.


Here’s a picture of Adrena, Mohogne and Skylar, three Louisville students who call their group Breaking Chains. They wrote a very moving song called “Is It Friendship?” based on an experience one of the three songwriters had. Check out these lyrics. There were three groups that wrote and performed that morning, and every song was heavy. No jaunty tunes about four-square. These are serious young people. -D.E.

You forgot about me
Kicked me to the curb
Our friendship was a lesson 
A lesson to be learned
I tried to stay and make it work
But we never could go back 
to where we were

Isn’t friendship being there for each other?
Isn’t friendship being real to each other?
Isn’t friendship forgiving each other?
Is it friendship? Is it friendship?