Students of Ackerman Academy will present a special music program with artists-in-residence from Portland nonprofit My Voice Music on Thursday, March 13, at The Place to Be Cafe from 6-8:30 p.m.

The performance is a culminating project for the high school music students, who have been writing and practicing their own songs as an elective during the winter trimester. The performance will include original art from students, poetry readings and special guest Grammy-nominated blues musician Ellen Whyte, who worked with the students for their performance last year. The program also includes original music, a variety of cover songs, and students manning everything from the instruments to the cameras from OCTS, which will be there to record the event.

Thanks to a grant from the Canby Education Foundation, Ackerman Academy brought in My Voice Music, which works with at-risk youth to empower them through music and expression.

“From day one, the Ackerman students have showed a willingness to participate in our sometimes goofy activities, and we greatly appreciate them being so open-minded,” said artist-in-residence Santigie Fofana-Dura from My Voice Music. “The students have been able to create music as a group while showcasing themselves as individuals, which is never easy.”

This music program is a continuation of last year’s artist-in-residence program, which focused on visual and performing arts, including work with Canby Artist Association volunteers and other professionals in the field.

“Students tackled the big themes — life and death, betrayal and trust, joy and happiness — during their My Voice Music class. The students composed original music based on the themes and their study of music and lyrical composition,” Ackerman Principal Noel Hygelund said. “I believe that performance builds confidenc, and I’m excited to see our school shine with confidence during the My Voice, My Music concert.”

Hygelund will join Superintendent John Steach in playing backup music for songs during the event.

The Place to Be Cafe is hosting the program as part of its “Mission Possible,” event series, and 25 percent of the profits earned during the performance will be donated to continue the arts at Ackerman.

The fundraising will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the students will arrive at 6 p.m. for a short reception.

For more information on the program, contact Grace Saad at 503-929-6244 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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