Female singers in Lakeridge High School's Company, the show choir, simply can't keep quiet. And that urge to raise their voices in solidarity earned them a trip to the state Capitol Building in Salem last week.
During the opening ceremonies of the Oregon House of Representatives on June 22, the Lakeridge Company ladies performed "I Can't Keep Quiet," which singer MILCK (a.k.a. Connie Lim) performed during the Women's March in D.C. The students were introduced by Speaker of the House Tina Kotek as guests of state Rep. Ann Lininger (D-Lake Oswego).
"The Lakeridge Company ladies gave an inspiring performance," Lininger says. "Our community is strongest when everyone has a voice. It was great to hear the students express that idea through their beautiful song."
Lakeridge Class of 2017 graduate and performer Kaya Bothe says that it was "really incredible" to have the full attention of the Oregon House of Representatives (which has 60 members).
"They all stood at the end, and one lady started clapping along to the song," Bothe says.
Sidney Amos, a fellow 2017 Lakeridge alumna, says the moment was special because the Company members all had the same goal in that moment: to share a message.
"And it was a pretty broad message, but also a pretty powerful one," Amos says. "Stand up for what you believe in, and let your voice be heard."
As if that weren't enough, the young women also were allowed to deliver a ringing rendition of "Happy Birthday" to Gov. Kate Brown. Riley Granger, a 2017 Pacer grad and soprano with Company, says Brown seemed surprised and pleased with the musical well wishes. The students were completely thrilled that they'd been afforded the chance to be there in the first place, Granger notes.
"We weren't expecting anything like this when we did the variety show," Granger says.
This moment in the sun for the young women came about because of school's variety show in April. The male and female members of Company split up and each performed their own act during the annual variety show April 22. The men performed "I Want It That Way," a 1999 pop love song by the Backstreet Boys. The women, under the direction of choir teacher Bill Campbell, entertained the crowd with "I Can't Keep Quiet," and a video of the performance found its way to Lim's Facebook page.
The recording went viral (48,000 views and counting).
"This video represents so much to me," Lim says on her page. "It represents hope and progress. I am so glad you ladies found my song online, and rallied together to sing out together. I hope you all bonded, and found friendships through this performance. And I hope you remind yourself as often as possible: your voice matters."
Heidi Moawad, the Governor's policy adviser on public safety, initially proposed that the singers be invited to perform at the Capitol Building. Moawad, friends of one of the young ladies' moms, heard the singers harmonizing at Lakeridge, and her father is Rep. Jeff Barker, chair of the House Judiciary Committee. When Lininger heard about the video, she definitely agreed and wanted the young women to sing the powerful piece in Salem.
Lakeridge senior Jenna Wilson says "Quiet" has a universal message.
"It's for everybody who feels like they need to stand up and say something," Wilson explains.
An excerpt from the song is:
"Cuz no one knows me no one ever will,
If I don't say something, take that dry blue pill.
They may see that monster, they may run away
But I have to do this, do it anyway."
(The blue pill can be seen as a reference to the movie "The Matrix," in which a blue pill is the path to sweet ignorance and oblivion, but the red pill is blistering, agonizing reality. Granger says students interpreted that blue pill as birth control and the "pressures upon women to take control over and subdue our own sexuality.")
Granger transcribed the music from an online video, so the group could perform it. She is thrilled that the video did so well in the first place.
"We put a lot of work and emotion into that performance, and it's exciting to see it being recognized," she says.
Wilson says music is a great way for people to connect.
"It's just a very powerful way to express emotion and share ideas," she says.
See the video of the performance at the state House here:
Check out the video of the performance at the variety show here: tinyurl.com/Lakeridgeladies-Quiet-variety
The Lakeridge High School Company members who performed at the Capitol Building June 22 are: Sidney Amos, Kaya Bothe, Marin Daraee, Kendall Ensing, Yelena Friedman, Riley Granger, Chloe Mike, Helen Plotkin, Gaby Rouhier, Jenna Wilson, Georgia Weeks and Carly Wood. Other female members of Company are: Lily Gleason and Annabelle Levin.