As budget cuts exacerbate an already deplorable situation in our inner-city schools, the arts are among the first to go. In Springfield, Massachusetts, one woman, educator, musician, and cultural activist Jane Sapp is doing all she can to stem the tide -- with remarkable success.

Someone Sang for Me is a portrait of this courageous and insightful woman, as she uses music to convey a sense of self-worth to at-risk youth. Her singing group, The Voices of Today, has performed to standing ovations throughout the country. This piece has been purchased by such distinguished institutions as Harvard University, Teachers College, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Berklee College of Music.

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(in PDF format) from:
Courtney Cazden, Department of Education, Harvard University
Apostle Gregory Brown, Pastor, Chicago, IL

Someone Sang for Me has been featured at several film festivals, including:
  • Women's Film Festival in Brattleboro, Vermont - Best of Show audience award
  • Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison, Wisconsin
  • Houston WorldFest - Bronze Remi Award.
  • Aurora Award - Platinum Best of Show.
  • National Women's Studies Association Film Series, New Orleans
Someone Sang for Me has been broadcast by WYBE in Philadelphia and WGBY in Springfield, MA. Free Speech TV has also secured the rights to broadcast the piece over the next two years.

Here is what influential educators and artists are saying about this important film:

Julie Akeret has made a beautiful, insightful, humane film. Her vision is generous and uncompromising.

Ken Burns,
Documentary Filmmaker,
The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz

Julie Akeret's video is a vivid demonstration of how the arts can inspire and educate our children. Educators, parents - anyone who cares about our schools - will find in Akeret's well-crafted and energetic portrait of the gifted teacher/musician Jane Sapp and her music program a model from which to learn and take hope.

David Grubin,
Documentary Filmmaker,
LBJ; TR, The Story of Theodore Roosevelt; FDR; Healing and the Mind, with Bill Moyers

I was very moved by this documentary.

Howard Zinn,
Historian Activist

At a time when the educational reform movement is emphasizing standards and standardized testing, it is wonderful to discover that educators such as Jane Sapp have remained committed to music and expression as a way of arousing children's minds to life as well as a way of connecting the mind and the heart, so that childhood development is positive and affirming.

Peter Cookson,
President of Outreach and Innovations at Teachers College,
Columbia University

This video of Jane Sapp's work with young people should be required viewing in every school of education in this country. It shows us how cultural work puts the experiences of youth at the center of their education and positive growth in a difficult world. It is a video of miracles and hard work with people who have been marginalized by this society.

Suzanne Pharr, Director,
Highlander Research and Education Committee,

I loved this video.

Courtney Cazden,
Harvard University School of Education

Julie Akeret's documentary Someone Sang for Me is able to do what few others have done in regards to making the cultural context of the community understandable through the venue of music.

The power of Someone Sang for Me is in the words of Ms. Sapp as she talks about how integral music is to the cultural context of the community and the importance of having young people create so that they will know that there are always possibilities. The power of Someone Sang for Me is heard in the voices of the young people as they talk about managing difficult emotions, how everyone is a leader, and in the earnest, passionate, and joyous feeling they bring to the music itself.

Sharon Washington,
Education Graduate Program Coordinator,
Springfield College

Someone Sang for Me demonstrates Sapp's successes at a time when budget cuts have abolished many such programs and relegated others to the margins. It serves as a quiet but searing indictment of the lip service Americans pay to public education.

Robert H. Abzug,
Professor of History and American Studies,
University of Texas

While the documentary boasts its share of heartwarming moments, it never turns maudlin or manipulative. Indeed, Someone Sang for Me is that rare thing: a film that is as moving as it is provocative.

Amy Kroin,
Valley Advocate

Viewers step inside the world of extracurricular rehearsals and insightful teen discussion groups where kids talk about issues ranging from self-esteem to poverty. Footage captures the music teacher's energy and charisma as well as her ability to communicate and bring people together through music. This uplifting program is useful as an in-service training tool, especially in multiethnic, urban enviroments, to demonstrate the role of the arts in strengthening the core curriculum.


This film is a powerful example of the importance of arts in public education... This video illustrates that... the arts are the key to developing a well-rounded, whole individual that can function and contribute within our society and to themselves, and that taking the arts out of public education is a serious injustice and danger to the future of our society. The power of music on the development and balance of the the human psyche is critical at an early age, and this film is a testimonial to that viewpoint.

Brad Eden, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Educational Media Reviews Online

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