To book Six Degrees for your school or community organization, call (802) 540-1784 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Six Degrees is an educational project and musical panorama for schools and communities, to enlighten them about the threat of climate change locally and worldwide, and to urge them to choose more sustainable paths to the future. The title Six Degrees refers both to the cataclysmic result of the warming of the planet by six degrees Celsius, which would effectively end life on our planet, as well as to the “six degrees of separation” that connect all of humanity.
Six Degrees continues a legacy of activism through music begun by Counterpoint founder Robert De Cormier (1922-2017), who strove to deliver a message of peace and justice through his compositions and arrangements of folk music. Through music, narration, and video, Six Degrees will bring a crucial environmental message to a new generation, educating students of all ages how climate change threatens our survival and how green alternatives, renewables, and sustainability can address these dangers.
Although it involves performance, Six Degrees is not merely a concert. The project is flexible in nature, and Counterpoint will offer a choice of ways for schools to participate. We have chosen the choral works that make up Six Degrees for maximum flexibility, so that we can adapt the program for elementary, middle and high school levels. Approaching climate change through song, visuals, and narrative texts engages students with different learning styles and ensure that the message is received. Schools choose to perform different music according to the ability levels of the students. Where possible, students will prepare one or more complex works in advance with their music teachers.
On the day, the artist-educators at Counterpoint will provide a stimulating, varied, and fun participatory workshop that includes singing together, learning the simpler songs, discussion of the related issues, and viewing of the song videos. After preparing the students, the school workshop will culminate in a free performance at a school assembly or evening community event, where the students will present the musical selections that they have learned alongside the professional singers, and Counterpoint will perform portions on their own, all with the powerful background visuals. Each school can opt to have a live performance of the entire work, or to limit the program to one or more sections, or even individual song. We can also combine the music with other art forms being pursued by the students.
In performance, Six Degrees is comprised of three musical sections. Passages of spoken narration introduce and contextualize the sections and provide continuity throughout the performance. To accentuate the educational aspect of the project and provide a true multi-media experience, Counterpoint has created videos to be projected during the songs, whose images depict and respond to the music and deepen the message of the music and words. The first section include indigenous folk music respectively linked to the natural elements of earth, air, fire and water. Because the entire globe is ravaged by climate change, and humanity needs to work together as one world to combat climate change, this section of Six Degrees incorporates music from all six inhabited continents and relate to their specific cultural, social and environmental issues. Six Degrees reaches a climax with an original composition using dissonance to depict a catastrophic warming of six degrees, followed by an optimistic musical presentation of “turning the world around”: mitigating global warming through green technology, energy efficiency, renewables, and sustainability. The work concludes with a joyous medley of world music celebrating humanity in balance with nature, in which the performers and audience are encouraged to care for the earth.
These school performances will communicate the essential environmental message of the project and the day’s activities beyond the school’s walls to the audience of parents and family members, as well as engaged community members. Local non-profits working on climate change mitigation or environmental action can be invited to display materials at the performance. And, of course, the students who take part will bring their knowledge to their families and other parts of their communities. In this way, Six Degrees aims to have a very wide impact throughout the state.
Six Degrees uses singing together to engender a broad discussion among teachers, students, and communities about ways to address climate change in our society. These topics could include the benefits of changing from a fossil-fuel-driven economy to renewable and efficient energy systems, such as green transportation, solar panels and micro grids, wind turbines, biomass, battery storage and cold heat pumps, hydroelectric and geothermal; food sustainability; land use and planning; air and water stewardship; waste management; energy audits and weatherization; and general cooperation with and compassion for humanity worldwide. Related resources provided through the workshops may include booklets for schools and fliers from local businesses, government agencies, and non-profits, to inspire young and old to mobilize for a more sustainable world.