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Putting life in 'Perspectives'

On her way to a middle school choral festival in Klamath Falls, eighth-grader Amanda Adams sat on the lumbering school bus with the rest of the Scenic Middle School choir class and wrote a song called "Perspectives" about how all the people in her life seem to see things in a different way.

"A small child peers through the huge stained glass window looking at people go by," Amanda sings, relaying the words of her song. "All of them seem to be wearing a red coat. His father sees them in white."

"Perspectives" will be performed during a concert at 7 p.m. May 21 at Scenic Middle School, 1955 Scenic Ave., Central Point.

Amanda, who writes poetry, had come up with the song after performing a tune April 2 written by Hanby Middle School sixth-grader Jenna Jade Arruda for a Central Point School District concert.

She also was inspired by songs her music teacher, Heather Hutton, had written and performed for a CD out last year called "Closing the Divide."

Noticing Amanda's and other students' interest in songwriting, Hutton offered an extra credit assignment to write a song.

"Songwriting is a way to express the world around you and make sense of it. In all art, there is structure," Hutton says. "I thought writing a song would be a good way to connect music structure — form, melody and rhythm — with expression and words. You can't be too literal because it's too boring. You have to be more metaphorical, and that's a higher use of language."

Using her own music, the teacher showed the students the structure of a song.

"Verses tell the story, the chorus repeats and is the hook of the whole story, and the bridge gives another perspective and has another tune," Hutton says.

"I didn't even know such a thing as a bridge existed," Amanda says.

Nine choir students volunteered to write a song for extra credit, but only one would be performed at the school's May 21 concert.

Seventh-grader Aunika Lawrence wrote about her family supporting her through difficult times.

"I pretty much wrote it on my own but was allowed to ask for help," Aunika says. The words go, "Stand by me in my darkness, stand by me when I am scared, stand by me when I am feeling lonely, stand by me when dark clouds come."

Eighth-grader Chelsea Vogt wrote a song to her friend who had been cutting herself as a way to cope with problems.

"I wanted to point out that a lot of people choose different ways to express their emotions, and sometimes they choose things that can make their emotions worse like cutting yourself," Chelsea says.

After the students composed their songs, they sang them in front of the choir, which voted on their favorite.

"It was a big stretch for me to come up and sing about it," Aunika says.

The choir class voted for Amanda's "Perspectives" to be performed at the concert.

"I thought I wasn't going to get it," Amanda says. "Aunika did a good song. I voted for hers."

Hutton helped Amanda record the melody of her song and gave it chords.

"She helped me solidify it," Amanda says.

Amanda and Aunika will sing solos in the piece accompanied by the rest of the Scenic choir.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.

Scenic Middle School choir teacher Heather Hutton, left, and 8th graders Amanda Adams and Chelsea Vogt sing a song written by Amanda. The choir will perform the song during the school's music program. Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune photo - Bob Pennell