LEWISBURG (WVDN) – Greenbrier County elementary school students attended performances by The Bright Siders at Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg as part of their partnership program, Spotlight on Schools.
On Oct. 13 and 14, Carnegie Hall presented four performances to nine elementary schools.
The Bright Siders is a unique musical collaboration between Nashville-based Americana songwriter Kristin Andreassen and Brooklyn-based child psychiatrist Kari Groff, M.D. Together, they create music with the purpose of helping children connect to their emotions.
Dr. Goff is an accomplished physician running a child psychiatry practice in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her side passion has always been as a fiddler and songwriter. Through her clinical work as a child psychiatrist, Dr. Groff has seen first-hand how powerful music can be in helping children to process emotions. As a young doctor, she started writing her own material based on the issues brought to her by her patients, weaving psychiatric advice within her catchy lyrics.
Andreassen has toured world stages as a singer, clogger, square dance caller and educator, first with the Maryland-based Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, and then with old-time string band Uncle Earl (Abigail Washburn, Rayna Gellert, K.C. Groves) and “folk noir” trio Sometymes Why (Ruth Ungar, Aoife O’Donovan).
As a songwriter, Andreassen’s achievements include the kids’ radio hit “Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color for Your Eyes”.
It was a chance meeting between Andreassen and Dr. Groff that launched The Bright Siders as a shared musical endeavor. The songs and skits are all intended to set the stage for conversations with children about common emotional themes and experiences they’re likely to have while growing up.
“More than anything, we encourage parents, educators, and caregivers to listen to this music with their children. Where does the real magic of this album happen? It’s in actively listening to the music with children and then talking about what they experience in response to the music,” says Dr. Groff.
“Children should understand that their feelings are valid and important to the adults around them,” she continues. “And parents can help children live rich and meaningful lives by helping them accept and understand their emotional experiences with compassion – even if they, as parents, cannot directly fix a problem that is making them anxious or sad.”
Students from Alderson, Crichton, Frankford, Lewisburg, Rainelle, Ronceverte, Rupert, Smoot, and White Sulphur Springs elementary schools attended this year’s performances.
Spotlight on Schools features a different performance medium each year, giving the students in Greenbrier County unique opportunities to realize the power of live performance. By bringing inspiring performers, artists, and musicians to the area, Carnegie Hall strives to present experiences that broaden our students’ understanding of the world outside southeastern West Virginia. Money from the Greenbrier County School levy helps fund programs like Spotlight on Schools. For more information on this program, contact Harmony Flora, education director, at 304-645-7917.