The Nooksack Valley flooding tossed plenty of uncertainty into the lives of students across the district. With efforts across the community ongoing to support the needs of families, the Nooksack Valley Schools' elementary music teachers decided to give the students something to sing for, leading to a Friday all-elementary Zoom sing-along assembly where students will all gather to sing "Woyaya."
The song's name comes from the Ghanaian Ga language and means "we are going," something that Sumas Elementary music teacher Landon Wynne says "seemed to capture the positive and realistic side of what is happening in the Nooksack district right now. As the song says, we don't know where we're going or how we'll get there, but we are going together."
Wynne says many of the students are excited to do something as an entire district and enjoy feeling like they're part of something bigger. "Some are flourishing with the opportunity to show their skills and work hard on challenging singing and percussion parts," he says. "Still others seem to just be glad to have some degree and predictability and normalcy in their schools right now. While some are still reeling from devastating losses and the chaos of a life upended, the communal nature of the project is giving us another way to feel connected and mutually supported."
With the ongoing pandemic restrictions, students have been without a musical performance experience for nearly two years. "One of the most important and unique aspects of music as an academic subject is its public performances," Wynne says. "To have a community performance on the schedule is a huge milestone of its own, in addition to this being a critical time for community strength and mutual support. We hope students leave the experience feeling as if they accomplished something fairly difficult and knowing that they are a part of a community that is sharing life together, no matter where it's going."