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Carr gives

CHAMPLAIN - Adrian Carr knows music becomes much more than sound when there is meaning behind the lyrics.

After receiving a decentralization grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, the composer and pianist visited with chorus teacher Kathy Kokes' class at Northeastern Clinton Central School April 7, sharing his philosophy.

"I think words and music is just so important ... to the world today," said Carr. "I wanted to get the young people to be more actively involved and so Kathy made an assignment for [them] to bring in their favorite song with lyrics."

"I want them to understand what's going on in the words and how words are reflective in music," he added. The class chose to examine songs such as "Clocks," by Coldplay; "Funny the Way It Is," by Dave Matthews Band; and "American Honey," by Lady Antebellum - something a little different for Kokes' class.

"When I teach a song in the choruses, we do spend time looking at the words," Kokes said. "I think it's important for them to understand what they're singing, because in doing so, they're able to portray a better performance."

However, Kokes had never done that with "pop" songs.

"I think it was interesting for them to take songs that they just kind of take for granted and they mindlessly listen to," she said. "I think, with the songs we were able to look at, they came out with a different meaning and appreciation."

Aside from learning about the meaning of lyrics, Carr talked to the students about his experiences as a musician.

"I love this area, but I find sometimes my students in this area are isolated," Kokes said. "To have someone like Adrian, who has done so many different things in life and in the music field, come in and just spend time with them, I jumped right at it."

Kokes, however, couldn't have done it alone.

"[Principal Stephen E. Gratto] just made the schedule so flexible for us that day so Adrian could come up and spend some ... quality time with the kids," she explained. "It wouldn't have happened without him giving me that okay."

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