Collin Edouard (2019)
As a first generation born American, I have always been between two cultures. Music is a large part of my cultural identity and I have always been proud of being a Caribbean man, however, music in the mainstream will often make people like me feel less American which can create a shameful attitude towards our own culture. My passion for choral music is greater than simply singing in an ensemble because when we explore music from other cultures and sing their songs after learning about the song's history, we can get a glimpse into a culture that is not our own. When we have performances highlighting Traditional Folk music from various countries and Classical music on the same stage we begin to bridge the chasm of the hidden curriculum perpetuated by many of our music educators. Each voice in a chorus has an important role and each person's identity and experiences add to the importance of music making. I want to help acknowledge composers, musicians, and lyricists who might not have had their work circulated through the mainstream as often and use those voices to break down those walls of prejudice in music education. I am humbled to join the Gates Scholar community and I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues.