Celebrating Peace Through Art and Music

In a world that can suddenly turn violent, we need peace. In a world that can seem dreary and gray even when the sun is out, we need joy. And in a world where we’re often separated, we need community.

Enter the Young Musicians and Artists for Peace program.

Last year, YMAP was set to be an in-person program to celebrate peace through the work of Sidwell Friends Middle School artists and musicians.

“What was supposed to happen was a concert where the kids could come, play an instrument, sing, read their poetry,” said Carmen Marchetti (P Vir ’26), one of the parents organizing the event. “And we opened it for artists if they wanted to contribute drawings for the playbill. The irony was that we were worried we wouldn’t have enough time, because you really only have two hours for a concert.”

This year, thanks to the shift to a virtual event, they have all the time and (cyber)space in the world. Middle School student artists who submit their work here will receive their own Google folder where they can upload videos of themselves performing or examples of their artwork that connect with and celebrate the theme of peace. The artists can also dedicate their space to a loved one and, of course, share those links with friends or family members who wouldn’t be able to attend a traditional concert.

Participation in YMAP, Marchetti says, is a way to celebrate something that is at the core of Quaker values.

“The students understand that they live the lives they have today because many people before them didn’t have that life,” Marchetti said. “Peace is something to fight for—even though that’s quite ironic. So it is important to celebrate peace as a Quaker value.” Music and art can be joyful expressions of peace, she added, as well as something the School can do as a community.

The virtual celebration has also opened up participation to students who may not think of themselves as performers or artists in the traditional sense.

“You don’t have to be a brilliant flutist or pianist,” Marchetti says. “There are so many ways in which to be creative. You could write an essay on science and peace and read it out loud. This is an opportunity for everybody to be creative in the way that works for them.”

Submissions are being accepted through Jan. 11; the virtual showcase will begin on Feb. 1.

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