In the first verse of Philly soul music legends Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ classic song “Wake Up Everybody,” the group issues a call to action for educators to do their best at the essential job of molding the minds of the next generation. Originally recorded in 1975, the song’s uplifting melody and poignant lyrics have infused it with an enduring and timeless quality that has lasted nearly five decades after its initial release.
“Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way
Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say
'Cause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their hands
When you teach the children teach em the very best you can.”
On Thursday, May 30, Hill-Freedman World Academy, a public high school located in the northwest section of Philadelphia (1100 East Mt. Pleasant Avenue), will release the album Wake Up Everybody, titled after and featuring a cover version of the classic song. In collaboration with music education nonprofit LiveConnections and the school’s own Hill-Freedman Records label, the album will be released at a ceremony at 1pm on Thursday, May 30, in the school auditorium.
“This album is full of heart. It’s full of bravery. It’s full of music that inspires. The partnership between LiveConnections and our school allows our students a chance to create with the support of first-class artists who value their talent and voices. It’s cutting-edge collaboration that’s all about a belief in student creativity,” Hill-Freedman Academy Music Technology teacher Ezechial Thurman said in a statement released to press.
Packed with hopeful, optimistic songs, the album features guest appearances from renowned artists like Philly rapper Chill Moody, recent Sarah Vaughan Vocal Competition winner Laurin Talese, and many others performing alongside Hill-Freedman World Academy students. The ambitious, cross-generational project Wake Up Everybody represents a creative approach to teaching that positions music education as a pathway to hope for the future.
For more of the Hill-Freedman World Academy's music, check out their SoundCloud.