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Episode 72: The Lullaby Project and its Messages of Love

By KTVA Alaska 8:30 AM September 12, 2016

Scientists have documented the healing powers of music on babies in neonatal care, as well as on Alzheimer’s patients. The Lullaby Project at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center is yet another project that seeks to put to use the untapped potential of music.

In this week’s Frontiers, we follow the Lullaby Project from its beginnings, in July, to its work this fall, in which two groups of women come together — mothers serving time at Hiland and local musicians, who help them compose a lullaby for their children.

Some of the highlights of this week’s show:

  • As musicians meet to prepare for their role in the Lullaby Project, they struggle with some basic questions.
  • An emotional first meeting between the musicians and the women at Hiland Mountain.
  • Musicians collaborate with inmates to write lullabies, and a few weeks later, the musicians work together to record them in the studio.
  • Our guests are Shirley Mae Springer Staten, a longtime community activist, and Gloria Johnson, superintendent at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.

When the musicians began their preparations for the project, they were told there was one ground rule — that they were not to ask the inmates about their crimes, that they their main focus was to reconnect the mothers to their children through music, and to remember that none of this was the children’s fault.

But the musicians didn’t have to ask. Many of the mothers openly shared their pain over how their crimes have affected their families, friends and loved ones.

We thank the inmates for sharing their stories, allowing us to follow them through a process in which they were very vulnerable.

As you watch, we hope you will realize that the Lullaby Project is much more than about singing lullabies, but messages of love that could have lasting impact to heal.

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