ARVADA, Colo. — The words they sing come from something disturbing, according to Arvada West Choir Director Chris Maunu.
"A threat written on the walls of one of our bathrooms," Maunu said.
That was shortly after the shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year. Maunu said Taylor Huntley, a senior at Arvada West last year, wrote a poem that she shared with the choir.
"A poem about the Parkland shooting and about the fear and the uncertainty that students feel," Maunu said.
There is an ache in my chest
from the emotions that swarm
like a hive of frightened bees.
There are tears in my eyes,
As an imitation for the drops
of bloodshed in hatred.
My head is stuffed with cotton,
With thoughts I cannot comprehend
So instead, I try to ignore.
I need to protect my family.
I need to protect my friends.
I need to protect my heart.
They say I am safe,
But, they cannot guarantee
They cannot dig the hurt,
The hatred in their souls.
Of those that wish to hurt
for Revenge we cannot know.
No matter what we do,
No matter what is said,
They always find a way.
They are blind towards the future,
The past, and the present.
I hope one day, we will change.
Maunu posted the poem online and something unexpected happened.
"That beautiful poem wound up in the hands of Andrea Ramsey, a well known American composer," Maunu said. "She saw that text and was just inspired and she asked if she could set it to music."
Ramsey added notes to the words and came up with a composition called, "A Hive of Frightened Bees".
Kaylee Nguyen, a current senior at the school, said the song is beautiful.
"I think the song is written in a way that mirrors our emotions," Nguyen said. "It's panicky and it's sad. It's hopeless and it's afraid. But it is also strong."
Madison Major, a sophomore, said the song gives students a voice, especially when it comes to threats and school shootings.
"I think it's very important for students to express what they are feeling," Major said. "In today's day and age, students, I feel like, are kind of overlooked."
Nguyen said singing the original song is moving and healing.
"For me, it really does because it allows you to pour your heart into something," she said.
The Company West all girls choir will officially debut the song during a concert in May at the school.
"This will be a world premiere for this song and that's just every choir student's dream," Major said.
Maunu said he hopes that this song can help teens deal with their feelings surrounding school threats.
"You know the things that have happened recently and we're approaching the twentieth anniversary of Columbine, I think this topic is fresh on everybody's minds and that makes it even more meaningful," Maunu said.
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