Episode 10: A Voice in Transition with Theo Wren

A nuanced discussion about the trans experience.
Theo Wren

Is it possible that removing gendered language from our choral rehearsals solves the problem of inclusion? Is it possible that it DOESN’T solve the problem? Is there room for nuance in the conversation? This week, I open up a dialogue with Theo Wren, a freelance musician, multi-instrumentalist, choral singer and Trans Baritone. So far on the show, I have conversed only with Choral Directors. This time, I thought it might be informative to flip that a bit and sit down with someone who has spent many years on the other side of the baton. We in the choral profession have seen a recent wave of cultural shifts related to the use of gendered language in our choral ensembles. So, I sought out the perspective of a singer who, for years felt as if he was in the wrong section.

Find more about Theo below

http://www.soundcloud.com/felixtheowren for Theo’s solo project, and you can find his band at http://www.alicesweetalice.com

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!

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Visit www.ryanmain.com for PDF site licenses of some GREAT arrangements and compositions. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off!

And don’t forget, the show is now on PATREON! Subscribe and receive Patron only content for as little as 3 bucks a month!

And don’t forget, the show is now on PATREON! Subscribe and receive Patron only content for as little as 3 bucks a month!

Episode 9: How Should Choralosophers Handle Contentious Choral Topics?

Episode 9 follows Chris through the core principles of the Choralosophy Podcast.

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Chris Munce-Host of Choralosophy Podcast

Why would I need to address this? First, this show, as promised from the beginning, did not set out to be a nuts and bolts focused show. I will occasionally approach the occasional “how to” episode that would be a safe interest session at a convention. But that is not the main mission of this project. I think talking about elephants in the room within the choral profession is important also, and there are very few venues that achieve this in a way that is civil and open conversation. If a discussion topic elicits NO contention at all, then what will anyone learn. I think deep down, no listener want to listen to a bunch of stuff that is so safe that it doesn’t challenge them. That is ultimately what I hope to provide through this platform. My goal is to promote a culture where open inquiry, the pursuit of greater understanding and support for each other as colleagues becomes the norm. I am wary of what I see as a culture of fear on social media and in academia that causes many to just keep their opinions to themselves because they might be accused of Orwellian wrong-think. I think this is dangerous to any field of study. Iron sharpens iron as the saying goes, which means we do NO good when we only smile and nod.

So, in an effort to do this, I will lay out my core principles for this show.

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
  1. Knowledge and Truth that are shareable by all of us are not only possible, but worthy goals. Some would suggest that we cannot really know anything, and that nothing is really true. Our only way of knowing is through our socialized minds with biases that we cannot escape. This is PARTIALLY true, but NOT because of socialization. Each person holds some part of the story that you don’t know, because no two people look at the world from the same perspective. It is precisely because we all see things differently that we MUST have conversations. It is only through challenging each other’s perceptions can we discover that tiny bit of truth that each person possesses and synthesize it into one BIG axiom or truth. So, we will talk on this show, agree or disagree, and pursue knowledge and truth as an ideal. We will speak as if there is no such thing as a “Two-Sided” issue. All issues have 7+ billion sides and all we need to do today is try to have my perspective and your perspective mingle until we arrive at a truth neither of us had before our conversation.
  2. I believe that people have good intentions and are speaking with me in good faith. I like to avoid assuming the worst about people, and I know that even if someone holds a diametrically opposed position to mine, I know that they are a person who wants what is best for the world. They are a person who loves their children, their spouse, their students etc just like I do. We are fellow humans. Treating people with contempt will have no place on this show. Please hold me to this if I ever slip. This also applies to any online discussions moderated by me on the page.
  3. Since everyone knows something I don’t, I want my guests to be HAPPY with their chance to get their point across. All of my conversations are free form, so there are no timed or “gotcha” questions. If I ask a question, I genuinely want to know what the person thinks about it. That being said, I will rarely do “interviews” and I am not a journalist. My opinions and analysis will be very much a part of each show.
  4. I will strive to avoid logical fallacies but no one is perfect… I will also hold guests to this. The big no-nos will be ad hominem and straw man arguments. I am not interested in this platform being used to impugn anyone’s character, talent or ability. I will also try very hard to understand someone’s position by asking very pointed precise questions when necessary. I don’t want to force someone to defend a claim that they didn’t make, and I would like it to not be done to me… 🙂

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One of the things that excites me about this show is it’s potential to be a platform that promotes the profession as an academic discipline, as well as an art form. I seek to promote YOU and what great work you are doing. And if you don’t feel like you are doing great work, I hope these discussions serve as a sharpening tool for you as you listen, and as always keep the feedback coming. Even if you think I’m wrong.

Visit www.ryanmain.com for PDF site licenses of some GREAT arrangements and compositions. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off!


Episode 8: Renovating the Voice

Voice lessons for a fourteen year old, admittedly are not the same as a lesson for a college freshman. In fact, when many high school students begin voice study, they are fresh off of puberty, or at its tail end… For many, learning just get their dang vocal folds to touch is a challenge, let alone singing Lieder in a stylistically accurate way! What then, should be their starting point, or Step 1? Are we happy if they just memorize a song? When we are fortunate enough to get our students to take voice lessons, what do we want them to learn? What is best for them? What is best for our choirs? Are all voice lessons the same? We have so many questions… and, we think, some answers for those questions! We invite you to listen and join the conversation! As always, each episode is just a conversation STARTER, so join the conversation on Facebook in the Choralosophers group!

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In this episode we discuss at length the philosophy of healthy singing as a starting place for young singers. We take the position that classical training is THE route to this goal. Classical training is not just a style of repertoire, but a type of instruction. Like classical dance or theater training, it builds fundamentals and technique first. Flare, photo ops, and competition ratings MUST come second.

Episode 8 is available now!

Find more about Beth’s studio at www.muncemusic.com

And don’t forget, the show is now on PATREON! Subscribe and receive Patron only content for as little as 3 bucks a month!

Subscribe to Choralosophy on Youtube for easy streaming from your desktop computer! Please Subscribe and RATE on the iTunes store!Android users can also find the show on the Google Play Store! You can also stream on Spotify

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
Visit www.ryanmain.com for PDF site licenses of some GREAT arrangements and compositions. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off!

Episode 7: The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci with Jocelyn Hagen

Episode 7: The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci

What can we learn from the philosophies of Leonardo on Art and Music? Does he have anything to say to us in the 21st Century? The host discusses da Vinci’s ideas sourced from “Thoughts on Art and Life” by the great artist himself, then is joined by Jocelyn Hagen to discuss her new multi-media symphony “The Notebooks of Leonardo Davinci” as well as her recent TED talk about the work.

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Jocelyn Hagen composes music that has been described as “simply magical” (Fanfare Magazine) and “dramatic and deeply moving” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul). Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, and this is very evident in her work. The majority of her compositional output is for the voice: solo, chamber and choral. Her dance opera collaboration with choreographer Penelope Freeh, titled Test Pilot, received the 2017 American Prize in the musical theater/opera division as well as a Sage Award for “Outstanding Design.” The panel declared the work “a tour de force of originality.” Her melodic music is rhythmically driven, texturally complex, and has recently become more experimental in nature. In 2013 she released an EP entitled MASHUP, in which she performs Debussy’s “Doctor Gradus Ad Parnassum” while singing Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team.” Jocelyn is also one half of the band Nation, an a cappella duo with composer/performer Timothy C. Takach, and together they perform and clinic choirs from all over the world.

Jocelyn Hagen
www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!

www.jocelynhagen.com

www.graphitepublishing.com

Her commissions include Conspirare, The Minnesota Orchestra, the American Choral Directors Associations of Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut and Texas, the North Dakota Music Teacher’s Association, Cantus, the Boston Brass, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and The Houston Chamber Choir, among many others. She is currently an artist-in-residence at North Dakota State University and regularly composes for their ensembles. For ten years she was a composer-in-residence for the professional choir she also sang in: The Singers, under the direction of Matthew Culloton. Her music has been performed all over the world, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City. Her work is independently published through JH Music, as well as Graphite Publishing, G. Schirmer, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Fred Bock Music Publishing, and Boosey and Hawkes.

You can also find Jocelyn on Twitter @jocelynhagenmus

Episode 6: Avoiding Burnout and Other Life Hacks. Elisa Janson Jones

Are students prepared to enter the profession… with all that goes into teaching music that can’t be taught in a Music Ed Program?

“If you are there for the music, you’re in the wrong profession. It has to be student centered, or you will burn out.”

Elisa Janson Jones
Visit www.ryanmain.com for PDF site licenses of some GREAT arrangements and compositions. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off!

Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, grow, and manage thriving school music programs. With an MBA alongside her degree in music, she is also a coach and consultant to small businesses and nonprofits around the country, and serves as the conductor of her local community band. She has been teaching music for nearly 20 years and currently holds the prestigious position of elementary music teacher at a private K-8 Catholic School in Grand Junction, Colorado. Elisa has presented at state, national, and international music education conferences. She is the founder of the International Music Education Summit and the author of The Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive.

Subscribe to Choralosophy on Youtube for easy streaming from your desktop computer! Please Subscribe and RATE on the iTunes store!Android users can also find the show on the Google Play Store! You can also stream on Spotify

Elisa is also the host of the Music Ed Mentor podcast. Find her show in iTunes, Google Play or your favorite platform!

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!

Links:

https://nafme.org/actions-you-can-take-today-to-ensure-youll-still-love-teaching-tomorrow/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0772QLF1G/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_hHKHCb9SQ717D

https://nafme.org/7-things-dont-teach-music-education-majors-youll-wish/

http://professionalmusiceducator.com/

http://www.elisajanson.com/

https://www.musicedsummit.org/

Episode 5: What I Suck At

Or, What At Which I Suck

In this episode I share a small part of my “suck list” as well as my “not suck” list to demonstrate the healthy balance we all must have between acknowledging our struggles and giving ourselves credit where credit is due. I will also offer a short reflection on the National ACDA Convention including WHY I MISSED THE AEOLIANS concert at Helzberg Hall and the inspiration of Eph Ehly’s session at the Folly Theater, “What’s Really Important.” Finally, I will be responding to some Choralosopher responses from our Facebook page. Several listeners responded with one item from their “suck” and “not suck” lists.

Chris Munce
www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!
Visit www.ryanmain.com for PDF site licenses of some GREAT arrangements and compositions. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off!

Episode 5
  • I am horribly messy and unorganized.
  • If it is not written into my calendar, I forget it and even that is no guarantee…
  • In the classroom, I am not good at sticking to a plan, so I don’t even make one.
  • Musically, I have a MUCH better ear for pitch than I do for rhythm, so often times I struggle to hear the trickier patterns in my head. This also causes my to avoid music with those challenges…
  • Keyboard skills are not where I want them to be.
  • I am not good at reading people’s body language and recognizing their emotional needs.
  • I am not a good listener. Working on it… Way better than I used to be….

Episode 4: Part 2. Seeing the Trees (There is no forest) with Tony Maglione

In the second part of this episode, I look to Anthony Maglione for insight into this topic from the collegiate perspective.

Anthony J. Maglione- William Jewell College

Conductor/Composer/Tenor Anthony J. Maglione is a graduate of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, East Carolina University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the Director of Choral Studies at William Jewell College where, under his direction, the Concert Choir was Runner Up (2nd Place) for the 2015 American Prize in Choral Performance, College/University Division. In addition to his responsibilities at William Jewell College, he serves as Conductor Emeritus of the Freelance Ensemble Artists of NJ, a symphony orchestra based in Central NJ and is Artist-in-Residence and Choir Master at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City.

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An active composer, Anthony’s choral works are growing in popularity and are published on GIA’s “Evoking Sound” choral series. In the last several years his music has appeared at state and national-level conventions, on TV, in video games, and has been recorded on Gothic Records, Albany Records, and Centaur Records. In 2014 and 2015, Anthony was honored as a Semi-Finalist and Finalist (respectively) for the American Prize in Composition, Professional Choral Division and was recently awarded the 2016-2017 William Jewell College Spencer Family Sabbatical, a year-long fully funded sabbatical in order to compose two new large-scale works for choir, soloists and chamber orchestra. Anthony was also been commissioned by the American Guild of Organists for a new cantata which premiered at the AGO National Conference held in Kansas City in 2018. As a tenor, Anthony has appeared with Kansas City Baroque Consortium, Spire Chamber Ensemble and currently performs and records with The Same Stream Choir conducted by James Jordan.

A link to my essay on this topic on FB

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Episode 4. Part 1. Seeing the Trees (There is no forest) with Stephen Rew

In this episode I make the shocking claim that there is no such thing as a choir. Then I bring on Stephen Rew for a discussion about connecting with students on an individual level.

Stephen Rew- Raymore-Peculiar High School
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Stephen Rew holds his Bachelors and Masters of Music Education from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City where he studied with Charles Robinson.  In over a decade as a public educator he has received his district’s Teacher of the Year Award two times (Drexel in 2005 and Raymore-Peculiar in 2013) and is a sought after clinician and motivational speaker with “Fired Up” Presentations.  Currently, he also is the President-Elect for the Missouri Choral Directors Association.  Rew was the music teacher at Eagle Glen Intermediate School in Raymore, MO for 8 years after spending 3 years teaching at the Middle School level and one year as a K-12 band and choir teacher and is also entering his 17th year as a professional church musician serving as the music director at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. 

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At the start of the 2017-18 school year took the reins of the Raymore-Peculiar High School program from his mentor and friend Roxanne Martin upon her retirement.  This was a homecoming for Rew as he was an All-State choir member under the direction of the late Steve Orr.  He lives in his dream home with his beautiful and supportive wife, Cindy and two children Mason (age 12) and Chloe (age 9) that are often the subject of a ridiculous amount of Facebook posts and photos.

Links to Stephen’s Teaching Resources discussed in the episode.

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Episode 3: What’s in a Gesture? Bradley Ellingboe

Bradley Ellingboe 

In this episode, I sit down with noted conductor and composer, Bradley Ellingboe to discuss what attributes make a great conductor.

A Practical Guide to Choral Conducting published by Kjos Music

Bradley Ellingboe

Bradley Ellingboe has led a wide-ranging career in the world of singing,  including accomplishments as a choral conductor, soloist, composer, scholar and teacher.  As a choral conductor he has led festival choruses in 35 states and 14 foreign countries. He made his operatic conducting debut in December, 2011, leading the world-premiere  of Stephen Paulus’s opera Shoes for the Santo Niño in a joint production by the Santa Fe Opera and the University of New Mexico.  As a bass-baritone soloist he has sung under such conductors as Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, and Sir David Willcocks. Ellingboe has over 140 pieces of music in print, including the Requiem for chorus and orchestra, which has been performed more than 300 times in this country and Europe, and his newest work, Star Song, which had its New York debut (Lincoln Center) in May of 2014, and its European debut in July of that year.   For his scholarly work in making the songs of Edvard Grieg more accessible to the English-speaking public, he was knighted by the King of Norway in 1994. As a teacher, the University of New Mexico Alumni Association named him Faculty of the Year in 2008.

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Bradley Ellingboe retired in 2015 after serving on the faculty of the University of New Mexico for 30 years, where he was Director of Choral Activities, Professor of Music and Regents Lecturer.  During his three decades at UNM he also served at various times as Chairman of the Department of Music and Coordinator of Vocal Studies.  He is a graduate of Saint Olaf College and the Eastman School of Music and has done further study at the Aspen Music Festival, the Bach Aria Festival, the University of Oslo and the Vatican.

Ellingboe has won annual awards for his choral compositions from ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Arrangers and Publishers since 2000.  His choral music is widely sung and is published by Oxford, G Schirmer, Augsburg, Walton, GIA, Hal Leonard, Mark Foster, Choristers Guild, Alliance, Concordia, Selah, and particularly the Neil A. Kjos Music Company, for whom he edits two series of choral octavos. In 2017 he became Acquisitions Editor for National Music Publishing.

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Episode 2: Advocating for Our Art. Part 2-Dale Trumbore

In the second part of this episode, I chat with composer Dale Trumbore about how we, as performers and composers, can tell our story in an authentic and vulnerable way.

Dale’s Essay discussed in episode

Dale Trumbore

Dale Trumbore is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer whose music has been praised by the New York Times for its “soaring melodies and beguiling harmonies.” Trumbore’s compositions have been performed widely in the U.S. and internationally by ensembles including the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Modesto Symphony, Neave Trio, Pacific Chorale, Pasadena Symphony, The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists, and VocalEssence.

Trumbore is Composer in Residence for Choral Chameleon and was previously Composer in Residence for Nova Vocal Ensemble. She has been an Artist in Residence at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Copland House, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, and Willapa Bay AiR.

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How to Go On, Choral Arts Initiative’s album of Trumbore’s choral works, debuted at #6 on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart. Choral Arts Northwest, The Esoterics, Helix Collective, New York Virtuoso Singers, and soprano Gillian Hollis have also commercially recorded works by Trumbore. Her music is published through Boosey & Hawkes, G. Schirmer, and MusicSpoke.

As a composer who works frequently with words, Trumbore is passionate about setting to music poems, prose and found text by living writers. She has written extensively about overcoming creative blocks and establishing a career in music in essays for 21CM, Cantate Magazine, the Center for New Music, MusicSpoke, and NewMusicBox. She is currently at work on her first book, Staying Composed.

Trumbore holds a dual degree in Music Composition and English from the University of Maryland and a Master of Music degree in Composition from the University of Southern California. A New Jersey native, Trumbore lives in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of L.A. with her fiancé and their two cats.

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Episode 2: Advocating for Our Art. Part 1-Elise Hepworth


How do we “sell” our profession? How do we tell the story of what we do so that non-musicians can understand? We all know our “why,” now let’s learn how to share that with the world! In this episode I will discuss Music Education Advocacy with Dr. Elise Hepworth.

Dr. Elise Hepworth

Dr. Elise Hepworth is associate professor and Director of Choral Activities and Music Education at Missouri Western State University. This is her fourth year as an alto in Kantorei of Kansas City, and is the founding director of the Robidoux Chorale, a semi-professional chamber ensemble in Saint Joseph.

and Music Education at Missouri Western State University. This is her fourth year as an alto in Kantorei of Kansas City, and is the founding director of the Robidoux Chorale, a semi-professional chamber ensemble in Saint Joseph.

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Dr. Hepworth was recently awarded the Foundation for Teaching Excellence by Missouri Western State University, the Mayor’s Award for Arts Educator of the Year and the Shine On Award for the community of Saint Joseph, and the MCDA Northwest District Outstanding Director for the year 2016.  She is an avid performer and presenter at state, national, and international conventions.

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Links mentioned in the podcast
https://mmea.net/ 
(click on Advocacy Network Form) to join the Advocacy Networkhttps://nafme.org/advocacy/what-you-can-do/

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Episode 1: Health, Happiness and Balance, with Beth Munce

At times, we, as working professionals, struggle to maintain our health and balance. As a result, our happiness suffers. In this episode, I will share my thoughts on this as well as get a reality check from my wife, Beth, on whether or not I am “balanced.”

Beth Kakacek-Munce, a coloratura soprano, is renowned for her “beautifully effortless” and “stunning” singing.  Beth is passionate about the choral arts and actively sings in several professional choral ensembles and as a featured soloist for chamber works. Beth has sung with Kantorei of Kansas City since its inception in 2009 and has been a featured soloist on Kantorei’s albums “To Bethlehem,” and “Music and Sweet Poetry,” recorded by the UK-based label, Resonus Classics. 

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Beth has also been a member of the Grammy-award winning Kansas City Chorale and was fortunate to add her voice to the recording of “The Sacred Works of Joseph Reinberger” which was nominated for two Grammy Awards.  Beth was also a founding member of the nationally renowned Early Music Ensemble, Armonia, under the direction of Dr. Ryan Board. Beth was consistently a featured soloist with Armonia and was featured at the Piccolo-Spoleto Festival in 2006 and 2007 and The National ACDA convention in 2007. Recent projects Beth has enjoyed lending her voice to include performing the production of the Medieval musical play of “Daniel” under the direction of Anne Azema, a collaboration with Boston Camerata and KC’s Te Deum Antiqua.  Beth has also recently performed the soprano solos for Handel’s Dixit Dominus under the baton of Dr. Jacob Narverud, the soprano solos for The Biber Requiem under the direction of Matthew Shepard as well as the soprano solos for Handel’s Messiah under the direction of Dr. William Baker.  Beth also frequently lends her voice to professional demo recording projects.   

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Beth completed her Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance at the Conservatory of Music at UMKC in 2006 under the tutelage of Dr. Rebecca Sherburn and Dr. Scott Anderson.  Prior to that Beth earned her undergraduate degree from Idaho State University.  Beth has enjoyed performing operatic roles such as The Doll” from Les Contes d’Hoffman, Papagena from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Zerlina from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Guinone from Monteverdi’s “Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria” and “first witch” from Purcell’s Dido and Aneas.  Beth is a passionate voice teacher and has an active voice studio of 34 students. Beth and her husband Chris are the proud parents of Clara and Colin, their biggest pride and joy in life.

Link to post on FB and Twitter about Happiness and Teen suicide so you can see them in their contexts or share them if you there are people that you think need to see them.

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