Songwriting projects are at the heart of the Negaunee Music Institute’s Initiative for a More Peaceful Chicago. As a means of creative expression, catharsis and reflection, the composing of original songs supports the healing process and gives voice to victims of trauma. With leadership from teaching artists Sara Lee and Rex Horan from the Irene Taylor Trust and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago Fellows, participants craft lyrics, melodies and harmonies that become personalized pieces of music. The songs are then performed during a showcase at the end of each project, and are professionally recorded at Chicago Recording Company.

    This video, produced by Green River Films, documents a recent songwriting collaboration with Purpose Over Pain, a support group for parents who have lost children to gun violence. The original music created by the parents alongside teaching artists and the Civic Fellows was performed at an informal concert in spring 2019 at St. Sabina Church. For more information, please visit