"We Raise Our Voices"


Click here to read about our concert theme.

Dear Girl Choir Family,

You probably know that we spend hundreds of hours preparing the theme and repertoire for each concert. For our second semester, our concert title is “We Raise Our Voices,” inspired by the following quotation from human rights activist Malala Yousafzai:
I raise up my voice – not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.

Malala was, of course, referring to the importance of access to education for girls. While this concert will not exclusively focus on access to education, we will explore a variety of topics related to Malala’s life and the content of the quotation above. Some of these include:

  • Facing adversity
  • Speaking up for those who are without a voice
  • The role of music in protest or social change
  • Education and opportunities for women in different historical time periods
  • Immigrant and refugee experiences
  • Peace and conflict resolution

During the course of the semester, we will also teach the girls a bit about Malala’s extraordinary life. The teachers of Ragazze, Primo, Allegretto, and Capriccio will read the book Malala’s Magic Pencil to their ensemble, which contains no mention of war or the violent acts of the Taliban. The only reference to the Taliban is as follows: “…soon, powerful, and dangerous men declared that girls were forbidden from attending school. They walked the streets of our city now. They carried weapons.”  Singers in Arioso, Cantabile, and Bel Canto will discuss all of Malala’s lived experiences. Her resilience and forgiveness after the violent act perpetrated against her are remarkable, and we believe it’s important for our older singers to hear her full story.

The Academy office has compiled a suggested reading list, should you wish to purchase a book as a holiday gift or simply explore Malala’s biography in more detail with your daughter. Content warnings are included for books suitable for younger readers. Should you have any questions or concerns about how we will frame and teach through this lens, please direct them to me and to your daughter’s teacher-conductor.

We will have additional (optional) community opportunities to explore this theme over the course of the semester, including an exclusive screening of the film He Named Me Malala (PG-13). We’ll send that information out once the semester is underway.

With gratitude for your ongoing support,

Karen Bruno, artistic director
Lawrence Academy Girl Choir Program


Resources and Events

Reading Lists
  • Click here to view the Academy' suggested reading list of Malala-related books.
    • These books can be checked out from the Academy office (100 W Water Street, Appleton), and many are also available at the Appleton Public Library and other libraries in the OWL system.
  • Click here to view a suggested reading list provided by the Appleton Public Library in relation to our concert theme "We Raise Our Voices."
    • The books on this list are available to be checked out at the Appleton Public Library as well as a variety of other libraries in the OWL system, and many are also available in e-book or audio book format. The books are for children and teens of various reading and maturity levels and include themes such as Speaking Out, Defying Expectations, and Powerful Women.

Film Screening
  • He Named Me Malala (PG-13)*
    • Date: Saturday, February 9
    • Time: 10:00 a.m. (Running Time: 88min)
    • Location: Appleton Public Library, Lower Level Meeting Room C

This event is free and open to the public, although students under age 13 should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Girl Choir artistic director Karen Bruno will host the event

*The film presents a biographical look at Malala’s life, including the violence of the Taliban. Additionally, the film includes footage of Malala in the hospital with dressed wounds.

Malala Fund Newsletter
  • Click here to view Assembly, a digital publication and newsletter from Malala Fund.

A note from Malala about Assembly:

"I believe in the power of girls' voices.

Wherever I travel, I am always learning from the girls I meet. They tell me about their experiences, their ideas and their hopes for the future. The world needs to hear their stories.

That is why we created Assembly as a platform for girls’ voices. On the first and third Thursday of every month, you will hear from girls like Tanya, who is a motocross champion from Zimbabwe. Ada, who is creating panda-shaped solar farms across China. And Ciara-Beth, who is developing an app to support other students with autism.

These young leaders amaze and inspire me. I can’t wait for you to meet them too."


I raise up my voice – not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.
- Malala Yousafzai