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UH Moment

UH Moment: ‘My Voice’

Young children are often told to keep quiet. One artistic collaboration encourages children to speak up. Learn about “My Voice” in this UH Moment.



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Kashmere Gardens Elementary School student Free Green recites her poem ‘I’ll Put In My Box’ for the ‘My Voice’ program.

“My name is Free Green and the title of my poem is ‘I’ll Put in My Box.’

Free and classmates from Kashmere Gardens and Spring Branch Elementary Schools are participating in a program called My Voice.  It’s a project that connects the young students with composers from the University of Houston Moores School of Music, Writers in the Schools and artists from Houston Grand Opera.

“We’re getting the children to write poems and then taking the poems to UH,” said Dennis Arrowsmith from HGO Community Outreach (HGOco). “The University’s composers are setting these really unique poems to music that are then sung by artists from HGOco.”


I’ll put in my box this girl that makes me so mad.

I’ll put in my box I love my crush.

I’ll put in my box somebody’s going to find their soulmate.

I’ll put in my box a cowboy riding a bull horn.


My box is made of steel, iron and make up.

I’ll sleep in my box and be amazed in my box. 

                                –Free Green.


Free Green’s poem was put to music by UH composition student Joshua Zinn. HGO mezzo-soprano Teresa Procter performed the song with piano accompaniment by UH doctoral composition student Mark Buller.

“It’s interesting getting text from a young student because they have a very different sensibility about the world,” Zinn said. “Free’s poem talks about a box and the things she wants to keep in the box. I made the piece simple and reminiscent of something a kid could write or play at the piano a little bit.”

The project culminates in a performance for parents and friends.

“We want not to only empower, but also to inspire the students to keep writing poems and keep exploring their own feelings, knowing that their voice matters,” Arrowsmith said.  

Music and collaboration are part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.  I’m Marisa Ramirez.

Student Free Green, student Joshua Zinn, HGO Mezzo Soprano Teresa Protector and UH composition student Mark Buller at at performance for the ‘My Voice’ program.

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