Shades of Yale Visit Conservatory Lab Charter School

On January 25th, fifth and sixth graders from the Conservatory Lab Charter School headed to the Carney Hospital Chapel to watch Shades of Yale perform.


Shades of Yale, an a cappella group from Yale University, was founded in 1988, with the purpose of acknowledging and celebrating the musical contributions of the African diaspora. The group has toured both domestically and internationally and has had the honor of performing for notable people such as Barack and Michelle Obama, Nelson Mandela and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Another notable group of people that this dynamic ensemble has performed for is the Conservatory Lab Charter School. Returning for the second time, the talented group performed a number of selections for the students, including “Elijah Rock” and “Lift Every Voice”. They then used the latter half of their one-hour visit to teach the students a song they could participate in entitled, “No Mirrors”, a moment which amazed both students and faculty, as students learned to sing various parts of the song in harmony.

Perhaps the most magical moment occurred when the group of college students received a tour of the school. While visiting a couple of eighth graders practicing in a classroom, one of them performed a powerful piece of poetry about America they’ve used in their CLCS performances. Another student subsequently squealed, “Are you an a cappella group! I love a cappella groups!”. At that moment, Shades of Yale responded with another performance of “Elijah Rock” as the students watched in awe. In those few minutes, they became aware of the possibilities that lie ahead. Here stood a group of college students with desires to take charge of the future and use their art in transformative ways—a sight not unfamiliar to our CLCS students, but this time, these college students looked like them.