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Preview MTSU’s ‘Freedom Sings’ film on 1st Amendment [+VIDEO]

“Freedom Sings, the Songs that Shaped America,” a documentary about free speech and music shot by students at Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Media and Entertainment, is now being previewed exclusively on MTSU’s YouTube channel.

DVDs of the concert film, produced in partnership between MTSU and the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, will be released later this year and distributed to schools free.

https://youtu.be/CWbkolPkfxY

The film was recorded at Nashville’s historic Bluebird Café and features some of the city’s most talented artists, including Janis Ian, Lari White, Gretchen Peters, Amy Speace, Fred Knobloch, Joseph Wooten, Bill Lloyd, Eric Brace, Garry Tallent, Sara Beck, Danny Flowers, Jonell Mosser, Seth Timbs, Dave Coleman and Brian Wright.

“The concert film is a rich and entertaining viewing experience, but it also serves as a powerful teaching tool for college and high school teachers,” said Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment and the film’s producer.

Music icon Janis Ian performs at the 15th anniversary event for "Freedom Sings," a celebration of free speech and music that tours college campuses across the nation, at Nashville's Bluebird Café, in October 2013. A DVD of an MTSU-produced documentary, “Freedom Sings, the Songs that Shaped America,” will be released later this year. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Music icon Janis Ian performs at the 15th anniversary event for “Freedom Sings,” a celebration of free speech and music that tours college campuses across the nation, at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, in October 2013. A DVD of an MTSU-produced documentary, “Freedom Sings, the Songs that Shaped America,” will be released later this year. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Freedom Sings, which features prominent recording artists playing music that has been banned or censored, or has sounded a call for social change, was launched in 1999 by Paulson, who is also president of the First Amendment Center.

It has toured the United States under the direction of Paulson and Gene Policinski, the institute’s chief operating officer and senior vice president of the center.

Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson

The film explores American history through popular music. Songs from the civil rights, women’s rights and environmental movements are illustrated with songs like “Society’s Child,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “What’s Goin’ On,” “I Am Woman,” “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) ” and “Big Yellow Taxi.”

A teaching guide is also available, Paulson said, to help students “explore free speech in America through rock, pop, folk and soul music.” The guide is available at www.mtsu.edu/freedomsings under the site’s “promotional materials” tab.

You also can read the original story on the students’ production roles, plus watch a behind-the-scenes video, here.

Many of the nation’s leading news and journalism education organizations are among supporting partners in the project, including the Journalism Education Association, Associated Press Media Editors, the American Society of News Editors, the 1 For All First Amendment campaign and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

“It’s vital to remember, embrace and share the journey of music through the First Amendment lens,” said Laura Sellers-Earl, APME president and managing editor of The Daily Astorian of Astoria, Oregon.Freedom Sings logo-72ppi

“The APME stands in support of this Freedom Sings documentary and its important outreach to high school students,” Sellers-Earl said.

Founded by legendary journalist John Seigenthaler in 1991, the First Amendment Center is a program of the Newseum Institute, the education and outreach partner of the Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism located in Washington, D.C. The center has offices in the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and at the Newseum.

Paulson was appointed dean at MTSU July 2013. The College of Media and Entertainment is the fifth largest communications college in the nation and is the only one that features departments of recording industry, journalism and electronic media communication.

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU electronic media communication students and faculty surround College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, shown standing at center, during a break in recording “Freedom Sings, the Songs that Shaped America,” a documentary about free speech and music at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, in October 2013. A DVD of the concert film will be released later this year. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU electronic media communication students and faculty surround College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, shown standing at center, during a break in recording “Freedom Sings, the Songs that Shaped America,” a documentary about free speech and music at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, in October 2013. A DVD of the concert film will be released later this year. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)