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A Musical Celebration of Black History Month

link to videoThe Black History Music Appreciation Game was in full swing when Somers High School students arrived on February 14. The front hall was filled with the smooth and mellow sounds of jazz and Afro-Caribbean music during the morning arrival. Pupils were invited to identify the songs’ decade. Some students paused to take a quick guess, while others danced a few steps as they headed to class.

“We were met with high-fives, clapping and smiles from many students,” said Michelle Bangash, SHS’s DEI liaison.

Tanble in hallway with three students at it.SHS students have enjoyed studying decades in history, and seniors experience a 1970s day every year. Building on that experience, the Music Appreciation Game allowed for spontaneous musical education featuring many popular genres, including funk, soul, disco, rock, oldies, rap, hip hop, R&B, calypso, reggae and Afrobeats. While most of the artists were American, music from Jamaica, Nigeria, Guinea, Mali and more was also highlighted.  

Three students dancing in HallwayStudents stopped by again during lunch periods to participate in the game. Enthusiastic staff assisting Bangash with game festivities included faculty members Amantina Reyes, Monica Martel and Gemma Stoeker. Principal Mark Bayer and Assistant Principal Karime Flores also joined staff members and students in dancing, singing and cheering for winning guesses.

As DEI liaison, Bangash strives to create engagement with SHS students surrounding national celebrations. She takes the lead from the U.S. Congress to pick the monthly themes while also considering the make-up of the student body. “Last year we provided students the opportunity to learn about great people in African American history using presentations and QR codes to internet links,” recalled Bangash. “This year we wanted to bring the richness and diversity of the music by Black artists from around the world to the students.”

“One of my best memories of this event was a student of Jamaican heritage who stopped by just to say hi and give a thumbs up,” recalled Bangash. “She was delighted to hear her culture represented by the sounds of Bob Marley in the halls of her high school.”

Watch Music Appreciation Game Video