The first formal music program in a decade has returned to Graterford Prison in Skippack Township, providing a long-awaited dose of humanity for its inmates, writes Samantha Melamed for Philly.com.
Songs in the Key of Free was launched last October as a barely funded initiative mostly staffed by volunteers. However, the program has been hugely successful with inmates, who have already written and recorded an EP filled with original songs and are now working on a full album.
In addition, there are two concerts in the works for June 16. One will be performed inside the prison by inmates. The other, featuring professional musicians and video clips, will take place at the Painted Bride to launch the EP.
August Tarrier, the founder of the program, said that while the main goal is artistic, it comes with a side of advocacy.
“It’s countering the idea that people who end up in prison deserve for us to lock them up and throw away the key,” said Tarrier, who previously taught writing courses at Graterford for Villanova University.
“What we’re trying to do is make an intervention and to bridge the divide between inside and outside.”
Read more about the initiative at Philly.com by clicking here.