“I’m just telling you that I need poetry, that it is not an indulgence or a luxury for me, but the best antidote to mere despair that I can find at the moment, that it helps me to feel un-alone even way down deep where the loneliness would otherwise be absolute. I realize that I’m preaching to the choir here, but I need you to keep singing, so.” -John Green in Poetry Magazine, June 2020
When Lindsay Illich and Melissa Alter Smith, authors of Teach Living Poets, brought their poetic knowledge to the North Dakota Council of Teachers of English 2022 Summer Conference, they shared the above quote from John Green.
“I realize that I’m preaching to the choir here, but I need you to keep singing, so.” - John Green
At NDCTE, we are the choir of North Dakota’s English teachers. Sometimes that choir is more metaphorical—sometimes it is quite literal. And if we are literally the choir, we can be found singing parodies that have been inspired by the conference gathering. Sometimes the parodies are written prior to the gathering and sometimes from the content that was shared.
Thus, without further ado, here is a list of the parodies (complete with links to the lyrics) that “the choir” has both written and sung:
1. “Let it Go” parody: This parody was written and brought to life at the 2016 NDCTE Conference by Angela Hase and Erika Dyk. They were presenting a session entitled "A Space to Heal," which addressed the topic of teacher grief. The song was sung after participants had written what they needed to let go of on dissolving paper and “let it go” by placing the paper in bowls of water on the table.
2. “We Can Open the Doors": This parody of "A Whole New World" was written with the inspiration of Donalyn Miller’s keynote address in 2018. The words were written Angela Hase and Erika Dyk. Lisa Gusewelle inspired the song idea; the song was dedicated to Bridget Ryberg. The song was shared at the end of the conference.
3. Imagine. Make. Believe. Parodies: These parodies were written by Lisa Quintus for the 2021 Conference, which had the theme of Imagine. Make. Believe. Lisa Quintus shared her theatrical background (and flair) by providing costuming to go with these parodies.
*Imagine: Donna Davidson (on her guitar) and Erika Dyk (on her ukulele) brought this parody of "Imagine" to life, complete with some costuming.
*Make: This is a parody of Green Eggs and Ham. Lisa Quintus and Erika Dyk recited the poem, complete with whimsical costuming.
*Believe: This parody of "Don't Stop Believin'" was sung as a sing-a-long at the end of the conference.
4. "Ready to Thrive": This parody of “Part of Your World” was written by Angela Hase, Erika Dyk, and Sherry Lind. Angela Hase and Erika Dyk led the song acapella (Erika’s attempt to retrieve her ukulele was thwarted by a most fierce storm) to start the last afternoon of the 2023 NDCTE Summer Conference.
Songs have been sung. Songs will continue to be sung. So, come sing with us. We gather on the Facebook group "NDCTE Connects" asynchronously. We gather at our annual conference synchronously. We would love to have your voice join our metaphorical and sometimes literal choir.
Share your voice at the October 25, 2024, NDCTE Conference by submitting a proposal to present. We would love to hear your voice, and maybe you will help write the next NDCTE parody!