Our Story


Songs, as we know, have a powerful influence in our lives and pervade every part of our culture. The American songbook has often served as a barometer of our national mood, collective struggles and hopes. CommonChord Project puts the empathic force of songwriting and performance into the hands of young artists allowing them to articulate important themes and issues, in a way only music can.

Our approach to musical storytelling is part of a rich legacy that was developed by master teacher and composer Roger Ames, and his colleagues at the Berkshire Ensemble for Theatre Arts (BETA), which was established in Williamstown, Mass., in the mid-1980s.


Our approach has been implemented throughout the country with diverse populations including conservatory students in Colorado and New York City, novice students on the U.S./Mexico border, and teachers from Ferguson, Missouri. Alumni around the country — from award-winning composers to law enforcement professionals to Google executives — all point to this experience as a turning point in their own education and lives.
For many years, this curriculum was the centerpiece of the Performing Arts Intensive, a collaboration between Central City Opera and the Colorado Springs Conservatory. Having witnessed this work closeup, Jan Nadav, CCP's founding director, is reshaping this legacy for our current social context. Drawing on her years’ of experience transforming conflict into dialogue as a psychotherapist and as a seasoned group facilitator, Jan hopes to bring this experience to the next generation.


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