How Do We Keep Hope Alive?
By Eric Lentz and Michael Bowerman, co-writers of the Up with People show
How do you measure hope? In a recent edition of Time magazine, guest editor Bill Gates assembled articles from a diverse collection of writers and public figures, including Trevor Noah, Malala Yousafzai, Ava Duvernay and Bono to answer that question. A central theme ran true to all of the articles – despite what we may read in our daily news feeds, there is more reason for optimism today than there has been in decades.
For over 20 years, we have been honored to work for Up with People, an organization whose mission is to inspire people to make a positive difference in the world. As Artistic Director and Music Director, we are responsible for leading the writing process for each new Up with People show. We are incredibly honored to have this responsibility, and we do not take it lightly. As songwriters, we find ourselves surrounded on all sides with inspiration for songs, and at the same time, we see the stark reality that the mission of Up with People is more necessary today than it has ever been. The combination of recent world developments, the rising tide of optimism in the youth of today, and the necessity to activate hope led to the theme for Up with People Live On Tour 2018: keep hope alive.
Hope needs to be activated… it’s more than a song lyric or a greeting card. Hope without action is just an emoticon: nice, perhaps fun to look at, but ultimately one-dimensional. Our goal with this new show is to activate hope: to inspire people to make their own personal commitment tokeeping hope alive in their communities. As always, the stars of the production will be aninternational cast of young people from 20 countries – what makes the Up with People show special is the combined power of these diverse young change-makers joining together in a common message of unity.
The thematic thru line or ‘red-thread’ of the show is the pursuit of the answer to this question:how do we keep hope alive? Throughout the 2-hour concert experience, the audience will be encouraged to actively engage in the search for answers to this question. New songs such asStronger Together, What I’m Feeling Now, Maybe I, Roller Coaster, and Keep Hope Alive pose questions and raise awareness. Recent favorites like Home, Party ‘Round The World, Footsteps of a Girl, Crossroads and Through Your Eyes return to the show and address universal questions such as the environment, gender equality, the migrant crisis and global perspective.
Up with People’s famous pop medleys are still a part of the show but are much more than just an “era” retrospective. The medleys are connected to the ‘red thread’ of the show and are themed on three key aspects of the Up with People student experience: Travel, Perform, andImpact.
We invite you to join our international network of Hope Activists: in the comments section below, create your own personal commitment to keeping hope alive by answering this question: how will I keep hope alive?
We look forward to hearing from you, and maybe we’ll see you on tour!