Hope of America was created by Kathy McDonald in 1995 with the support of America’s Freedom Festival in Provo. Over the last 29 years, it was directed first by Kathy then later by Sherry Anderson. Each year 6,000 to 8,000 school children from more than 100 schools come together in the Marriott Center over three days to present songs of hope, patriotism, and service.
The songs in the Hope of America program correlate with the 5th grade state core curriculum in American history, so the majority of our participants are fifth graders in Utah County. We also invite upper elementary 4th through 6th grade students from local charter, private, and home schools to join us.
For schools: Once a school registers they may access all of the recordings and teaching videos at no cost. We also provide copies of the lyrics. In May, a morning rehearsal is held in the Marriott Center. Schools cover the cost of transportation to BYU. Schools also provide an 8” x 12” flag for each student and teacher.
For students: The cost of Hope of America has been $10 for many years. Registration is paid online by individual parents directly to the Hope of America organization. This includes a Hope of America tee shirt for the child. After the program, parents will have digital access to a recording of the performance and a group photo on our Hope of America website. A portion of each registration helps pay for production costs, facility use, traffic officers, and ushers/security. Students will need to bring a flashlight and a pair of sunglasses.
Financial accommodations: We want ALL students to be able to participate in this amazing experience! Often a principal has resources which can be used to help cover students’ registrations. Each year through our website, generous parents donate toward the registration of an additional child or two. These funds can help cover the registration for families for whom $10 is a hardship. Certain grants that your school may have could also be used. Please ask! Let us help you to find the financial resources to allow for EVERY child who wants to participate to do so!
In many schools, teachers on a team take turns working with the whole grade level group of students. While one teaches, others monitor and assist. In other schools, a music specialty teacher teaches the songs and the classroom teachers support the learning by practicing a song or two each day using a few minutes before recess or after social studies. A few groups have a before or after school choir program where a teacher or parent volunteer works with self-selected students. The recordings, videos, and handouts make teaching the songs and actions easy!
For now, just get your school registered on our website. Once you get confirmation from us in November, you can order your buses and start to get information to your students and their parents. The Hope of America Timeline will provide all the information of when things will/should happen. Some schools like to start teaching the songs in fall. Others start practicing right after the holidays.