Ray of Hope

Alia Hope and Ray Morant

Feel the Music...Change the World

Alika Hope and The Ray of Hope Project musicians and actors incorporate African American spirituals with live music in their participatory programs. They use historical accounts of successful African Americans, and primary source readings by white and Jewish American abolitionists to teach about slavery in 19th century America. Students may create individual reflective writing, or work in small groups to create a performance piece that connects student's own circumstances to those of 19th century slaves. The artists will guide the students in creating a performance piece around the theme of freedom and responsibility.

Our Study Guide provides a resource list of related materials, including primary sources, and suggestions for three follow-up activities of reflective writing and a performance piece.

Other workshops include:

  • A live history of African-American music (including opera, blues, spirituals, jazz, R&B, Rap)
  • Drawing connections between music and math (An increasingly popular workshop which encourages students to creatively embrace a subject that creates unnecessary fear)
  • Social Justice and Bullying reduction (using Harlem poets and music of the 1960's-today)

Custom-designed workshops are available for colleges, museums, libraries-just ask!


The presentation runs for one hour. The length can be adjusted to fit the needs of your program. Although the presentation is suitable for all ages, we will tailor the content to address the developmental needs of various groups, grades and curriculum themes. The presentation can be performed in spaces as small as a library conference room or as large as a school auditorium and adapts well to museum and community concert performances. We can provide sound equipment if needed.

Curriculum connections: Slavery, Abolitionism, and Music

What they are saying

"Not only are they highly knowledgeable, their workshops are entertaining and enjoyable as well-" Esther Olvera, Education Director, P.S. 8 Head Start, New York City

"Her(Alika's) mastery of her material was delivered in a straight forward style that was accessible to a multi-generational audience who were delighted as she both entertained and educated them. Her selection of material was spot on and our guests especially appreciated her hands on approach ... They just couldn't get enough and walked away wanting more. I would highly recommend anyone who has the chance to work with Alika not to miss the opportunity." Jim O'Brien, Coordinator of Special Events, Old Sturbridge Village

Some clients/presentations include:

  • Prudence Crandall Museum, Canterbury CT
  • Old Sturbridge Village
  • Oregon Jewish Museum
  • The Children's Aid Society
  • P.S. 8 Head Start (NYC)
  • P.S. 5 Head Start/Early Head Start (NYC)
  • All Our Kin
  • Connectikids

Complete client list, presentation list, resume, and references are available on request.

 Alika Hope, M.A., the founder and primary vocalist and actress for the Ray of Hope Project is originally from Oregon (where she grew up immersed in nature and music). Alika received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, and minored in dance at St. Mary's College. She received her M.A. in early childhood special education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Alika has a variety of experiences as an educator, including working with Early Head Start, Head Start, private and parochial schools, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Northside Center for Children, and New York City public schools. She is a published author and was previously a full-time faculty member at Borough of Manhattan Community College. She is currently a staff developer and workshop provider for several organizations, including the Children's Aid Society of New York City. Alika is a professional opera singer, performer in children's theatre, actress, and choreographer. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, EWTN, New Yorker Magazine, Time Out NY, Opera News, and Opera Now. Alika was the co-host of "Perspective TV", which aired on ABC in Connecticut.

Musicians and actors include:

  • Dexter Pettaway-Drums and Spoken Word
  • Jaeme Brennan McDonald-Guitar, Bass, and Spoken Word
  • Ira Sakolsky-Spoken Word
  • Keith Cooper-Piano
  • Lawrence White-Bass
  • Luther Johnson-Guitar and Vocals
  • John Henry Langley-Guitar and Vocals

The Ray of Hope Project can vary in size from 2-9 musicians/actors depending on individual/organizational needs.