MA Singers Write and Professionally Record Song with Grammy-Winning Billy Steele

MA Singers Write and Professionally Record Song with Grammy-Winning Billy Steele
Amy Barnard



Above: Billy Steele works with the MA Singers at the Terrariam, a professional recording studio in Minneapolis.

"Rise" by the MA Singers

Opening poem by Jaeda Hutchinson '25. Vocals begin at 55 seconds.

a group of students is recording a song around a  microphone.
Click here for a brief video of the students working will Billy Steele...and catch his great response at the end!
For nearly a decade, multi-Grammy Award winning artist Billy Steele has worked with students at MA to explore and deepen their understanding of Gospel music. This year, for the first time ever, Mr. Steele worked with the MA Singers to conceptualize and produce the original gospel song "Rise."

Mr. Steele announced his desire to work with the students on a song early in the spring of 2023. He then charged the students to write a song that would embody what they valued about their experience at MA. 

A student with a laptop is turned towards a man who is looking at the screen she is working on.

Students collaborated to develop lyrics and went over them with Mr. Steele.


A man plays the piano in a music classroom as a young man sings.

Next the students workshopped possible melodies.


Around two dozen students stand around a piano in a classroom singing with Billy Steele.

Students explored the possible combinations of melody and beats with lyrics with Mr. Steele and drum programmer and producer Larry “Big L” Robinson.


A small group of students stands around a microphone singing

A small group of students met with Steele at his church, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in MInneapolis, to develop the first round of sound recordings.


a dozen students sit in a semicircle around one student on the floor of a recording studio

Eventually all of the students came together at the Terrarium recording studio to work on the final project.


A young woman is smiling in front of a microphone

Jaeda recorded the opening poem, which she also wrote.


A young woman stands in front of a micophone

Hannah and others laid down some ad-lib sections.


A man, woman, and student are laughing as they talk while working with sound equipment

Students had a chance to watch the process of mixing sound.


Billy Steele takes a photo with the MA Singers

The whole group!



By the Minnehaha Singers


The dust of life lingers sometimes, 

thriving in 

resolute loneliness and effectively cutting us off. 

We’re no different from the cavernous, 

abandoned houses on suburban curbs, 

anxious and untouched and haunted. 

In those isolated moments,

our hearts become thick with cobwebs 

and ghosts of our past. 

We have swollen wounds, fresh and bruised purple, 

like spring lilacs from the disconnection. 


However, just like a body has many parts,

We too find strength in each other. 

The loneliness doesn’t seem so hollowing 

when we connect. 


The dust and cobwebs get cleared away, 

leaving only a healing wound behind. 

Together we rise from the ashes like a phoenix.


In the end, we’re a community,

no matter how much we fight 

or how alone we feel, 

we’re a family.



Where I know you and you know me


Where we connect in harmony


Where joy shines through our darkest days


Upholding love in all our ways


We will…… rise


Flames on flames forging ash like sand

Out of ashes walkin’ hand in hand

Despair may act and get in our way

But we rising and we’re here to stay 


Take it all from me

One big family, i promise

Anything you need

We will rise up 


Chaos all around us but we prosper still

Enemies against us we holdin’ god’s will

So strike me with your words and bruise me with your hate

My god is a healer and he will remake



  • Transformational Learning
  • Upper School
  • fine arts
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