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Utahn wants to teach social values in schools through power of music

Brian Jackson Fetzer usually tries to avoid picking up negative things to write about. But the shootings at Littleton, Colo., broke his heart.

"I was affected by what happened there," Fetzer said during an interview in his home. "And I do deal with serious matters in my music. And after I saw the events on TV, I wrote a piece of music that was very somber."However, Fetzer, who teaches songs and storytelling at the University of Utah and mathematics at the Salt Lake Community College, wanted to do more than write a few songs.

"There has always been a need for teaching positive social values in the schools of America," Fetzer said. "And some of the events in the recent past have made the recognition of that need more universal and the value of it more dramatically apparent."

Fetzer's mind began working, and he came up with an idea that, he believes, is an educational tool to help schoolchildren across the nation learn the worth of universally accepted positive social values.

"School districts have a mandate to foster what is the flower of human thought," Fetzer said. "If someone can touch the lives of these youths with positive messages, maybe we can stop something like the tragedy of Columbine from happening before the thoughts can think of them. These types of tragedies have to be stopped before the first stage of thought."

Fetzer teamed with Corona of an Eclipse Productions and conceived "Move the World for Good Concert!" which is currently being shot in video format to be shipped to schools across the nation.

Some of the other artists appearing in the video include the Salt Lake Symphonic Choir, Craig Kaelin, Stan Funicelli and students of Franklin Elementary School.

The videos, Fetzer hopes, will be used in school curriculum.

"This is a collection of songs, stories and poetry that emphasize positive social values, understanding between ethnic and racial groups," Fetzer explained, "and art in word and music that celebrates the greatness of the human spirit, as well as reflecting the beauties of the earth.

"The concert is flexible in nature and may be adapted to fit the needs of school, civic and religious groups. It has an appeal that reaches across the board."

Some of the songs on the video were taken from Fetzer's independently released album, "When You Reach Out, Reach Up."

The album was a first-place pop recording winner in the Utah Composers Guild a couple of years ago.

"I feel art unites the world," explained Fetzer. "It's part of the five universal languages."

Fetzer believes those universal languages are spirit and the emotions, mathematics, movement, dance, visual imagery and, of course, music.

"Anywhere there is intelligent human life as we know it in the universe, there will be these languages," he said. "They relate to each other.

"Music can foster noble emotions in the hearts of the members of the human race."