Sacred Heart Schools students sing about a 'Brand New Day'

When Sacred Heart Schools parents Ira Antelis and Joe Shanahan volunteered to speak to students about the music industry, little did they know it would lead to a unique collaboration between parents and students to write, record and release a song expressing their hopes and dreams for the future of the world. Just months from the first time they sang the song, students are taking their message of social justice through the arts worldwide with the release of "Brand New Day" this holiday season.

The story of "Brand New Day" begins with two creative parents, many interested students, and one school community's desire to make the world a better place. Antelis, a nationally known musical composer, and Shanahan, the owner of Metro, were speaking to a group of eighth graders when the idea first formed to use music as a teaching tool during Justice Day. Justice Day at Sacred Heart Schools is an entire day set aside to showcase ways the arts can inspire people to express commitment to social justice. Antelis planned to have singers he works with come to school to perform songs that represent civil rights, freedom and justice. "After thinking about it, I came up with the idea of writing a call and response song which could be sung instantly," he said. "If there was a way to get the children from the school involved, it would be a more fulfilling experience."

The end result was "Brand New Day", a song that is written as a "call to action" with a strong statement that "it's time for a brand new day." The lyrics share the message of the school's Justice Day celebration, that through hope, unity and resolve students can make the world a better place. After just one performance, it was evident that the song moved many in the audience.

"'Brand New Day' was an inspiring finale for Justice Day 2008, but it was bigger than just one song for one day," said K.K. Cleland, Sacred Heart parent and member of the Fine Arts Council, which organizes Justice Day. Seeking to capture the energy of the song, Shanahan, also a member of the Fine Arts Council, put plans in the works to have SHS students record the song at Leo Burnett Worldwide and release it digitally so the message could spread beyond the walls of the school.

The song has been released as a single on iTunes and Amazon. Proceeds will be used to provide financial aid and scholarships to students at Sacred Heart Schools, awarded in memory of Roni Ralston.

You can listen to the "Brand New Day" on line at: You can purchase it on The song is also available for purchase on iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and eMusic.

About Sacred Heart Schools
Sacred Heart Schools are independent, Catholic, elementary schools offering single-sex education to a culturally and economically diverse student body. For more information visit

About Justice Day
Justice Day originated out of an initiative from the Sacred Heart Schools Fine Arts Council to deepen the school's commitment of advancing the work of Dr. Martin Luther King and his vision for our world. By using the arts as a teaching platform, Justice Day allows students (through day-long activities on campus or in the Chicago area) to examine issues related to social justice. Students explore how the arts can teach us, inspire us and allow us to express our commitment to social justice. The song "Brand New Day" was written for the 2008 Justice Day closing ceremonies.

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