Dwight School students know what “Time” it is

Stephon Johnson | 10/3/2013, 6 a.m.

“I didn’t realize how hard it was to come up with a song,” continued Conger. “I’m really not a songwriter so it was hard for me to collaborate and share my ideas because it’s very vulnerable to share song ideas. You’re afraid that people are gonna laugh at you and people are going to think what you’re saying is cheesy. There’s that level of worry. But aside from that, it was a great experience to be able to express yourself.

Elise Eriksen, a fifth grader and the daughter of Mikkel, also participated in the creation of “This Is Our Time” and talked about how her love from music started with watching her father play piano. She also talked to the AmNews about working to hit the right note in the studio.

“Sometimes I just want to sing and it doesn’t always work like that. I think it’s important because I think if you rush things; it’s not going to end up very good. So you need to take your time.” Eriksen also told the AmNews that working with other people “was important to the experience.”

And continuing the “spark of genius” motto the Dwight School emphasizes, the youngest student to participate in the song’s creation is also one of the most accomplished in terms of the arts. Fifth-grader Akash Chopra, 10, holds the lead role of Mowgli in the national tour of “The Jungle Book” currently co-produced by Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and Boston’s Huntington Theater. Chopra’s been able to keep up with his studies via tutors on the road, using Skype to engage with teachers and attending class whenever he has some free time. He spoke to the AmNews about the experience and what it meant to create a school song.

"“To work with someone like Mikkel Eriksen was an amazing experience,” said Chopra. “Dwight School itself is such a cooperative community that I think that just working together with these people made this concept such a very good song.” When asked to pick his favorite moment from the experience Chopra said “the first day when we met and we just came together as a group to brainstorm on the song. At first we were all shy, but then we started coming together and by the next practice we were thinking of a melody to go with the song.”

When asked about the key lesson learned from their experience in the studio, both the students and Eriksen discussed “patience.”

“I think the big lesson in this, and in life, is to always work together,” said Chopra.

Eriksen told the AmNews that he had to remind himself a few times that he wasn’t dealing with the typical recording scenario.

“You have to remind yourself that these are kids and they’re new to the process,” said Eriksen. “When we record, we are used to doing 20 or 200 takes for a song and piecing it together. But the kids were so positive and so eager and so enthusiastic. So there was really no problem in motivating them to give the extra effort.”

And judging from the results, the effort seemed to be well worth the wait.