Remember The Triangle Fire Coalition

Triangle Fire Open Archive

Cultural Response

The Flames of Change: LREI Fourth Grade Original Musical

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Contributed by : LREI

Object # 2294

On May 25, 2011, LREI fourth graders became factory workers, firefighters, tenement dwellers and labor union leaders for their original musical “The Flames of Change,” a commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.

Courtesy of : LREI (All rights reserved)

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“We are so proud of our students’ hard work,” said Fourth Grade Teacher and co-writer Dina Pomeranz. “They understood that they were being historical interpreters, and that through the reenactment of history, they were being upstanders and allies for sweatshop workers everywhere.”

In honor of the fire’s centennial, fourth grade teachers Dina Pomeranz, Kate Treitman, Farrah Khan and Nicole Keller incorporated in-depth study of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire into their unit on European immigration to the Lower East Side. Students visited the Tenement Museum and the Art – Memory – Place exhibit at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, and scoured primary documents from Cornell University’s Triangle Factory Fire online database. Many of the characters in “The Flames of Change” were historical figures — including Francis Perkins, Rose Schniederman and Clara Lemlich —and lines in the play came from historical accounts and transcripts the students read in class.
“There was a lot of research done, that’s for sure,” said Lower School Music Teacher and musical director Ledell Mulvaney, who wrote the songs and co-wrote the script with Dina and input by the class. “When it was all over, the students really seemed to understand that all it takes is one or two or three people to stand up, take risks and advocate for change.”