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Music Brings a Message to Washington Corrections Center for Women

July 29, 2019

By Alexandra Barton

DOC Communications

A band playing for incarcerated women

Mary Hartman (far left), Janet Humphrey (center), and Michelle Cameron make up the band Trillium-239. (Alexandra Barton, DOC Communications)

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A powerful melody resonated throughout the halls of Washington Corrections Center for Women as the three-woman band, Trillium-239, played ‘This Land is Your Land’ for the incarcerated women. The band’s visit was part of Humanities Washington’s Speakers Bureau Series: Music with a Message, an educational program that teaches audience members about various topics and the music that influences it. The program is ran through the Washington State Library operated through the Secretary of State. The 2019 topic was ‘Songs of Social Change,’ and focused on exploring music written about social movements that are fundamental to America’s history.

Trillium-239 is made up of Michelle Cameron, Mary Hartman, and Janet Humphrey all from Richland, Washington. The band auditioned for Music with a Message three years ago and has learned a lot about music since then.

“It’s really interesting finding out just how much you really don’t know when it comes to the history of music in our country,” Cameron said.

The performance set list included songs about a variety of social issues, such as civil rights, women’s suffrage, and global warming. The band ended the evening with the famous Bob Dylan song, ‘The Times They Are a Changin’ before opening the room for the incarcerated women to ask questions and talk about other songs they think represent social movements.

“The messages in songs affect how you see the world and that’s why this (Music with a Message) is so important,” Humphrey said. “We just hope we can help people understand it (the music) just a little bit better.”