Know That You Belong: Creating Safe Spaces for Healing Through the Arts
Will Parker is an award-winning children’s songwriter and teaching artist based in Houston, TX. He writes and performs music for “kids ages 1-100.” During Will’s whimsical and interactive shows, he plays guitar and harmonica, and sings original songs that engage the audience in singing-along, dancing, high-fiving, and imaginative play. The kids even help Will create an improvised song through their suggestions and input on what should happen next in the impromptu story. Will also engages the kids in conversation about how every person can be creative and that writing a song is something they can do too. The kids learn that songs are a great way to tell stories–their own stories too.
Will holds both a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Trinity University and served as the theatre director at KIPP University Prep High School for four years before leaping into life as a full-time musician. During the year, he tours the country playing shows at libraries, schools, daycares, museums, churches, camps and festivals. He recorded two full-length children’s album with collaborator Sam Fuller. They are available at willparker.bandcamp.com.
While in San Antonio, he was deeply involved in the improv scene where he performed with San Antonio’s first musical improv troupe, When Can Do. He also worked with the Magik Children’s Theatre as an actor in their touring troupe, a coach for their youth improv group and as a teaching artist for their X-celerated Theatre program for incarcerated youth.
Will has a passion for helping young people learn the self-love and confidence they need to unlock their innately creative selves. In 2018, Will pursued his mission in a new direction by going to seminary. He currently attends Yale Divinity School where he is involved in Yale Divinity Drama, Yale Divinity Interfaith Club, and Berkeley Divinity School–the Episcopal seminary at Yale. As he discerns a call to school chaplaincy, he continues to perform music, facilitate workshops, give talks, and teach young people through the arts. Deeply inspired by Mr. Rogers, he hopes he can make a difference in the lives of kids in similar ways–through sharing uplifting music, encouraging imaginative play, offering tools to navigate emotional landscapes, and by reminding each and every person of their inherent value and worth.