Conducting Hope Documentary
Conducting Hope follows choir director, Kirk Carson, as he works tirelessly to get the inmates who make up the East Hill Singers at Lansing Correctional Facility in Kansas ready for a live performance outside prison. It’s a daunting task, since most have never sung in a choir before. There’s Michael B., sentenced for manufacturing methamphetamines; Darryl P., serving nearly fifty years for attempted murder; and Kurt I., a drug addict who is about to be released. Essex S. is in maximum security for murder, and while he can’t sing in the choir, the group performs his powerful rap of redemption that he wrote. The film also focuses on David J. and Shawn W., both former inmates who continue to sing with the choir as community members and serve as role models to the current inmates.
Conducting Hope culminates in a performance at a local church, attended by hundreds of members of the community along with the inmates’ families and friends. The inmates share the surprising and emotional impact the choir has on their lives and their appreciation for Kirk’s unwavering commitment to push them and achieve something beautiful — many for the first time in their lives. Nearly two-thirds of inmates will be rearrested within three years of release, and nearly fifty percent will wind up back in prison. Clearly, there are no easy solutions to this complex issue, but these men are going to be released at some point. The question is: will they be better prepared thanks to the power of music?