Acclaimed Film About Local Prison Choir to Air on KCPT

After warm reception at the Kansas International Film Festival in October, Conducting Hope will now be featured on Kansas City Public Television, airing on January 12th at 3 p.m.

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?

The East Hill Singers is a unique, internationally-known choir comprised of inmates from Lansing Correctional Facility and volunteers from the Kansas City metro. It is one of the only prison choirs in the nation to perform outside prison walls; the group performs twice a year for the community. EHS is supported by local non-profit, Arts in Prison. AiP uses the arts to inspire positive change in the incarcerated, reduce recidivism, and to reconnect ex-offenders with their community.


If you would like more information, or to schedule an interview with Arts in Prison director Leigh Lynch or East Hill Singers music director Kirk Carson, please contact Leigh at or at 913-403-0229. If you would like to schedule an interview with film director Margie Friedman, please contact her at 310-418-0846 or at

To read more about the choir, please visit -- to watch the film’s trailer, please visit

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