Here’s what publications, educators and viewers are saying about CONDUCTING HOPE:


Video Librarian ★★★
Library Journal
Chorus America


“‘Conducting Hope’ depicts a very important program at work in Kansas’ correctional system.  The film is a very rare opportunity for people to educate themselves about our prison system, and the human beings that are within our prisons’ walls.  The many colorful stories that are told within ‘Conducting Hope’ are all very fair and uplifting portrayals of individuals who ordinarily might have every reason to lose all hope, were it not for this important ‘in-reach’ program.”

Alex M. Holsinger, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice & Criminology
University of Missouri – Kansas City

“’Conducting Hope’ provides a most heart-warming view of a powerful form of restorative and transformative justice: prison choirs comprising non-incarcerated and incarcerated singers. The United States needs more programs like the East Hill Singers. Conducting Hope illustrates the fact that as humans, yes we can impart hope in prisons and others in challenging contexts through the powerful medium of group singing.”

Mary L. Cohen, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Area Head, Music Education
School of Music, University of Iowa

“’Conducting Hope’ is a compelling documentary that shows there is goodness inside every person and that through music the men of the East Hills Singers have a new found strength in their own goodness and self worth–which may be the very key to their future success.”

David McKune
Director, Juvenile Detention Center
Department of Corrections, Kansas

“The redemptive power of music and singing is explored in an innovative prison program developed in Kansas. Not only does this film change the way the inmates see themselves, as importantly, it will change the way the world will see them. The performances are inspiring and the back-story riveting!”

Kristi Holsinger, Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology
University of Missouri-Kansas City

“’Conducting Hope’ promotes debate about the purpose of prison and challenges students to think about more innovative and restorative alternatives to the traditional ‘lock ‘em up’ approach to criminal justice.  The film demonstrates the power of music, acceptance, peer support and community involvement in an alternative prison program to produce hope and positive changes in inmates, thereby moving justice processes away from retribution and punishment and toward restoration, reintegration and healing.”

Stacy Lee Burns, Professor of Sociology
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles


“Watched the amazing ‘Conducting Hope’, produced and directed by Margie Friedman. Wonderful, inspirational and thought provoking. If you missed it, try and find it…it’s terrific.”

Fred Willard, actor, Los Angeles

“I watched ‘Conducting Hope’ and I thought it was absolutely wonderful!!!  The concert was quite impressive…I really did not expect that they would sound so good and perform so well.  When the little children came up and hugged their fathers/uncles it totally got to me and I was really tearing up!  ‘Conducting Hope’ presents something which not only informs people about a program that I am sure is virtually unknown around the country, but it made me care about each of the men individually.”

Joanne Davis, viewer, Los Angeles

“Good that we had a box of tissues nearby. I found the story very interesting and the music beautiful. I kept thinking about the outside world and what would happen when [these] inmates were released.”

Arthur Celedonia, viewer, Brooklyn, NY