In 1959, a new teacher named Derek Sanders becomes the new choirmaster for Blanton Academy, a prestigious but all-white private school in South Carolina. Mr. Sanders tries to reduce some of the prejudice and hostility of some of the students in his choir. Paul, a bully who feels he should be lead boy, is the worst offender. Taylor Bradshaw, on the other hand, is impressed by the music of Landy Allen, an African-American boy and grandson of Zeke, the school caretaker. Taylor begins to explore the music and lives of the African-American people who live in Rivertown, despite knowing that it could get him expelled or rejected. Sanders is also impressed by Landy's abilities and attempts to get him involved with the choir. A tragedy in the community brings the race issue to a head.
- Justin Whalin - Taylor Bradshaw
- Eugene Byrd - Landy Allen
- Darren McGavin - Mr. Hobbs
- Peter Scolari - Mr. Derek Sanders, the Choirmaster
- Catherine Mary Stewart - Miss Hobbs, Mr. Hobbs' daughter.
- Moses Gunn - Zeke, the campus caretaker
- David Faustino - Paul
- Casey Ellison - Orville
- Richie Havens - Scrapper Johnson
- Cleavon Little - Pastor Clarence Johnson
- Jeff Cohen - Ward
- Devin Ratray - Shelby
- Wallace K. Wilkinson - Mayor Macy
- Dan Biggers - Doctor
The film's soundtrack includes "All We Like Sheep" and Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah, Franz Schubert's Ständchen in D Major and Schwanengesang, and Mozart's Laudate Dominum, as well as Vollendet ist das große Werk from Haydn's Creation.
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