by Susanne Maziarz, Music Director at Neighbourhood
Over five years ago, I heard about Threshold Choirs at the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN) conference. A seed had been planted and now the Comfort Choir is in our fifth year singing at the Michael Garron (formerly Toronto East General) Hospital. Thinking of how music can both soothe the soul and connect us as feeling, loving human beings at all stages of life moved me.
This year at the UUMN conference in Arlington, I met the pianist of First UU Church of Richmond, VA. Her name is Jamie Kilpatrick, and she has started a Protest Choir with both members of the congregation and greater community. With boldness and beauty, the choir sings at rallies and public events as a non-violent public protest to injustices. She took her choir to Charlottesville to sing songs of unity, love and respect for all, in the face of hatred and fear. Luckily, no one was hurt by the violence that ensued at this event.
It is the only way I know how to stand up to such vileness – with love and beauty – to try to soothe the soul and connect us as feeling, loving humans. If starting a protest choir here at Neighbourhood interests you, or you know someone who might like to get involved, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us get the discussion started.