LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings by Barbara La Valleur — Justice Choir: Something To Sing About

Saturday was quite the day. If you follow my blogs, you read my take on the re-opening of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with a couple of dozen photos.

From the Walker event, I went to Westminster Presbyterian Church and continued my artful day with songs in an inaugural event that I hope will multiply throughout this great land of ours.

Song: “A Bridge is Stronger Than a Wall” by Emily Feld.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced a shortage of hope in the last few months, and I refuse to “take it” sitting down. In fact, I’m taking a stand and singing, which isn’t difficult as I’ve sung in choirs as a child and in a German secular choir when I lived in Europe.

The first Justice Choir sponsored by WPC was a mixed group of about 200 people from the Twin Cities with a rehearsal in the morning and performance in the great sanctuary from 1 to 3 p.m. It wasn’t just about singing songs of hope, peace, love, human rights and freedom, though.

Song: “Another World is Possible” by FLOBOTS.

Thoughtfully organized by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu (won-dih-MAWG-nee-you), our director of Choral Ministries, among others, it also featured a dialogue with Tesfa and Nekima Levy-Pounds, activist, attorney, former law professor at St. Thomas University and currently running for mayor of Minneapolis. But she didn’t mention that.

They spoke about social justice, speaking out when we see injustices and taking a stand.

Song: “Love is Love is Love is Love” by Abbie Betinis.

Everyone present received a Justice Choir Songbook containing over 40 new and familiar songs, co-edited by Tesfa and Abbie Betinis, a St. Paul composer who coincidently was compiling a songbook to be used across the country for a national movement of justice choirs, and Ahmed Azald, a pianist and conductor from Minneapolis.

New songs will be added to the songbook in the coming weeks and month.

Song: “Resilience” by Abbie Betinis.

Tesfa said Saturday that the free songbook will be a resource for choirs across across the country due to special arrangements so other congregations, choirs, schools and communities will be able to download it soon.

I’m proud to be part of a progressive church that sponsors events such as this. In his forward to the songbook, WPC pastor, Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Anderson wrote, “The longing for a just and peaceful world is not limited to any one religious tradition or practice. People of faith and good will everywhere want to build a new future. Westminster invites you to join the movement for justice wherever you live. There are others who will work with you. Together we can transform the world.”

If you’re interested in joining the choir or starting one of your own in your own state and/or community, go to the Justice Choir website www.justicechoir.org.

Song: “Sing for Justice” by Ar Had Y Nos.

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