Why we sing for peace (part II)

    The Rogue Valley Peace Choir members invite you to attend a free concert this Sunday, May 22. Below, several members share the reasons they sing for peace. For me, peace is stronger than war because it heals rather than destroys. Come and listen to the sound of peace.

    — Sally McKirgan

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    Singing, meeting folks

    Showing up for facial joy

    Hear the difference

    —Barbara Settles

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    In 2010, I interviewed for a job in Ashland. When asked if I had any questions, I said, "Yes! Are there any community choirs here?" I was delighted when the answer was, "Lots of them, including the one I belong to." Singing in a choir offers an immediate connection to a new community and a set of friends with shared passions and values. The Peace Choir sings with joy about things that matter deeply to me. I live in Ashland, but in many ways the choir is my home.

    —Kim T. Griswell-Lowry

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    When I first heard the Peace Choir sing, I was inspired and enthusiastic and delighted to find it was a non-audition choir, so I joined. Singing for peace brings comfort and healing that is ancient and primal. The rhythm of many voices raised together is a powerful tool. If you don’t believe it, look up “The Singing Revolution in Estonia.”

    —Carolee Buck

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    Being a member of the Rogue Valley Peace Choir is satisfying and I feel lucky and proud to raise my voice among a community of singers who, for the most part, feel the same as I do and want to share the message of peace. I am grateful to be surrounded by compassionate and forgiving individuals who understand that none of us is perfect, but together, singing for just causes with love in our hearts, we somehow make the world a better place and I believe we become better people. When our voices blend together in a rich tapestry of sound, emotion and message, I feel such great joy and I love sharing that joy with others during our concerts.

    —Cynthia Taylor

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    In 2008, I finally took the leap and showed up to check it out, see who was there and, thankfully, no auditioning! When I walked in, Elizabeth B. hugged me. Then I spotted Dave Marston and he said loudly, "Ah, now we have a drummer" and embraced me. I'm not stupid, I know a God shot when I feel one. I've been the percussion section leader ever since. The Choir provides a place for creativity, love and what I call the expression of each one’s Genius. Let us cherish this rich and wonderful opportunity to create something vibrant and needed for our community, ourselves and the world. Peace out, baby!

    —Patty Aulik

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    I believe in the Margaret Mead quote that says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Singing for peace is what I can do to help. Instead of griping about politics we turn to song and offer it to the world. There are selfish reasons for me to sing. The happier and healthier I am, the more light I’m able to cast. I struggle with health issues, pain and depression. As a child, I was silenced, as many of us are taught not to speak up. Singing affirms my right to use my own voice. When I sing with the Choir I move and my heart is free, there is nothing but music and unity. It is my church. The people I sing with are tolerant, forgiving, respectful, and responsible. We are part of a global family. Music is a universal language of love. The Peace Choir is a reason to live!

    —Liza Yates

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    When I sing with an organized group of people that performs for others, I experience multiple personal benefits. It encourages wonderful self-discipline. When done well, the harmonies of the many voices release a unique joy that fulfills me beyond description. Bringing people of all different backgrounds together for a common goal is so enriching. And there's a wonderful sense of accomplishment in bringing a small measure of beauty to life. I've never experienced anything so rewarding and so enjoyable.

    —Avram Chetron

    This year’s theme — “We Are One,” from a song written by Pat Humphries of Emma’s Revolution and arranged by the late Dave Marston — says it all. The free concert starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main St., Ashland. For more, go to www.roguevalleypeacechoir.org.

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