It’s official – beginning this Monday, my good friend Beth Neville Evans (Director of The Ixtatan Foundation) and I will begin a series of singing workshops at The Haven, a day shelter for the homeless in Charlottesville, Virginia. Because The Haven is a central location, including a fabulous old church space, our ultimate vision includes creating a cross-cultural, cross-socio-economic offering that brings people of all walks of life to together to lift their voices in song. However, this week, we’ll start with the group immediately before us: the homeless of Charlottesville. All are invited to join.
The objective: create a safe space to come together in the greatest equalizers of music – human sound.
The tools: rounds/cannons, songs that build harmony and that are arranged for first-time singing groups, call and response songs. As we get to see if people become regular attendees, we can then start to choose songs based on voice parts that are available to us and branch into harmonies.
The approach: focus on music that is learned aurally (without written music) to build listening and aural learning skills. I also like to think about it in terms of building group consciousness. Show up every Monday morning all Fall and see what momentum builds. All choirs take time. All group sounds take time. All group consciousness takes time. All personal evolution takes time.
The ground rules: Everyone is welcome. Tolerance is the name of the game – in other words, no making fun of anyone, no disruption, no finger-pointing, no making anyone feel uncomfortable. Attention to details, within the scope of what the group and individuals are capable of. Fierce protection of the sacred, safe space for expressing yourself.
The meeting times: Mondays at 10:30am-11:30am, in the Sanctuary.
The anticipated result: Only time will tell what will come of this – but I anticipate lifted souls, moments of poignancy, moments of awkwardness, and moments of brilliance and opening.