Young singers with ties to all 50 states will show nation what unity looks and sounds like
PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA, August 14, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ — When “Choir Across America” debuts on Monday night’s opening of the DNC Convention, singing a virtual rendition of the National Anthem, it will be a dream come true for Steve Fisher. This virtual ensemble, which his organization put together with the DNC, is made up of young people with ties to all 50 states, perfectly embodies the theme of Monday’s events: unity.
Fisher, Founder and Artistic Director of Commonwealth Youthchoirs (CY), partnered with the Democratic National Committee to assemble a choir of singers reflecting the diversity which makes America so unique as a country. Choristers of many races, ethnicities, religions, ages, genders and perspectives are represented in this 57-member group. All of them have ties to one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the other five U.S. territories. Many in this unique ensemble come from CY’s current membership, who were born in another state or lived there previously. Other singers are CY alumni who go to school or reside in another state. Still others in “Choir Across America” hail from a local choral group in one of the US states or territories. Even the Northern Mariana Islands is represented. What unites all of these choristers is their love of singing.
The idea for an ensemble of singers from every US state and territory is Fisher’s brain child. “It came to me when they announced that the 2016 DNC Convention would be held in Philadelphia where my own choirs are based,” explains Fisher. “Having a hunch that the nominee would be Hillary Clinton, I proposed to our board that we host the ‘Let Freedom Sing!’ Girlchoir National Convention to show the country that singing has the power to unite women – regardless of what state they live in and what their views are. The group had an amazing 5 days together, and we sang at some smaller DNC events. But our hope that the female ensemble – 2 from every state in the Union – would be invited to sing the National Anthem on stage at the convention, was not realized. Not giving up, we planned to be in Milwaukee to offer the DNC another opportunity to show the nation what unity looks and sounds like – with an ensemble of girls and boys. But of course, the pandemic caused us to cancel. And then, less than 2 weeks ago, out of the blue, the DNC called. They loved the idea of a choir representing every state. The only problem was, we only had 10 days to form the nationwide virtual chorus. Somehow, through the amazing efforts of my co-Artistic Director Dr. Elizabeth Parker, and our entire staff, we did it!”
Grace Mazzola, a member of Garden State Girlchoir (GSG), was one of the singers who went out with Fisher to Milwaukee back in the fall, helping him plan for this second shot at this dream. She was disappointed when the plans got cancelled because of Corona, but is excited to be a part of the virtual National Anthem. “While our country goes through this time of unrest,” Grace says, “we get to connect virtually with people all over the country regardless of our differences. That was the best part of this experience.”
Eric Binswanger, a CY alumni who now lives in California, met his wife Holly when CY collaborated with the Phoenix Girls Chorus. Both are a part of the “Choirs Across America” ensemble. “I’m not sure that Holly and I could have been in Milwaukee to participate in person, had this ensemble been performing live,” says Binswanger. “So there’s a silver lining of the pandemic right there! Thanks CY, not only for introducing me to my wife and singing at our wedding, but for reminding me how much we miss singing. Holly and I had a ball doing this!”
CY is no stranger to the national stage. In 2015, its young singers sang for Pope Francis when he visited Philadelphia. One of its singers Bobby Hill sang an a cappella solo live at the last minute, to cover an unexpected set change. “Rather than subjecting the Holy Father to viewing a Philly union guy’s butt crack,” Fisher jokes, “the pope and the world listened in utter delight to what Mark Wahlberg called, ‘the voice of an angel.’ As I like to say, Bobby now has a better career than I do. Now it could be another young person’s turn. Who knows? The singers the world are going to see Monday night are amazing.”
Commonwealth Youthchoirs’ mission is to transform the lives of young people through the power of making music together – one song at a time. Its family of programs include: Find Your Instrument, Garden State Girlchoir, Keystone State Boychoir, New Jersey Boychoir, and Pennsylvania Girlchoir. As a nonprofit organization, it serves more than 800 children in the greater Philadelphia and South Jersey region between the ages of 6 and 18, half of whom are under-resourced. For more information, visit cychoirs.org.
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Source: EIN Presswire