A Call to Raised Arms
VOICES21C, Produced by Chris Clark
The VOICES21C response to the podcast “Racial Justice, Activism, and the Choir” positions the ensemble as a voice of activism that can engender change through the use of our privileges and platforms. Our improvisation is in three parts. The first section evokes a protest march, with each performer acting both as an individual with their own personal reasons for attending as well as acting as a member of a group by interacting with the material of others. This section ends with an improvised rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem that was frequently sung during the civil rights marches of the 1960’s. The second section is based around text gleaned from the podcast itself. Each performer creates a relationship to another through their improvisations and the texts they choose. It is freely sung, timeless, suggesting that the change of societies viewpoints happens gradually. The ending of this section functions as a cadenza, improvised and in free rhythm, leading to the contrasting final section. The idea of the march gradually returns in the third section, but this time the performers layer their improvisations over a repeating ostinato, creating a jazzy expression of joy. Each performer adds a unique layer to the improvisation, suggesting the unique work of each individual to the larger social justice movement. The performers end the improvisation together, signifying how a unified vision might engender the change we wish to see.
VOICES 21C Contributors to this project:
Chris Clark - Bradford Dumont - Elise Felker - Michael Genese - Olivia de Geofroy - Krystal Morin