Vermont's Freedom & Unity Chorus formed in October 2019 to spread the message of Peace and Justice across the Green Mountain State. Given these troubling times of great division, where people are being told they do not belong, this chorus is a safe place that welcomes all voices regardless of age, race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, national origin (ancestry), disability, and sexual orientation.
The musical director, Maria Rinaldi, suffered a spinal cord injury at the age of 12 which left her paralyzed from the chest down. Not one to let her disability define her, she pursued her love for singing with acclaimed vocal coach, Shyla Nelson Stewart. Although not a formally trained conductor, Maria directed the Winooski Community Chorus for 10 years. She prides herself on having an innate ability to choose music that is not only enjoyable to sing but also moves audiences. In 2016, she had the privilege of directing members of the Winooski Community Chorus and Mountainsong as a combined choir for Counterpoint's annual peace concert (see video). That performance served as the inspiration for the creation of Vermont's Freedom & Unity Chorus.
Rehearsals are in full swing
If you're interested in joining us, please check out the details below and contact us to express your interest.
Auditions: No audition required. This group is for all abilities–from those who like to sing in the shower, to those who have not sung since high school, to those who have sung in multiple choruses. The ability to read music is not necessary but it helps. Audio files will be made available to assist members in learning their parts.
Rehearsal/Performance Seasons: Mid-March to Early August; September (after Labor Day) to Mid-December.
Rehearsal Time and Location: We meet Tuesday evenings in the Chapel at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT from 7-9 PM. That said, the chorus is not affiliated with any religious organization.
Style of Music: We sing all different genres of music with a meaningful message, including pop, folk, rock, soul, gospel...even Broadway when appropriate!
Performances: We are open to performance requests from local towns, churches, and organizations and/or any event where the message of peace and justice will be welcomed.
Annual Dues: The annual dues are intentionally kept low at $35 per year to make the chorus accessible to everyone, regardless of income level. The music director and members volunteer their time. The dues help cover the cost of music and defray the costs from the annual fee from the group's fiscal sponsor, Peace & Justice Center of Vermont. Scholarships are available if needed. Inability to pay is not a barrier to being in the chorus.
Non-Gender Voice Sections: Members may sing in any vocal section that is comfortable for their voice range. No one is limited to a particular section by their perceived gender identity.
Accessible: All rehearsals are wheelchair accessible and chorus members are available to assist anyone if needed.
Transportation: The rehearsal location is on the bus route. Carpooling has been arranged to address transportation needs for some members.
Music acts like a magic key, to which
the most tightly closed heart opens.
― Maria von Trapp
Vermont's Freedom & Unity Chorus brings together singers of all abilities and backgrounds to perform a variety of music that represents the ongoing struggle for racial, social, economic and environmental justice. We are united in the fight for freedom, equality for all, and are steadfast in the hope that there are better days ahead. In the tradition of performers like Nina Simone and Peter, Paul and Mary, who used their platforms to ignite change, our voices seek to transform hearts and minds and inspire audiences.
Vermont's Freedom & Unity Chorus values every human being, and supports and celebrates each person's uniqueness, experiences and contributions. To this end we welcome all voices regardless of age, race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, national origin (ancestry), disability, and sexual orientation.
We choose freedom over fear and we recognize that none of us are free until all of us are free.
We strive to become one of the most diverse and inclusive choruses in the State of Vermont.