Vermont's Freedom & Unity Chorus is a new choral group looking for singers who want to spread the message of Peace and Justice across the Green Mountain State. Given these troubling times where more and more people are being told they do not belong, this chorus will demonstrate through our music and our singers that ALL voices are welcome in this chorus and in this state.
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 and performing artist, Shyla Nelson Stewart. Although not a formally trained conductor, Maria has directed the Winooski Community Chorus for the last 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 below for the performance).
To encourage participation, this chorus will build in as much flexibility as possible, from multiple rehearsal locations to uploading practice files and recordings onto the web for members to use at home when they are unable to attend in person. In time, if members join from farther outside the designated rehearsal areas, we will consider adding a rehearsal in that community if there's enough interest. Online remote access to rehearsals is a long term goal so that members can participate in real-time from near or far. The group will learn a set of songs that will be added to over time and can be customized according to the event and length of time of any performance.
Rehearsal Times: Thursdays, 7:00-9:00 PM (beginning October 2019)
Rehearsal Locations: Every other week we will meet in the chapel at Saint Michael's College in Colchester and on opposite weeks we will meet at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Jericho. This will make the travel time more equitable for members participating from both areas. Members will ideally attend rehearsals at both locations. For the members who find this a hardship, it will be necessary to rehearse with the online files from home when they cannot attend rehearsal.
Type of Music: We will incorporate the popular folk songs and African-American spirituals from the peace and civil rights movements of the 1960's. We will also perform songs by more contemporary artists like Bono, P!nk and Ed Sheeran.
Performances: After working on the music for a few months, we will reach out to local towns, churches, and organizations AND encourage them to reach out to us for performance requests. We are open to any event where the message of Peace and Justice will be welcomed.
Associated Costs: Members will be responsible for the cost of their music. Some scholarships will be available for those who cannot afford the cost. Lack of funds should not preclude one from participating.
Music acts like a magic key, to which
the most tightly closed heart opens.
― Maria von Trapp
Vermont's Freedom & Unity Chorus will bring together singers to perform music that represents the ongoing struggle for racial, social, economic and environmental justice in this country. In the tradition of musical and civil rights legends 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 believe that kindness and compassion are actions essential to confronting the powers that try to divide us.
We strive to become one of the most diverse and inclusive choruses in the State of Vermont.