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  • Maria Rinaldi

A New Year's Resolution: Join a Chorus!


Hello! As we begin a new year, it is the perfect time to reflect and update you all on the latest with Vermont's Freedom & Unity Chorus. As you may remember, this chorus was created during a moment of great division in this country – in April there was a shooting in a New York synagogue, another in August at a Walmart in El Paso with a hate-filled manifesto referencing anti-immigration sentiments, children being torn from their mothers on the Mexican border, ICE agents raiding homes across the country, the President telling three congresswomen (all citizens of the United States) to go back to where they came from, and the ongoing shootings of unarmed black men. Feeling helpless to change the current political situation, I asked myself what could I do to bring some hope and change to our community. I decided I wanted to create a chorus that is a safe space, that welcomes ALL voices and that spreads the message that everyone belongs. When I put the word out about starting up a peace and justice chorus, I had no idea what kind of response it would receive. I decided to split rehearsals between Jericho and Colchester to attract as many people as possible from those surrounding areas. At first I thought I would hold the Jericho rehearsals at my home, but when the member count exceeded 40, I knew other arrangements had to be made! A special thank you to the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for helping us in our time of need, and to the ministry team at Saint Michael's College for hosting our Colchester rehearsals. Have you thought about joining a chorus? I'd like to suggest that joining Vermont's Freedom & Unity Chorus would make a terrific New Year's resolution. Not only will you meet new people, you will be part of a movement that seeks to bring light and love to drive out the darkness and hate in this world. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Almost every week a new person shows up to rehearsal and we are close to breaking the 60-member mark! But I don't want to stop there. I would love to see this group become an ensemble of 100 voices or more. And in case you are thinking it, it is never too late to join. For those who cannot attend every rehearsal, we have practice files to rehearse from home or to get new members up to speed. This spring, we will begin looking for events or venues where we can share our music. We have already been invited to sing for the 100-year celebration of women's suffrage this summer in Montpelier! If you are reading this and would like us to sing for your event, please let me know. At the same time, we are looking for a non-profit to become our fiscal sponsor. If you are able to help us out with that, I would appreciate hearing from you! If you've read this far and are interested in joining the chorus, please see below for our ever-expanding list of music we are working on, and then hurry on over to www.vermontsfreedomandunitychorus.org/join-us to sign up!


May 2020 be our year for hope and change!


  1. Blowin' In The Wind. Written by Bob Dylan with harmonies made famous by folk legends Peter, Paul, and Mary.

  2. I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free. This song served as an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement in America in the 1960s and was recorded by the great Nina Simone in 1967.

  3. This Is Me. The heartfelt anthem from The Greatest Showman which won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. It encourages us to love the parts of us that make us different.

  4. What About Us. A politically-inspired song by the artist P!nk for a wounded America. It depicts the pain of many Americans who feel abandoned and unheard in today's society. It is a message to those in power from the people they left behind.

  5. What Do I Know. Singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran uses this heartfelt song about the power of love and the important things in life to close his concerts.

  6. One Song. This uplifting song by Marvin Hamlisch is a moving call to unity, peace, and harmony in this world.

  7. This Land Is Your Land. Written by the famed folk artist Woody Guthrie, some have called this song an alternative national anthem. Over time, it's been sung by everyone from Bruce Springsteen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

  8. Lean On Me (with We Shall Overcome). Written by Bill Withers' after he moved to LA from West Virginia and missed the strong community ethic of his hometown. It is combined with We Shall Overcome, the powerful gospel song that became the protest anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.

  9. Pride (In the Name of Love). U2’s shout out to all the nonviolent human rights’ activists in history who put their lives on the line in the name of that cause. More specifically, the song was inspired by and is based on the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

  10. Blood Brothers. An original song from Ingrid Michaelson about how we are all the same.

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Maria Rinaldi

20 Cilley Hill Road
Jericho, Vermont 05465

vermontsfreedomandunitychorus@gmail.com

802-858-9333

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