Ashland, Ore.– An event in Ashland is bringing more than 200 activist singers together to deliver a message of peace and hope.
“Music reaches under the radar and can deliver a message in a way that can reach into peoples hearts,” said Rob Griswell-Lowry, director of the Rogue Valley Peace Choir.
At the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, the concert, One Voice, is an event meant to stir the soul. With five peace choirs with over 200 singers from Oregon and Northern California, the gathering is a way to spread a message of harmony.
Griswell-Lowry, who has been leading the Rogue Valley Peace Choir for six years says each year brings something unique but the underlying mission is the same.
“The repertoire that we sing, we choose because we care about singing for a mission and that mission is to sing songs about peace, social justice and environmental stewardship,” said Griswell-Lowry.
Director Don Willis of the Emandal Chorale from Mendocino County, California remembers being a part of the first joint-choir in Ashland back in 2003. It’s something he says he loves being a part of.
“It’s indescribable,” said Willis. “Music is something that’s precious for everyone and everyone can do it. But when you get together with 200 hundred people, it feeds your soul.”
Other choirs that are participating this year are the Portland Peace Choir, Eugene Peace Choir and In Accord Community Choir also from Eugene.
For all the choir participants, it’s a chance to not only practice and learn but give back in a way that brings everyone closer together.
“There’s a lot of loneliness out there, there’s a lot of people who aren’t connected to other people,” said Willis. “This is a way for people to connect on a one to one basis and on a group basis that’s non-threatening, it’s safe, it’s rewarding. It’s immediately giving you good feedback and good feelings.”