Seven of Vermont’s best-known choruses – including Counterpoint, members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Choir and Bella Voce – will gather in Rutland Saturday for the fifth annual Sing for Peace Concert.
Robert De Cormier, the former director of Counterpoint, came up with the idea for the concert, believing that people singing together could inspire others to work for peace.
Bella Voce, a Burlington-area women’s choir, will sing Peace I ask of Thee O River. It’s one of many choruses and songs about peace that audiences will hear this Saturday at Rutland’s Grace Congregational Church. The Counterpoint vocal ensemble will also be performing. Nathaniel Lew is Counterpoint’s artistic director.
"The initial conception of the concert was Robert Decormier’s. He’s always been very committed to peace and social action, social justice issues", Lew says. "And it was his dream to have some kind of Vermont event where singing would be the chief means of bringing people together. And this is our fifth year doing it and it’s just gone from strength to strength."
Counterpoint will sing "Hinei ma tov" from their Shalom album. Nathaniel Lew says the choruses that take part in the peace concert are some of the best in the state. So the music is really good. But even more powerful than the caliber of the music, Lew says, is the sense of community Robert DeCormier creates when he invites the audience to join in.
"To bring the audience into the singing is something that’s very dear to the heart of Robert DeCormier", Lew says. He always feels that the audience should sing along at some point especially at an event like this."
Rip Jackson, director of the Rutland Area Chorus says the atmosphere created with so many voices coming together "is magical".
"I love doing concerts where there are no rules. It doesn’t have to be by one composer. It doesn’t have to be a certain style, or a certain form to it. It’s all kinds of music and it’s fun and it’s such a great cause and we all want peace."
Jackson says it’s hard not to get discouraged when you listen to the news and hear about so much violence and unrest everywhere.
"To me getting together on Saturday night to be a voice for peace – I can’t think of anything that would be more important right now."
The Rutland Area Chorus’s "Working on a Building" is one of four songs they’ll perform at the Sing for Peace Concert at Rutalnd’s Grace Congregational Church. The concert is free, but donations will be collected for the Burlington based "Volunteers for Peace" a nonprofit organization that promotes international volunteer work.
The 5th annual Sing For Peace Concert will be held Saturday, September 22, at 4:00 p.m. at Rutland’s Grace Congregational Church.