Tacoma Refugee Choir
This high energy program will feature original songs from our upcoming album interspersed with dialogue about why and how we do this work of building a sense of belonging with this diverse community. Songs will likely include: · “Moon Song”- song inspired by teenage boys detained locally who when asked “How is the moon different from back home?” answered, “There’s no moon for us here.” · “I’m Just Like You”- song co-written by a Congolese refugee about his desire to belong and build a safe life just like the rest of us. · “Everyone Can Love Someone”- a song sung at every TRC practice and event that states, “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, we all need love.” While not yet confirmed, we may invite a partner organization, Neema Youth Choir of Spokane, to join us for this session. These youth from central African countries are joyful and inspiring and can be part of demonstrating how quickly the spirit of welcoming can be developed as we reach out and cultivate these relationships.
The Tacoma Refugee Choir is a non-auditioned choir of refugees, immigrants, and friends who seek belonging and are committed to creating a more equitable and welcoming community. In its first five years, the Tacoma Refugee Choir led by Erin Guinup has welcomed over 600 members from over 50 countries, and performed for over 25,000 people at community, educational and government events, including WE Day, the National Race & Pedagogy Conference, and U.S. Citizenship ceremonies. The choir received standing ovations at TEDxSeattle and has been featured on PBS and network television with stories and music videos of original songs created with members. Additional programs include the social justice-oriented Teen Sings program, a refugee-centered podcast, community singing events, and group music therapy classes. Over 70 million people are displaced by wars, famine, and natural disasters; TRC extends love, hope and belonging to those who find themselves in our community.
Erin Guinup is the founding Executive and Artistic Director of the Tacoma Refugee Choir. She has spoken at TEDxSeattle, Starbucks, Amazon, and national conferences for NATS, ACDA, and Chorus America and contributed to three books. As a composer, her choral and solo works have been featured on PBS and network television and she performed her one-woman show about female composers internationally. Other career highlights include directing the world premiere of Orson Scott Card and Mark Mitchell’s He is There; performing as Mary Poppins; conducting Rob Gardner’s Lamb of God; and singing with Israeli-Palestinian choir Common Ground Voices in Jerusalem and Europe.