Hey, folks! HALO has been up to some things and it’s been a while since we’ve shared stories, so if you wanna hear ’em, here they go-
Back in February, HALO sang on the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweeps contest at The Birchmere! It was a fun day and a fun crowd. A little birdie maaay have told us that we were quite close to being voted the audience favorite! (And admittedly being not the best at promoting our upcoming events, we would say that’s not too shabby!)
The next day, we had the distinct honor and pleasure of singing for the Loudoun County Jack and Jill of America Black History Program. We learned about the wonderful women who do such fantastic work for the children in Loudoun County and were so moved to hear young children share with the audience the history of Barbershop and its roots in African American musical traditions as a welcome to us. These s
weet babies (aged 9 to about 15) learned of groups like Golden Gate Quartet, the Mills Brothers, and Fairfield Four as a part of their history. We were so moved to know that if they didn’t before, they would now grow up knowing that Barbershop has always been a part of them. We sang spirituals and jazz favorites for them, and as is the way of our folk, the babies came up on stage and danced with us to “Deed I Do!”
In March, we sang on a concert with SongRise DC in honor of National Women’s Day. It was an uplifting and inspiring evening of women’s groups making music together in the spirit of community and independence. We made some neat connections and look forward to more collaboration with SongRise DC!
RACE and #REALTALK
We have now completed six sessions of our extended Race and #RealTalk program. We’ve been working on some difficult music and working our way through some difficult conversations. As leaders, we’ve even found it surprisingly challenging at times to grapple with our own stories navigating racism throughout our lives– yet we still find the process rich and meaningful, realizing more and more how so many of all of us need experiences like these. We are building relationships, challenging one another as that trust builds, and allowing the trust and challenge to be the foundation of a community we are committed to see grow.
We had the fortune and pleasure to coach with distinguished directors Michael Gellert (Harbor City Chorus in Baltimore) and David and Sandi Wright (Ambassadors of Harmony and Prospective St. Louis Vocal Project). They are helping us get our chops together, whipping us into shape so we can do our best and qualify at our home base, Area 3 on May 4!
Finally, we had the pleasure of sharing our Race and #RealTalk story and vision with Bella Nova Chorus, directed and led by Richard and Christina Lewellen. We got to let folks know what we’re about and we felt welcome and moved by the group’s support for our work in the community. Afterward, Jasmine had to roll out to hop into a performance across town and Portia and I got to sit back and enjoy the ride while Niambi was on the Bella grind, getting ready for Area. We are so excited and can’t wait to be with our Harmony sisters of Area 3!
Shana and Portia Niambi with Bella Nova
(photo courtesy of Shana’s 4yo)
That’s all for now folks… but of course, not for long! #StayTuned #HALOgrind