Peace Chorale Concert

Santa Cruz Peace Chorale Shows Up

You might have heard them harmonizing on stage in March at a fundraiser for the Jane Addams Peace Camp. Last fall they showed up to support striking grocery workers on the picket line in front of Nob Hill Foods, and in 2011 at the Santa Cruz Occupy encampment. Each year they sponsor films in the Reel Work labor film festival.

They are the Santa Cruz Peace Chorale, a group of activists singing for peace and social justice who gather weekly to rehearse under the direction of local folk singer Aileen Vance.

Long-time member Norah Miller recalls that the choir was formed to protest the rush to war after September 11, 2001. Founding directors began inviting individuals and families to join what was originally called the Santa Cruz Family Peace Chorale in 2002. Initially, rehearsals were held at the Quaker Meeting House. Later, they took place in members’ homes and even in a nursing home. “The residents loved that,” says founding member Joan Culbertson.

In the fall of 2003, Aileen Vance was hired as the director with “overwhelming support,” according to Culbertson, after members auditioned several potential directors. Vance, a professional musician and singer/songwriter for over thirty years, has lived in Santa Cruz since 1976. She has toured internationally, directed several choirs, and taught in local school music programs. Her songs have been recorded and performed by Pete Seeger, Pat Humphries, Eileen McGann, and others.

According to Vance, “The Peace Chorale is dedicated to the premise that anyone, regardless of education or ability, is welcome to sing; therefore no auditions. This creates a cooperative community where everyone is invited to . . . work together to achieve harmony.”

And how do they sound? Vance says, “The result is a hard-won quality of excellence wrought of real human effort and cooperation.” Members say, “I never thought we could do that. But we did!” New members are invited to join at open enrollment (no auditions) during the month of September

The upcoming annual concert May 18th will celebrate songs ranging from labor anthems to hymns, from classic folk songs to traditional South African four-part harmony, with lots of opportunities for the audience to sing along.

WHO:  The Santa Cruz Peace Chorale

WHAT:  “Unison in Harmony:  Celebrating Sustained Activism Around the World” – Concert & Silent Auction

WHEN:  Saturday, May 18, 2013, 7:30 pm – silent auction begins at 7:00 pm

WHERE:  Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 2402 Cabrillo College Drive, Soquel, CA

TICKETS:  Available at the door:  $15.  No one turned away.

MORE INFO:  831-345-8862;

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s