You never know when a leisurely scroll through Instagram will provide a burst of inspiration.
That’s what happened to Isabel Alvarado when she stumbled across a live performance by the New York-based Resistance Revival Chorus.
“It gave me chills through my whole body, and I said I want to do that,” says Alvarado, a Colorado Springs kindergarten teacher. “I want to start a community like that where I live.”
More than 60 female protest singers are the backbone of the New York chorus, which was founded after the Women’s March in 2017. They now come together to sing protest songs as a tribute to the historical importance of music in the protest movement. They’ve backed up singer-songwriter Kesha during a Grammy performance and sung Spanish lullabies to detained migrant children in New York, among other endeavors.
Alvarado hopes to highlight female voices in social and protest movements.
“Women are doing a lot of the work and organizing and are often not given any credit or recognition or honoring for what they do,” she says. “The space is for women to uplift women and be in community together and to find joy together. A powerful part of resisting is to be in community and joy together.”
Chorus founders intended for groups to be replicated around the country and offer an online tool kit for those looking to start their own chapters. Alvarado started the Springs chapter in February, but then COVID-19 hit and she left it alone for awhile. She recently started to put plans in motion again with Zoom meetings. Those interested can find more information by going online and searching @COSResistanceRevivalChorus on Facebook or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In light of a lot of powerful protests happening around the Black Lives Matter movement, this seems like a good time to get people together,” she says.
The New York choir performs revivals of original protest songs from civil rights movements. Some go back to slave songs and songs that were part of slave abolition, while others come from movements in the ’60s. Some of the songs are original to the chorus, written in response to the current political climate.
Alvarado hopes to get the local group singing online and discussing how to take their music out into the world, perhaps to local protests and demonstrations, much like the original chorus is doing.
The group is open to all women and inclusive to gender nonconforming, gender nonbinary and trans women. Alvarado, a lifelong singer who pursues her hobby for pure pleasure, hopes singers have some vocal capacity and can perform in tune.
“The primary purpose is to create community here. We can sing to share space and have a supportive community,” she says.
“After that, hopefully we can perform at protests and marches and City Council meetings that we want to show solidarity with and support with music.”
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