For our first choir member spotlight, meet Julianne Day!
Julianne is the Advancement & Communications Coordinator at The Fountain Hill Center for Counseling & Consultation. She joined the Grand Rapids Justice Choir in September 2017 and sings in the alto section. Julianne also serves as our Community Engagement Director. If you would like to learn more about partnering with the choir for events, performance sponsorships, and outreach opportunities, email Julianne at justicechoirGR@gmail.com.
Read on to learn more about Julianne, including why she joined the choir and what she has found most meaningful about the experience.
How did you learn about Justice Choir GR?
Shortly after I started at The Fountain Hill Center, I spent some time updating their contact list. This meant that over the course of a week, I visited a LOT of church websites, including Trinity United Methodist Church's. Their website included an intriguing link to a new project they were launching called "Justice Choir."
Forgetting all about my contact list for a moment, I clicked on that link, which led me to Claire Minnis's website (founder of Justice Choir GR), where I learned all the details. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Why did you join the choir?
I'd been looking for a choir to join for some time. I sang alto in an a cappella group in college, and I missed performing. Justice Choir seemed like a perfect way to get back on stage, lifting my voice not only in song, but in service to causes that matter.
(Fun fact: a few months before I stumbled upon Justice Choir, I Facebook-messaged the choir's now-director, Tara Cleveland, asking, "Tara! Do you know of any choral ensembles in town that either don't require an audition or wouldn't mind me being bad at sight-reading??" Turns out, there really aren't a lot of those ensembles around...)
What has been the most meaningful moment of your experience with Justice Choir GR?
One moment that stands out to me happened about 20 minutes before our very first concert in November 2017, the theme of which was interfaith cooperation and dialogue. Claire, our director at the time, gathered us all in a circle and asked us to think of a lyric or two from the pieces we would shortly be performing that was personally meaningful to us.
As people shared their lyrics—"I lift my voice," "We walk in love, united in purpose / we join our hands and lift up one voice," "human rights for human beings," "how good and pleasant it is / when we dwell together in unity," and many more—it dawned on me how powerful our message was. We were not just singing about important things like justice, love, speaking out, and showing up—we were doing it! We were demonstrating that a group of people with diverse viewpoints and life experiences can join together, activated by a common concern, and that out of that diversity and unity comes harmony.
What's your favorite song in the Justice Choir Songbook?
I'm a big fan of "This Is What Democracy Looks Like" by Elizabeth Alexander. Singing, clapping, AND shouting?? Sign me up!
Stay tuned for future blog posts featuring the choir and community members who add their voices to Justice Choir GR!