Welcome to the second installment of Justice Choir Grand Rapids member spotlights. Today, meet Jake Herrera! He joined Justice Choir GR as a tenor in April 2018. By day, Jake is a commercial client trainer for Fifth Third Bank. He’s also a member of the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys.
Read on to learn more about Jake, including why he joined the Justice Choir and what he has found most meaningful about the experience.
How did you find out about Justice Choir GR? Why did you join?
I learned about the choir through friends in the community. At first, I wanted to join to support the group, community, and friends who also sang in the choir.
What has been the most meaningful moment of your experience with the choir?
My first concert with the group was the Pride Celebration concert in June 2018. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I wanted to be active in some way; it was great to be able to help kick off Pride Month in Grand Rapids with such a wonderful concert in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Pride Center. The whole experience was great with a slam poet [Rachel Gleason], Human Rights Campaign videos, a Pride Center presentation, the Women’s Chorus of Grand Rapids, and the Justice Choir all working together to promote diversity in our community in such a meaningful way.
My personal moment was during a dress rehearsal before the concert. We partnered with the Women’s Chorus to sing Abbie Betinis’ “Love is Love,” which is dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, as part of the concert. The dress rehearsal was the first time the two choirs sang together, and this simple cannon piece and the layering of the voices was just beautiful. My partner and I are getting married this year on 5/4/19, and because of this experience, “Love is Love” will be the processional for our wedding. We’re elated to have not just a beautiful piece for this moment, but one linked to such an event.
What’s your favorite song in the Justice Choir Songbook?
Besides “Love is Love?” There are so many great pieces that are accessible to all regardless of your talent. As I continue to sing with JCGR or attend performances, I learn and hear more pieces. I haven’t been through them all yet, but I look forward to learning more.
Anything else you'd like people to know about the choir?
This group is such a gem of people from all levels of talent, backgrounds, and all with a purpose to stand up and sing out. If that isn’t your thing, then come join as a sponsor, advocate, or presenter. The best thing we can do is share our story, message, time, and love.
Thanks for contributing, Jake! We’re so glad we get to stand up and sing out with you!
And thanks for reading, friends! Stay tuned for future blog posts featuring the choir and community members who add their voices to Justice Choir GR.