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Inner Peace: Why we sing for peace (Part I)

The Rogue Valley Peace Choir members invite you to free concerts next Friday, May 20, or Sunday, May 22. Below several members share the reasons they sing for peace. For me, peace is stronger than war because it heals rather than destroys. Come, listen and enjoy the sound peace.

— Sally McKirgan 

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Singing

My throat — a clarinet of lumpy keys

My lips — a flute of changing pitch

My chest — a chamber, the hollow of a guitar

My breath — the feelings from inside

— Miriam Sundheim

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How can I express the joy I feel for being a member of the Rogue Valley Peace Choir? It's amazing to sing with a group of 80 people, all connected as one, and singing for Peace. We sing for equality and social justice; for the environment; for world and community peace and to comfort each other when someone is ill or has passed on. I sing because it gives me a great sense of Peace within myself.

If I have a tough day, or week, I practice the songs that give me hope and strength and radiate Peace within me. It brings me back to what is important in my life and I am grateful to have the opportunity to share that joy and hope and Peace with others. I love the Rogue Valley Peace Choir!

— Bethany King

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I have sung most of my life from growing up in a family that played and loved music, to school choirs and now, with the choir, one of the greatest joys of my life. Thank you to Dave Marston and all who have followed his legacy. What a gift to be able to do what we love, with people we love, all based on a mission to share peace with others!

There is a large volume of social and scientific studies that demonstrates the physical and psychological benefits of singing in harmony with others. Those of us who sing in harmony know this feeling. I like to think I help the choir but the truth is I benefit far more from this group of caring people, than what I provide. It keeps me happy, healthy and whole.

— Ginger G.

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Singing in the Peace Choir lifts me up each week. It helps me feel a kinship to past, present, and future with folks working in so many ways and for such good causes to make our world a better place. Today's intense technology and negatively slanted popular media don't share much of the inspirational and positive news that is happening each day. But it is happening, and we are singing about it!

— NRY

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I really experience the choir as a community with shared values. It has been a sustaining force in my life. Even though we sing secular songs, I feel as if I’m singing from my soul. Whenever I’ve been down, practice makes me feel better. Singing at MLK Day, on AIDS day and at schools, we have a wonderful opportunity to show our connection as we support all people.

— David T.

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I have discovered that singing in a community choir is an exquisite exercise in cooperation. After many months of practice under our skilled and patient director, our disparate voices are melded into beautiful music — a miracle! I cannot sing well alone; my voice is thin and weak. However, choir gives me the confidence and joy to sing out. It is like resonating with the universe and others.

— Marilyn Bolstad

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First, I like the attitude: non-competitive, but serious for producing the best music while involving everyone who is interested in the music and the quest for peace and sustainability. Secondly, I like the gentle rehearsal guidance our director makes toward our goal of sharing our vision and music with audiences.

—Margery Winter

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I joined the Rogue Valley Peace Choir in 2004 and found a passion for singing on behalf of the choir’s lofty mission. The choir quickly felt like home and its members my family. Through all the changes, these connections have sustained me.

— Charlie McChesney

This year’s theme, “We Are One” from a song written by Pat Humphries of Emma’s Revolution and arranged by the late Dave Marston, says it all. The free concerts start at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 20, at Congregational Church of Christ, 1801 E. Jackson St., Medford; and at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main Street, Ashland. For more, to to www.roguevalleypeacechoir.org.