Friday, June 29, 2012

Let the Tour Begin

Almost ready to hop a plane to Cuba.  Sunday morning at "dark o'thirty" I'll be boarding a bus with 110 other women and 1 man (my dear musician friend Randy-what a saint) to head to the airport.  People keep asking me if I'm excited, and honestly I'm not.  I'm still in getting things together mode.  Maybe the excitement will come on Sunday morning-if I wake up on time.

Alto I
Alto I's

Thought you might be interested in a bit of info on this trip.  Voices from the Heart a chorus from Portsmouth NH has a membership of 200 women.  They sing songs "from the heart" and anyone is welcome-no auditions, no age or ability restrictions and almost all the music is learned by rote (meaning aurally rather than looking at written score).  They sing music from around the world: Balkan, South African, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, as well as traditional American music such as gospel, spirituals, folk music.  Sometimes I play West African djembe along with a few other drummers to accompany songs, but mainly they sing a capella.

Leader of Song
Leader of Song

"Voices" is the brain child or perhaps baby of Joanne.  How she manages to keep 200 women focused and do it with love and care and bring out that love and caring in her's sort of miraculous.
Although no religious affiliation, it is like a ministry of music and kindness.


In Bucovak Perusic

Five years ago Voices traveled to Croatia; before departure raising $140,000 to have a mine field cleared.  Today this small village is essentially mine free.  The fields are used to plant and harvest potatoes, for food and income.  While there the chorus was able to visit the village and meet a few people including this woman and her elderly mother.

Restrictions between the US and Cuban govts have not allowed the chorus an opportunity to do something of this magnitude in Cuba.  However, 200 women are resourceful....

Supplies for Cuba
Supplies for Cuba

Chorus members and friends purchased small everyday items for family, children, musicians, etc.  Soap, desitin, band-aids, M + Ms, baseball, small toys, chalk, paper, shirts, etc, etc. are packed in gallon size plastic bags which will be distributed as "gifts" for our hosts, and shared where need is found.  Each member is carrying 1 or 2 bags within their own suitcase-of course these bags are for "personal use".


Back of the Hall
Back of the Hall

Soprano II BW
Soprano II's BW

So, everybody grab your name tag (and a spare one....) and board the bus.  It's going to be a journey of memories, of flexibility, of heat, of heart, of music, of the unexpected, and certainly of life changing moments...and hopefully with a photographer that can capture just a piece of all that it is.

Name tags for All



Tamar SB said...

Have a wonderful and safe time!

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

I got goosebumps reading this, an opportunity of a lifetime, have a blast with this amazing group!

gina said...

How exciting, Susan! This sounds like a wonderful group of woman and you are going to have a fabulous adventure! Feliz viaje, amiga!

Linda said...

This is such an amazing opportunity for you, Susan! I know you will do an awesome job with the photography. Be safe!

Kay L. Davies said...

These women sound delightful. I'm sure you'll have a grand time with them.
Vaya con Dios!

Carol Blackburn said...

Hey Susan, what a wonderful post. So glad you could tell us more about your group. Good thoughts and prayers coming your way for safe travels and good times.

Anika said...

Wow, sounds so wonderful! What a great opportunity! Have a lovely time... Looking forward to seeing photos!

Ms. Becky said...

be safe, be well, be light my friend.

Leanne said...

sounds like a fabulous project. What a great ministry of music.
I hope that your part in it goes well.

Brenda said...

What a fantastic group. They sing, they help others, they encourage and support one another. What's not to love? I so look forward to watching the trip unfold through your images.

Rose said...

Oh my, how wonderfully exciting!! I'm assuming you're going to be the appointed photographer? Couldn't be a better one; I'm looking forward to your captures!

My hubby and I have been thinking about going to Cuba for some time.

Do you sing in the choir too?

Have a wonderful and safe journey!!

Becky said...

We're so lucky to have you!!

Cathy H. said...

What wonderful group and a wonderful cause! Love how you captured them!

Francisca said...

Ah, the countdown in hours now. I can't imagine what it takes to organize a trip of 100+1. Or to photograph them! Hope you have a system figured out for making sure each gets a shot or two of themselves) Have a terrific time, Susan!

smiles, Sharon said...

Absolutely amazing. What empathetic, kind, big hearted women you all are.