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Check out our New Music Video “Alone Together” featuring TRC Students!

 
Alone Together By TRC Teen Sings and VMEA students
 

As students are graduating and beginning summer break after an incredibly difficult year, we want to take a moment to honor youth who have overcome much adversity in their young lives and lead by example as they find ways to adapt and carry on.  The Teen Sings program began last fall during the pandemic with Tacoma School choir students who were missing the opportunity to sing together in school.  We then added Puyallup, Federal Way and Sumner-Bonney Lake choir students in January 2021 as we transitioned to an afterschool program. The singalong format that Tacoma Refugee Choir often uses allowed us to more easily transition to singing together over Zoom. Despite the challenges, we were grateful to welcome students in grade 6-12 to create community through music during these months of isolation and to get to know these amazing teenagers.

Teen Sings was honored to partner with the Valley Region Choral Project in creating “Alone Together.”  Lyrics for this song were created with Valley Region music students and Teen Sings participants and the song was written by TRC’s Erin Guinup. Over 200 submissions by students were compiled to create this touching virtual choir video. We hope you are as inspired by these youth as we have been.

Hear about the impact of TRC Teen Sings directly from an 8th grade participant:

  “I love Teen Sings because I feel safe and loved in our meeting. I have a family here too and people I can turn to if I’m in need of support. I can’t thank you enough for all the help y’all gave me, especially during this tragedy. To be honest, when I heard of Teen Sings, I thought it was boring because it was just singing. But when I joined the first meeting, I felt a weight off my chest because I was going through something during that time and seeing you guys smile, interact with me, and care for me was just a miracle. I been wanting to work on myself, especially with my mental health and now I am the person who I wanted and needed to be. Thanks to you guys because in every meeting, y’all had opened arms with your bright smiles that gave me warmth. I was in the dark and y’all brought me out to the light. The most important reason I love Teen Sings is because I felt accepted here and I was a whole new positive bright person because of the inspiration you showed me.”

If you feel inspired from this impact please consider making a donation to Tacoma Refugee Choir to support more programs like this in the future.

Refugee Choir Project
P.O Box 2321
TACOMA, WA 98401


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Introducing our new music video for a TRC original song “Scent of Memories,” made in partnership with KBTC and Tacoma Arts Live.

Featuring Madeleine Tran, Tina Huynh, and Anand Landon. 

 

Scent of Memories is based on the Việt Hương Garden and the power of our senses to preserve the precious memories of home. “Việt Hương” means “scent of Vietnam,” because when you walk into the garden, an aroma rises when the sun hits the freshly watered plants that reminds the gardeners of Vietnam. We all know how directly scent is tied to memory; Việt Hương Community Garden is a place where gardeners remember where they came from, keep their culture alive, and create new memories with these plants for generations to come.

Refugee Choir Project
P.O Box 2321
TACOMA, WA 98401


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Introducing the final video in our “Share Culture Not COVID” series, Ufimata/Put It On…

by Tacoma Refugee Choir featuring Esera

 

Share Culture, Not COVID

This fall, Tacoma Refugee Choir has been working on a project in partnership with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to create culturally-grounded public health messaging. We commissioned three original songs to be written and recorded and then created music videos with members of the Latinx, Pacific Islander, and African immigrant communities. These songs express important messages in a hopeful and upbeat way and we are proud of how each song speaks to the culture and specific concerns of these three communities.

You can check out the three videos here:
We Will Overcome/Sizonqoba by Providence Kamana
La Salud Colectiva by Trío Guadalevín feat. Daniel Jesus French
Put It On/Ufimata by Tacoma Refugee Choir feat. Esera

These songs have led to powerful conversations in our community about health inequity and how we can keep our loved ones safe and healthy during this pandemic. In addition to creating the three videos, TRC distributed over 400 masks, held several special community events online plus our weekly gathering, and trained community members on how to use Zoom to engage in and host their own gatherings. This project has strengthened relationships and helped us understand better the needs and concerns of these communities.

According to TPCHD, COVID-19 harms some communities more than others. This is particularly true for the three communities that we chose to work with because of our existing relationships (the infection rate among the Pacific Islander community is currently three times higher than the white, non-Hispanic rate in Pierce County- a few months ago the rate was 4.8x higher). While Pacific Islanders and Latinx generally do not identify as refugees, they have been ardent supporters and are valued friends in our community. There are intersections in the issues faced by refugees, immigrants, and people of color in our community and we are committed to standing by our friends. Inequity and harm that affects one community affects us all.

While the pandemic requires us to physically distance from one another, we need each other more than ever. We hope you will find a way to reach out using your own unique gifts and help someone feel a little less alone this winter.

 

Refugee Choir Project
P.O Box 2321
TACOMA, WA 98401

 


Music video, “We Will Overcome” by the Tacoma Refugee Choir. Written by Providence Kamana from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “We Will Overcome (Tutashinda)” features five languages and draws on themes of hope and perseverance in the face of this ongoing public health crisis.

 


Music, “Love Letter,” by the Tacoma Refugee Choir

 


 

Music video, “Image of Your Face,” by Susan Vesna

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