It’s hard not to love people when you sing together!
The Tacoma Refugee Choir is a diverse, non-auditioned choral ensemble dedicated to using music’s exceptional power to build a more welcoming community, foster unity, and spark meaningful action and dialogue. We seek to support and befriend former refugees that now call our city home and to use our voice to advocate for greater compassion. Further, we aim to empower choir members and others in our community to use their voice to make a difference.
Rehearsals are on Tuesdays from 7-8:30 p.m.
at the Lighthouse Activity Center
at 5016 A Street, Tacoma, WA 98408.
More about the choir:
- Everyone is welcome! We especially encourage participation by refugees, immigrants, people of color, and anyone who has been estranged, persecuted, or harmed by various forms of injustice. Our goal is to create an ensemble that is reflective of the beautiful diversity of our community.
- There are no fees to join the choir. While the typical community choir has dues that average up to $300 per year, we have been able to make the choir completely free due to generous donors and sponsors and extensive volunteerism.
- There are no auditions to join and we maintain an open door policy for all (up to our maximum capacity). Simply show up to rehearsal. Once you come to a rehearsal, you are part of our musical family and are always welcome.
- Musical training is not required. We believe that everyone can sing and that we become better by simply doing it. We teach most of our songs by rote and emphasize singing without judgment. Singers are encouraged to be part of the creation process and are given tools to better themselves as musical humans.
- We value growth over perfection and believe that if we have the courage to raise our voice in song that we have the courage to raise our voice to make a difference. The choir is so much more than a musical group. We use music as a tool to develop leadership and strengthen community.
- Our songs reflect the interests and backgrounds of members of the choir. Members will often share their songs during rehearsals and many of our songs were suggested by or written by members of the choir. Currently many of our songs are high energy and in the style of American pop music and our concerts are more typical of a pop concert than a typical choir concert.
- We always invite audiences to sing and move along with us. If you can speak you can sing and if you can move you can groove. It is our hope that listeners will be inspired to use their voice to make a difference.
The magic of this group is the love and supportive relationships built during our Tuesday night rehearsals. At rehearsal, new members are received with warmth and friendships are deepened as we sing, laugh and care for one another through the music. We know that no matter what kind of day we have had, we will leave after ninety minutes of singing and laughter with a smile on our face and a renewed energy and hope to get through whatever challenges lie ahead.
With the constant onslaught of attacks in the media, we can feel powerless to do anything and many people are hurting. However, all is not hopeless! We believe that we can turn this dissonance into harmony as we come together. Music may not save the world but music changes people and people change the world.
Comments from our members:
“It is a place where I feel accepted and loved.”
“I’ve been in the US for four months and never felt welcomed until tonight.”
“This was our best day in America!” (said after a rehearsal)
“If I miss it, I’m not OK. It’s a home. I feel like I have people there who care, who know what’s going on.”
“It means a lot to me and I love it! Especially when you come here, you don’t have a friend, you don’t have anybody, and it’s hard. But when you go to the Refugee Choir, people there are welcoming you, you feel different. You feel loved.”
“I did not expect to become so sucked into the choir, and certainly was not intending to add another commitment into my semester. So, if anyone else has interest in learning about this choir in the future, maybe consider warning them that they will love it a bit too much.”
“The Choir has changed my life and helped me see new possibilities for myself. I had never sung before but now I love it. Singing has helped me decide to do more to make a difference. I recently started a ministry in the area to serve other immigrants like myself.”
“I was dead tired tonight and barely dragged myself here and I feel invigorated because there’s so much love and affection and joy and celebration and you get to know people you’ve never met before.”
“I appreciate the moral support and assistance I got from the choir when I was looking for a job. I told people: ‘I will make you all proud. You shall witness that!’ I’m now employed, attending college and working towards mygoal of becoming a pilot.”
“Having the connection with the choir, it was like a place for love, it’s like a home for love, where love is being expressed unconditionally. You come here, and you go home having a smile on your face.”
“It has been such a blessing to me.”
“I love the choir. There’s good people in here. Everyone has a good time.”
“It’s a beautiful place. I love the energy. I love the diversity. I love the togetherness. I love the love and fun. Every Tuesday night when I come here, I leave with a very high energy. It makes me feel happy. It makes me feel at home. I love it!”