For the 10th year in a row, the Ark-Valley Freedom Choir will “Let Freedom Sing” starting at 1:30 p.m. July Fourth in Riverside Park.
Linda Taylor, organizer and director of the choir, said this year the choir has 35 members, and in past years it has had up to 54.
“This year the group is smaller but no less powerful,” Taylor said.
She said the group is energized and committed to putting on a patriotic performance, although she said this year patriotism will be represented a little differently.
“In the past we’ve done some rah-rah patriotic songs,” Taylor said, “This year, I wanted to challenge people to think ahead and think about the roots of Independence Day.”
She said for this performance, she selected songs she thought would accurately represent the pillars on which America was built, while asking concertgoers to really think about what Independence Day means to them.
One of the songs, “Our Beautiful Country Sings,” is a song about freedom and envisioning a better life, and about the people who have dreamed and risked their lives to get to a better life in America.
“It seems like sometimes we lose track of what July Fourth is. It’s a time to celebrate freedom and the liberty and justice all of us have living in such a beautiful country,” Taylor said.
“July Fourth goes so much deeper than we usually remember. I wanted to challenge people to think a little further as they celebrate this year. What kind of world will we leave for our children? What do we want to stand for?” Taylor said.
She said that with the divisiveness she perceives in this country in the current political climate, she would be remiss for not singing songs to bring people together.
That’s what the Freedom Choir is all about – bringing people together.
“The idea is to bring people together. It’s fun, and it’s not about perfection. It’s about dressing up in red, white and blue and singing songs to bring the community and its visitors together,” she said.
Other songs include Ray Charles’ “50 Nifty United States,” gospel selection “Woke Up This Morning With Freedom on My Mind,” “Just One Planet” and “Give Us Hope.”
Accompanying the choir will be locals Oso Blanco on drums, Judy Bullen on piano and Kate Chiras on electric bass.
For more information or to join next year’s Ark-Valley Freedom Choir, call Taylor at 719-539-2428.