Is it possible that we, the American people, are not as partisan as perceived? Is it possible that the political labels we use are inflammatory and designed to play on our fears, when on examining original meanings and comparing them, we are all on the same spiral that is life? Is it possible that there is no need to be scared of people who think and act differently than you do because, if we look carefully, we all have basic shared beliefs?
Clear Rivers Chorus/Women of the Watershed is rehearsing a song that addresses these questions and the fears that create divisions between well-meaning people. “The Spiral Song,” composed by songwriter and international performer, Elise Witt, invites us to look at the ways our lives not only come full circle, but expand into the future as we learn from each other and our different perspectives.
The song examines the root of the labels “conservative” and “liberal” through its lyrics. For example: “Some people get so scared at the sound of ‘conservative.’ Conservative means save” and applies to the saving of traditions and customs, as well as saving “waters, skies and trees and birds.” Also, “Some people get so scared at the sound of ‘liberal.’ Liberal means free.”
Freedoms, the song expresses, include baring our souls, liberating our love for our fellow humans, and trusting the sacred message placed in us. These things don’t seem so scary when you look at the root of their meanings. All people, whether they identify themselves as “conservative” or “liberal,” have attributes of each. There is a little bit of us in them, and them in us.
Even potentially inflammatory words like “revolution” and “radical” have something positive to offer. “What threat is in that hand?” the song asks, when a revolution is just life turning around. “Radical” derives from the Latin word for “root.” The song entreats us, “Let’s get back down to the root of the matter!”
The song concludes in each verse, “If you want to move on, sing a spiral song!” The essence of the phrase and of the song is, if you want America to effectively move forward, recognize the parts that are similar at the root and come together in non-partisan collaborations.
Witt takes a more global view.
“‘The Spiral Song’ invites us to leave our well-worn paths, and to keep moving onward and upward, exploring new territories. My hope is that the song invites us to remain open to new ideas and new people who might seem foreign or strange, but who might open us to new worlds, new insights and new understanding,” she said. “It is a song of hope and of possibility.”
Clear Rivers Chorus is a local volunteer chorus that began in January 2003 with a mission to make music with a purpose, reflecting many different cultures and traditions.
“We believe that singing together can strengthen our sense of community and help us find ways to express timeless values that have an impact on issues of our day,” said Carol Boyd, director of the chorus.
Members of CRC are from many different faiths; the group however, is spiritually nondenominational, as well as politically non-partisan. CRC welcomes women of all experience levels and backgrounds to participate. It meets on one Saturday morning and one weekday evening each month at St. Andrew United Methodist Church.
Clear Rivers Chorus emphasizes the experience of participation in singing together more than the polished performance, but enjoys the challenge of an occasional “gig” to share meaningful songs with family and community. They usually get their audiences to sing along, too!
In the spring, they often sing for a local Earth Day gathering. In winter they sponsor “Ring Out the Old Year on a High Note,” an alternative New Year’s Eve celebration for families that includes clay bowl-making for the next February’s Empty Bowls project, and a casual meal of soup and bread. They have also helped raise money for local, state, national, and international organizations: the Carrollton Soup Kitchen, Keep Carroll Beautiful, Georgia Riverkeepers, Georgia Water Coalition, the Tembwe Youth Club Library in Malawi Africa, and other good causes.
Giving at least three performances a year, the group’s next performance is at the League of Women Voters of Carrollton and Carroll County’s “Meet the League” Open House on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at The Burson Center, 500 Old Bremen Rd., Carrollton. The community is invited to this informational event. Tracey-Ann Nelson, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Georgia will speak on the relationship between local, state and national League work.
In addition to the “Spiral Song,” Clear Rivers Chorus will also be singing “Liyashizwa,” an African women’s anti-apartheid protest song celebrating the heroes and volunteers who brought freedom for all in South Africa. The title means “It is burned,” referring to the restrictive pass documents used by the state. CRC’s third selection is a medley of “Trees of the Field,” words from Isaiah 55:12, and “Trees Grow Tall.”
For more information about the League of Women Voters of Carrollton and Carroll County, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or just come “Meet the League” on Sept. 14.
Read more: Times-Georgian