News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters community raises its voice in song

The Belfry was full of laughter, good feelings, and singing last Friday night as about 200 community members gathered for “Let’s Sing, Sisters!”

The free event featured the Low Bar Chorale band from Portland and their dynamic director, Ben Landsverk, who fully engaged the assembled crowd in renditions of pop hits like “Hey Jude,” “Shadow,” and “Maggie May.”

The crowd contained every age and stage, from school-aged kids and their parents, to the whole range of middle-agers, to plenty of “experienced citizens” using their phones as flashlights to see the print on the song sheets.

Board member of Citizens4Community, Chris Laing, had experienced the Chorale twice before and was responsible for encouraging C4C and several other organizations to bring them to Sisters for an evening of song and community-building. Sponsoring groups included the Ford Family Foundation, Roundhouse Foundation, St. Charles Health System, and Sisters Folk Festival, along with Citizens4Community, The Belfry, Age Friendly Sisters Country, and Sisters Park and Recreation District.

Everyone appeared to be arriving with the intent of having a good time and, indeed, a good time was had by all, as evidenced by the tapping feet, swaying bodies, smiles, and harmonic voices belting out each song.

“There’s nothing more fun than singing, and especially with a group of people,” said local chiropractor Bonnie Malone. “And singing is good for your health.”

Marean Jordan of Sisters concurred, “I’m here because I love to sing, and I love the community spirit when people raise their voices to sing together.”

Landsverk told The Nugget that their trip to Sisters was one of the furthest places they had traveled. Besides the six band members, all of whom are professional musicians who play with well-known groups, and director Landsverk, technical director Kate Sokoloff and her husband made the trip, as well as some of the Portland regulars.

Sokoloff shared that most of their group planned a weekend in Central Oregon around their Friday-night gig in Sisters. She indicated they would like to travel to more and more locales outside of Portland because, “It’s our stealth mission to build community by sharing music.”

She went on to explain that given the current political climate, she wants to bring people together face-to-face to join in singing and building community.

One woman seemed to concur: “How can you go wrong singing in community?”

A couple from Tumalo, who were right up in front of the stage, said they came “because we love the Sisters community.” Husband Robert Curzon admitted he “sings all the time” and had sung with a variety of performance choirs in Eugene before moving to Central Oregon.

“I love to sing, and I’m on the Folk Festival board,” explained Terry Buckholz about her reason for being there.

Sisters resident Kay Grady summed up what so many people said: “I love to sing. I don’t think I’m particularly good at it. It’s my medicine. It lifts me up.”

Laing reported the community had such a good time at the free event that, “It was appreciated enough that we recovered over $500 in donations.” She went on to say, “The band had a great time and would love to come back again someday. All told, C4C feels we accomplished our goals to create an all-inclusive, welcoming event that further connected Sisters Country.”


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