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Aug 22

Singing on the Street

Occupella — www.occupella.org — was founded by six women who are veterans of the folk song movement.  Here I am on the left holding a sign; seated with the guitar is Hali Hammer, one of Occupella’s founders, and the organizer and producer of this year’s international Earth Day sing-out (see separate posts).  Occupella sings on street corners, in front of banks, and (in the wet season) in BART stations.  Most of its repertoire consists of familiar tunes with updated topical words.  There’s no rehearsals, and the chorus consists of whoever shows up at the moment.  Occupella organizers bring song books, like the one I’m holding, so that anyone can join in on the spot.  Occasionally, Occupella founders perform in staged settings, for senior groups, folk song festivals, or events, but the most fun for me is singing on the street and in BART stations.  Some BART stations have great acoustics, like singing in the shower.  The musical quality of Occupella performances may not be up to the standards of classical choruses, but the fun quotient is unbeatable.  I always feel energized after a performance.  I also enjoy groups that bring high musical standards to renditions of the protest music of 30 or 80 years ago, but I know that if the writers of most of that music were alive and here today, they’d be singing on the streets with groups like Occupella. The calendar of Occupella performances is on the website, occupella.org.  If you get a chance and are nearby, come out and have fun with us.
Singing with Occupella

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