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May you grow up to be righteous







One of the women I work with at the jail is in the choir there. I got permission to go in for the performance. The jail choir group is called the Majestics, and they've been mentored by a senior-citizen choir called Young at Heart, all of whom were wearing T-shirts that said "We put the 'zen' in 'senior citizen.'" Young at Heart performed as the opening act, so to speak, and they were delightful and good, singing things like the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back" and Bananarama's "Venus" and totally carrying it off.

Then the Majestics took the stage. There were six women, and they covered a great age range (three in their twenties, two in their thirties-forties, and one who was even older than me) and ethnically diverse (two Black, one Hispanic, three White). They sang well-known songs with lots of different flavors (hip-hop, pop, blues, soul), and all the choir members were featured at least once--even the older woman, who I thought would remain relegated to the background, but she came forward and did "Drift Away," and it was a huge success. The entire thing was a huge success; the audience was **so** supportive. They sang along with all the songs, even the fast rap portions of the rap songs, and clapped out the beat, and gave standing ovations.

At the end the programs director called for an encore, and there hadn't been a song laid by for that, but the Young At Heart choir sang "Forever Young," (Bob Dylan lyric; the Jay-Z song is good too though) with various choir members singing solos, and each time someone sang a solo, he or she linked arms with one of the members of the Majestics and brought them forward, and I could see tears in my student's eyes and I had tears in mine, because--as the chaplain who was present pointed out--that song is a benediction, and it was so great to hear those words of blessing and hope and expectation directed at the audience in the jail:

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay
Forever young


ETA: I didn't realize until dudeshoes commented that the choir is the same one that had a documentary made about them in 2007. Also, at the group's website you can see a video about their work at a different jail. (We are a nation filled with jails...)





Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
dudeshoes
Jan. 25th, 2017 11:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, how wonderful! I loved the movie about Young at Heart and often think of it. Now to learn they are branching out like this -- how amazing! Thank you.
asakiyume
Jan. 26th, 2017 12:25 am (UTC)
OMG I didn't put two and two together! That's them! WOW.... MInd = Blown!

Can I just fall to the ground a moment and say that the world is full of heroes?

The world is full of heroes.
The world is full of heroes.
amaebi
Jan. 26th, 2017 12:11 am (UTC)
I wish I could have been there.
asakiyume
Jan. 26th, 2017 12:26 am (UTC)
I wish you could have been too. It was entirely wonderful.
heliopausa
Jan. 26th, 2017 12:37 am (UTC)
This is so beautiful - thank you.
asakiyume
Jan. 26th, 2017 12:43 am (UTC)
You're welcome. It's been terrible, politically, yesterday and today, so it was great to get a moment of light.
yamamanama
Jan. 26th, 2017 02:01 am (UTC)
I pictured the Alphaville song instead.
asakiyume
Jan. 26th, 2017 02:42 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that's a good one too. I'm going to get all three and have a three-song playlist.
sartorias
Jan. 26th, 2017 02:40 am (UTC)
Oh, that sounds like such a lovely experience!
asakiyume
Jan. 26th, 2017 02:42 pm (UTC)
It was. Music is so redemptive, so healing, so joyful, so freeing.
athenais
Jan. 26th, 2017 04:54 am (UTC)
What an amazing experience. I am so pleased to read about this.
asakiyume
Jan. 26th, 2017 02:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you for visiting! (((hugs)))
deborahjross
Jan. 26th, 2017 10:28 am (UTC)
This is just wonderful!

A member of our Quaker meeting had, for many years, a leading to sing at prisons (I believe, Soledad and Salinas Valley, possibly others). Her music doesn't include words, only her beautiful, soaring voice. Yet how much more powerful is the music the inmates themselves create.
asakiyume
Jan. 26th, 2017 02:47 pm (UTC)
The *sharing* was so powerful. It went in so many directions: the Young at Heart group sharing with the Majestics (teaching them) and sharing with the inmate audience, the Majestics sharing with their fellow inmates (and with Young at Heart), the inmates sharing their enthusiasm with Young at Heart and with the inmate performers, and *me*, I felt shared-with, too--and my presence meant something to my student. Afterward she said, "I looked for you, and when I saw you, I was like, 'She's here!'"
danceswithwaves
Jan. 26th, 2017 06:09 pm (UTC)

That's so wonderful!

browngirl
Jan. 27th, 2017 07:04 am (UTC)
Oh, my heart!
asakiyume
Jan. 30th, 2017 12:17 am (UTC)
Right??
xjenavivex
Jan. 28th, 2017 01:53 pm (UTC)

Cool!

asakiyume
Jan. 30th, 2017 12:18 am (UTC)
It was lovely to be there.
davesmusictank
Jan. 29th, 2017 03:20 pm (UTC)
That is a beautiful poem.
asakiyume
Jan. 30th, 2017 12:17 am (UTC)
Isn't it nice? It's by Bob Dylan.
davesmusictank
Jan. 30th, 2017 12:39 pm (UTC)
And he deserves to win that lit. prize.
asakiyume
Jan. 30th, 2017 12:48 pm (UTC)
I really loved his acceptance letter--it was thoughtful and humble. (I wanted to put a quote from it here, but there's no one small quote that's better than another, and the whole letter is very short, so I'll link to the whole thing here.)
mnfaure
Jan. 30th, 2017 07:56 pm (UTC)
this gave me happy tears, as Sprout and I say.
asakiyume
Feb. 2nd, 2017 05:19 am (UTC)
It gave me them, too :-)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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