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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

amaebi
Jan. 25th, 2017 09:11 pm (UTC)
I wish I could have been there.
asakiyume
Jan. 25th, 2017 09:26 pm (UTC)
I wish you could have been too. It was entirely wonderful.

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