Arts & Entertainment

April 8, 2005

Volume 33,
Issue 14

Sat, Feb 27, 2016


'Be the peace you want to see in the world.’
Many Voices, One Song concert creates a mosaic of music and humanity
by Rev. Debra Jarvis

Many Voices, One Song -

A Benefit for Multifaith Works

Thursday, April 21

7:00 p.m.

Seattle First Baptist Church -

1111 Harvard Ave., First Hill

Tickets $15 adv./$20 door

(kinds under 10 free)

Ticketline: (206) 324-1520

I get to put on glimmering body lotion and someone does my hair. I wear more make-up in one night than I do in a month of days. I walk around in fabulous three-inch heels. I go braless.

Chaplain by day, emcee diva by night. And I get to do it only one night a year at the “Many Voices, One Song” concert. This year it’s on Thursday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m. “Many Voices, One Song” is an annual benefit concert for Multifaith Works. There are so many reasons I love this concert: the aforementioned diva experience, the fantastic music, the free cookies and chocolates at intermission, and the drawing for the handmade quilt. And then there’s my secret crush on Kevin Gallagher, the sign language interpreter. (Well, maybe it’s not that secret.)

But the real reason I love this concert is that we are all putting our money where our mouths are. We are being the diverse, compassionate, inclusive community that we all say we want.

This concert seems like what Ghandi was talking about when he said, “Be the peace you want to see in the world.” The audience, the performers, the volunteers and clients of Multifaith Works come together as a community of differing sexual orientations, religions, and cultures.

This concert happens only once a year, but Multifaith Works builds a community of compassion and diversity on a daily basis. Their volunteers in their Shanti and Careteam programs come from many spiritual and cultural backgrounds. So in the Care Team program they might have Buddhists working with Muslims and Protestants with a team leader who is Catholic or Wiccan. Spiritual beliefs don’t divide them, but bring them together.

The Careteams provide practical and emotional support for isolated people living with AIDS or other life-threatening illnesses; the Shanti program does one-on-one emotional support for the same kind of clients, but also does it in our jails and prisons. It’s a win-win situation because both the volunteers and the clients learn about one another and come to understand and love one another. Through all its programs, Multifaith Works promotes understanding and acceptance of human diversity.

This year the performers at Many Voices are as diverse as ever. The Seattle Kokon Taiko drummers will literally make your chest hum. Maya Soleil Traditions’ Afro-world fusion music and dance will make you want to quit ballet. The Epic Klezmer group with cantor Wendy Marcus is achingly beautiful and joyous. You’ll get a chance to see first ever gay youth choir, Diverse Harmony. The First AME Trinity Choir will get you moving so much you can cancel your morning aerobics class. And what can be said about Captain Smartypants that hasn’t been said by psychiatrists the world over? They’re outrageous and sexy. They’re unbelievably talented and creative. They’re crazy.

This is the tenth anniversary of “Many Voices, On Song.” It has grown from an audience of 200 to a community wide event that may reach 950 this year.

Multifaith Works has been around longer than the concert. It was founded in 1988 by my friend the Rev. Gwen Beighle. Outraged by the church’s lack of support for people with AIDS, she felt called to provide housing and support for them. She did not lack either courage or compassion. She was the one, who when I resisted ordination, conspiratorially whispered to me, “But we need women like you on the inside!”

Gwen believed in this quote by German theologian Dorothea Soelle, “God has no other hands than ours. If the sick are to be healed, it is our hands that will heal them. If the lonely and the frightened are to be comforted, it is our embrace, not God’s, that will comfort them.”

Hands are made for healing and praying, and they’re also made for clapping, touching, applying mascara and buying concert tickets. You can get your $15 tickets to this fabulous concert by calling (206) 324-1520, or you can buy for $20 at the door. Children under 10 are free.

Every ticket is entered into a drawing for a handmade quilt and a hair makeover at Mode Salon, the masters who will do my hair for the concert. More than that, every ticket helps build the community of compassion, acceptance and non-judgment that is Multifaith Works. See you there, darling!

By day the Rev. Debra Jarvis is a general oncology chaplain at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Leslie Robinson

Madelyn Arnold