At Catholic Worker Maryhouse

A time traveler from the Woodstock generation would have felt at home in Maryhouse, where the walls are festooned with pictures of Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day, as well as posters that say, “We are the shepherds. We watch sheep,” and “Close Guantanamo,” and “Fight the technological oppression.” There was also a replica of a missile and bombs, which Rene couldn’t resist mounting to pose for a picture, and current copies of the Catholic Worker with the newsstand price printed in the upper right corner: One Penny.

According to Wikipedia, Catholic Workers is “a nonviolent pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf.” We saw proof of that last night, in this house in the East Village that provides soup-kitchen lunches four times a week—they would do it more often if they had the funds—as well as clothes and facilities for showering. Enter POHC, with our message of spreading peace and harmony in the world through music. It was a case of one nurturing organization nurturing another nurturing organization.

The small auditorium was full, mostly with people from the Woodstock generation, but there were also a significant number of younger people along with a few children. Our standard opening, “Siyahamba,” had the children in the back dancing their dolls on the table in time to the music. Next came Barry’s introduction of POHC and his tribute to the mission of the Catholic Workers. They were especially touched at his mention of their founder, Dorothy Day, and her autobiography, The Long Loneliness. We followed “Oseh Shalom” with our premier of “Oy Es Dia De Placir.” Then Rene asked whether they wanted to hear “Imagine.” A collective YES! We have sung this song to many audiences, but never to one where it was so native. It was a thrilling to have them singing along with us.

After a few more songs and singalongs, we divided into three groups for “Rock-a My Soul.” Rene divided the audience into groups, too, and we came down off the stage to intermingle with them. The posters on the walls rang with our joint rendition. Then we stayed wherever we were in the audience, in no particular order of sections, to sing “Let There Be Peace On Earth.” It was a very intimate feeling. That was supposed to be our final number, but after chants of Encore! Encore!, we did a reprise of “Let the Sun Shine In.”

Afterward, we accepted their invitation to come downstairs to the soup kitchen, where we were treated to delicious snacks and hors d’oeuvres straight from the oven. It was a wonderful ending to an evening of mutual appreciation of two caring organizations.

- Peace of Heart Choir Singer

It has become a tradition for a member of POHC to do a post-concert write-up. It started when our Sign-up Coordinator began emailing her summaries to the other members in order to entice newer members to sign-up to sing at community concerts held early in the season. It didn’t take long for Concert Write-ups to become greatly anticipated amongst our members, so we share them here in hopes that you’ll join us at a future concert.