When you’ve lost everything, community is all you have left to rebuild with. TRC has become that community for many.
“I thought the choir was about singing, and it is, but it really is about so much more than that. It’s about people coming together and telling their stories, through song and through the relationships we build in the choir. From there, anything becomes possible”- a choir member
What started as a simple choir has become a deeply connected group of people committed to supporting one another and offering a beacon of hope to our community. The impact far extends beyond the concerts and videos that the public sees. Choir members have supported each other through births, weddings, and citizenship to evictions, house fires, deaths, and immigration challenges. We have grieved together as members have shared the impacts of racism or the atrocities of war and disaster and found hope as we bear those burdens together and somehow feel joy amidst sorrow. Another choir member said, “For the first time in my life, I’m not running. I feel safe and at peace. This changes everything for me and now I can do anything.”
Creating spaces for authentic expression, interconnection, and healing through song and music.
Uplifting the power of voices through the arts
We began as a pilot project in August 2016 in partnership with Tacoma Community House with a group of 22 refugees and community members. The program was well received and quickly grew to create a welcoming and affirmative learning experience for over 700 participants from 65 nations along with diverse members from the U.S.
Community building and education are central to our program as we emphasize the power of each individual to welcome and support others and use their voice to make a difference. Singing together offers the opportunity to literally find one’s voice and empowers participants to be leaders and recognize the value of all members of our community.
The program, which meets every Tuesday night and welcomes new visitors almost every time, is designed to quickly help people make friends, overcome barriers between people that might not otherwise interact in the community, and engage in a communal experience of music, food, and dance. The result is a fun, high-energy, and affirming weekly gathering that one member from the Democratic Republic of Congo called “my best day in America.”
"Tacoma Refugee Choir is a space for everyone, regardless of talent or ability. When we come together, our voices do much more than carry a tune: they lift each of us up."