Hampshire Life Spotlight: House Music helps with homes; empowering youth through the arts

Published: 2/14/2020 10:29:12 AM
Modified: 2/14/2020 10:29:00 AM

House Music helps with homes

One of the benefits of living in an arts community with a social conscience is the chance to be entertained while doing good. In an annual concert titled “House Music,” The Smith College a cappella groups give us that opportunity. The Saturday, Feb. 15, show, happening from 7 to 9 p.m. at Helen Hills Hills Chapel, 123 Elm St., Northampton, will benefit Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals.

The show is co-sponsored by the Smith Center for Religious and Spiritual Life and Friends of the Hampshire County Homeless Individuals and features entertainment by many area a cappella groups, including the Amherst High Hurricane Singers; Longmeadow High Swedish Fish; Chill Harmonics; Mount Holyoke Nice Shoes; Umass S#Arp Attitude, and Smith College Groove, Vibes, Noteables, Smiffenpoofs, Blackappella and Smithereens. Although there is not a set price, a free-will donation will be accepted at the door.

Friends of Hampshire County Homeless says that people are welcome whether or not they donate, but ask that folks be as generous as possible, to help the Smith singers and their allies raise support for people experiencing homelessness, calling the concert “social activism at its most melodious.”

A cappella and musical groups from around the Pioneer Valley plan for a night of harmony, healing and hope. Proceeds from the concert go to providing housing for the homeless youth of Hampshire County. Everyone deserves a safe place to call home, and the Smith College a cappella groups are honored to work with each other for such a wonderful cause. House Music is an opportunity to come together, from the wider Smith community and the greater Pioneer Valley community, to celebrate music and demonstrate the impact that unity and song can provide.

Empowering youth through the arts

“Stand Tall Mi Gente!” is a call for people to stand up and express themselves by youth group First Generation, and will be performed Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14 and 15, at 7:30 at School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, 25 Main St., Northampton. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

This is an uplifting performance about the importance of youth voices and the power of speaking out, created by the Holyoke-based ensemble, First Generation, to address social justice concerns through the lens of their own life experiences. Stand Tall! incorporates monologues, movement, storytelling, dance and poetry and touches upon identity, family struggle, hyper-masculinity, homophobia and most importantly believing in one’s own voice.

First Generation is an intergenerational community, which recently moved from Springfield to Holyoke. Using the arts, they create opportunities for young people to learn about cultural activism and claim a public voice in their communities. Members spend time in artistic training, community building, social justice dialogues, inter-generational mentoring and leadership development. Members may be the first in their family to grow up in the U.S., speak English, graduate high school, go to college, be incarcerated, be an activist, be drug-free, be openly LGBTQ+, be a feminist, break a silence or any other first.

First Generation members form an ensemble and create original multi-lingual performances that highlight local and global issues inspired by their life experiences and conversations.

– Brenda Nelson

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