The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Fiery Hope: An evolution of the Amandla Chorus


WHAT: Fiery Hope: An evolution of the Amandla Chorus
WHERE: Forbes Library 20 West Street. Northampton MA.
WHEN: November 13th 7:00pm - 8:15pm

Forbes Library's Music and Social Justice series finishes with a performance by Fiery Hope, an Evolution of the Amandla Chorus. Founder and director Eveline MacDougall will also present selected readings from her newly-published book, Fiery Hope: building community with the Amandla Chorus, that inform the songs in the program. The performance is free and all ages are welcome.

Fiery Hope recounts how people acquainted through anti-apartheid work gathered one wintry day in Wendell, Massachusetts to share the joyful power of South African freedom songs. The first informal session in 1988 led to regular rehearsals, and when the singers accepted an invitation to perform publicly, they needed a name for their burgeoning chorus. A South African member suggested “Amandla,” a Zulu word for power.

Astounded in 2019 by xenophobia and growing cultural divides, chorus members felt inspired to relinquish the name Amandla and become Fiery Hope, signaling unquenchable commitment to human rights and honoring the planet we call home.

At age twenty-three, Eveline MacDougall began a lifelong journey as chorus founder and director, drawing on musical knowledge and traditions from her large and energetic family on both sides of the US-Canada border. For over three decades, hundreds of chorus members of all ages have brought songs of human rights, justice, and peace to venues large and small.

Their work led to collaborations with influential leaders including César Chávez, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pete Seeger, Wally and Juanita Nelson, and Malala Yousafzai. They’ve also made profound connections with schoolchildren, prisoners, elders, terminally ill people, and community members facing homelessness.

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