The Everett Chorale is asking for donations to benefit Cocoon House and the Hungry Hearts Foundation at its “Will Sing For Food” concert on Sunday. (Chase Dermott)

The Everett Chorale is asking for donations to benefit Cocoon House and the Hungry Hearts Foundation at its “Will Sing For Food” concert on Sunday. (Chase Dermott)

The Everett Chorale ‘Will Sing For Food’ at Sunday’s concert

The June 15 performance raises issues of homelessness and hunger in Snohomish County through song.

The concert’s title — “Will Sing For Food” — gives a hint of the topic, but not the depth with which it will be explored.

At its concert Sunday, The Everett Chorale plans a performance it hopes will not only bring attention to the issues of hunger and homelessness, but also provide ways for people to get — and give — help.

Among the songs they will perform is a rendition of James Taylor’s “Shed A Little Light,” with its message that “we are all bound together and all are in this together,” said Jennifer Rodgers, the chorale’s artistic director and conductor.

The concert will begin with “Woyaya,” a chant derived from central Africa traditions and transcribed by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey and the Rock.

Choir members will come on stage one by one. Singing will begin with a group of eight and build to all 80 voices.

The goal is to present a concert that is uplifting and hopeful, and inspires people to take action, Rodgers said.

After Rodgers was hired last year, she said she wanted the group to do more than entertain. She wanted it to have impact. The issue at the top of her list was homelessness because “it’s such an overwhelming presence in our community.”

Some 100 tickets at Sunday’s concert have been given to people living in shelters or dealing with hunger. Concert goers can make cash donations or bring food and clothing supplies to benefit Cocoon House, which serves homeless teens, and the Hungry Hearts Foundation, which provides food to Lake Stevens-area students.

“It’s really exciting,” said Erwin Saenz, community engagement officer at Cocoon House. “This is just a great way to raise awareness and make an impact.”

Chorale member aLee Watson teaches in the Lake Stevens School District and is a Hungry Hearts volunteer. The music Rodgers has chosen “is breathtaking, stunning,” she said.

One part of the concert has chorale members doing short improvisations of the things passersby often think when seeing the homeless on street corners.

Rodgers said people are faced with how to react: “Do we make eye contact? Do we say hello? Do we cross the street?”

Often people wonder why the homeless are in the situation they’re in. “We make these assumptions and don’t know anything about their situation,” she said.

The concert will include a mix of songs, some familiar, such as Paul Simon’s “The Sound of Silence” and “The Boxer.”

There also will be poetry readings, including one by Elizabeth Romero, a former board member of Seattle’s “Real Change” newspaper that advocates for the homeless.

Interspersed with the readings is music that is reflective, “Esto Les Digo,” spiritual, “Grace Before Sleep,” and a song by Pink Floyd, “On The Turning Away.”

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or emotionally numbed by the issue of homelessness because it may feel impossible to do something about, Rodgers said.

The hope is that audience members will leave the concert “with things that they really could do right now,” she said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

The Everett Chorale’s concert, “Will Sing For Food,” is scheduled for 3 p.m. June 16 at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave., Everett. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for students, seniors, members of the military and $12 for children under 12. Purchase tickets online at tinyurl.com/tosingtkx or by calling 425-257-8600.

More than just a concert

The program lists resources for anyone experiencing hunger and homeless, including a list of organizations offering free meals in Everett and the addresses of eight area shelters. There will be a Q&A on homelessness after the concert.

Concert goes may make donations of cash, food and supplies at the concert to benefit Cocoon House and the Hungry Hearts Foundation. Requested food and supply donations are:

Hungry Hearts: Cans of soup such as chicken noodle and beef and vegetables, cans of stew or chili, cans of ravioli or other pasta meals, 100 percent fruit juice pouches or individual servings of shelf-stable milk, hot chocolate and apple cider packets.

Cocoon House: Clothing such as sweatshirts and sweatpants, T-shirts, men’s jeans, women’s leggings, coats, shoes, blankets, sleeping bags, tents, backpacks. Hygiene items such as razors, men’s deodorant, ChapStick, hair brushes, body wash, mini tissue packs, body wipes and baby wipes, diapers and pull ups, infant formula.

Go to www.everettchorale.org for more information.

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