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Departments | Fall 2019
Photo: Ginger Lazarus

Letter From the Editor

Nancy Schimmel has spent a lifetime singing out in solidarity with the oppressed and downtrodden. She keeps the tradition of protest songs fresh and alive, in part with her group Occupella and their website chock full of downloadable lyrics available to occupiers and freedom fighters everywhere. Here’s the chorus of one song contributed by Nancy, featuring new lyrics set to the bluegrass hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves”:

Singing for us all, singing for us all
Singing through the dark times,
Singing for us all

You can feel this same commitment to lifting up her fellow humans in songs like “1492” and “Montana, Colorado, Nevada.” However, when Nancy sings for us all, she isn’t relieving us of our own responsibilities. No doubt when she accepts the Magic Penny Award at the 2019 CMN Conference, she will have us all singing with her as well. I’ll stop here and direct you to Sally Roger’s wonderful interview in this issue, where you can hear Nancy’s rich history of music, story, and activism in her own words.

CMN members have long recognized song as a tool of communal empowerment and connection. This issue features many ambassadors who “sing for us all” in the world. Please don’t miss “Planting Seeds of Love in South Sudan,” the inspiring story of cross-continental collaboration that brought Pam Donkin’s joyous song to the children of the Bidibidi refugee camp in Uganda, who continue to plant seeds of joy, hope, and peace in their own communities. Roman Orona, one of the artists who will welcome conference-goers to Scottdale, shares his thoughts on our collective responsibility to future generations, while our first-ever PIO! Scholar winner Sophia Bereaud takes up that challenge in her remarkable essay. And David Meyers breaks down his successful practice for empowering children with special needs to make their music heard. 

In Columns, Alina Celeste shows us how to use Facebook Groups to open connections and conversations. In Songs, we get fingerplays and movement, as well as a zesty splash of Southwestern culture. Speaking of which, as this issue goes to press, you still have time to join us September 20–22 for One Drum Many Songs / Un Tambor Muchas Canciones. Conference Co-Chairs Alice Burba and Katherine Dines have spiced up the usual schedule with some new twists and convened a slate of jaw-dropping awesomeness to lead workshops and song swaps. Check out the Conference Preview and register now!

Keep singing for us—and with us. Your voice matters.

Ginger Lazarus, Editor