Since 1992, Aurora Chorus has honored the strength and beauty of women’s lives through the fine art of choral singing. Aurora was founded on the belief that music can be a powerful instrument of peace—locally, globally, and in the hearts of all who sing and all who listen.

Aurora Chorus News


Kim Stafford on the Power of Words, Sung and Spoken
By Jeanne Krinsley

A spoken poem, a charm, a spell, a song can fill a room, fill a heart, crowd a mind with hope . . . we are stirred . . . we are moved. For the duration, we may dream the same dream.

Kim Stafford

This is what writer, teacher, filmmaker, and musician Kim Stafford told me during an interview about his extraordinary poem, “Friend: Download This Free Proclamation for Local Use.” During this concert you can look forward to hearing Stafford read from his work, as well as the chorus performing a musical setting of his poem, “Be It Therefore Resolved,” written by Artistic Director Joan Szymko.

Stafford’s poem is a testament to the healing power of poetry and song, although he told me that songs and poems come to him in quite different ways and have different effects:

Poems come to me every day. Now and then a song comes. It feels different, seems to be singing already. I remember walking late at night, in the rain, and hearing a song, in the voice of a homeless person, ringing in my mind. Rhyme is part of it. But the text for a song feels like it’s in a different language, our deepest, most native language. As a diva said once, we start life by singing—the child’s long wail is an aria. Some people stop singing as they grow, but fortunately others do not.

But a successful poem, Stafford added, is “a song in disguise. It may ring true even when spoken.” Still, he feels that a poem’s words set to music “[raise] the power of words exponentially.”

On the website of Lewis and Clark College’s Northwest Writing Institute, which Stafford directs, he states, “If communication is the fundamental alternative to violence and injustice, what is the work of each voice among us?” This is a question that each of us must answer for ourselves, a question that may take us a lifetime to answer. But in Stafford’s poem, he states:

Whereas I am free—despite all
fire and anger and fear;
Be it therefore resolved a song
shall be my calling—a song
not yet made shall be vocation
and peaceful words the work
of my remaining days.

“Composing words,” Stafford told me,

is one way to make at least this one part of our experience safe, positive, humane. . . . As children, when threatened, we would chant that primitive charm, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The words like a magic spell felt like armor to me then. I grew up with the chorus “We shall overcome . . .” facing down guns and attack dogs. Since those days, I have felt my calling has been to put together words and songs, and to invite others to compose healing stories, as my own form of witness and testimony.

“To be a good citizen,” Stafford continued, “I would fill my days with kind words, and sing when I can, when the time is right.”

May we all, as Stafford has, find a calling that will lead us to write, sing, and work for peace.

Photo of Kim Stafford by Perrin Kerns

Support Aurora While Doing Your Regular Shopping

Fred Meyer Community RewardsYou can help Aurora Chorus earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!

Fred Meyer is donating $2.5 million per year to non-profits in the Northwest, based on where their customers tell them to give and we can get a piece of this donation pie. Here’s how the program works:

  • Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Aurora Chorus. You can search for Aurora Chorus by name or by our non-profit number 88060.
  • Every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Aurora Chorus earn a donation!
  • You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you have been.
  • If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Customer Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.

“Malala” now on YouTube

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