Whatever happens this weekend in Charlottesville, some people are determined to make the best of it. A group of more than 400 music lovers will gather at IX Park at 4 p.m. Sunday for the C’ville Sing Out!
The rehearsals have begun for people who feel this city got a bad name when white supremacists invaded last year. Elly Tucker and the Reverend Alvin Edwards helped organize a performance of three songs – John Legend’s Glory, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and We Are the World, along with an original composition called Charlottesville.
“They want to show the world that Charlottesville is not what was portrayed in the news last year,” says Tucker.
“This is the real Charlottesville,” Edwards adds. “The white supremacists, they sent the wrong message. Our message is about love and coming together as people.”
They had hoped for maybe a hundred volunteers, but it now looks like the crowd will swell to more than 400, with a choir called The One Voice coming from Richmond and a couple of children’s choirs joining in.
“And we have gotten e-mails and letters and phone calls from people as far away Colorado and New Hampshire and Vermont who would like also to run parallel programs using the same music that we’re using," Tucker says.
The full group will rehearse at 2:30. That doesn’t leave much time, but she’s not worried.
“The nice thing about having a group of people singing music is if they sing a little bit off key, it’s jazz.”
And if it rains, she adds, the show will go on at the Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church nearby.
The group's conductor, Jonathan Spivey, raises his arms and guides the group to a harmonious close on Glory.
“Okay," he says, "my hands will be up high. You will see them. And I promise to wear deodorant.”