Music and the Obama campaign have occupied me entirely for weeks.
There’s been chant and sacred music in synagogue for the spate of services for holidays that fill the Jewish calendar at this time of year (Selichot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah to come), and choral rehearsals for an imminent series of performances Berlioz’ dramatic symphony, Romeo et Julette (1839). And there have been long hours in the campaign phone bank, recruiting legal professionals and others to volunteer as poll monitors on election day, and hours and hours of data entry alongside friends and family to generate the lists for other phone bank and canvassing efforts.
Sometimes the rush of the schedule eclipses the basics. What a special surprise to be reminded why I fill each day this way when I recently crossed paths virtually with an old friend, one with whom I share both musical and political commitments. Jim Papoulis, a friend from high school (so long ago), is a musician and composer in NYC working in and recording a wide variety of musical idioms in his studio at Amphion Music. With his late wife, Stephanie Martini, Jim established the Foundation for Small Voices, through which his music has contributed to the empowerment of children internationally. Jim and musical colleagues big and small have produced an anthem in support of Barack Obama that captures the importance of political participation even – and especially – for children, whose young voices communicate powerfully their need for the change the Obama campaign represents.
Jim’s work includes numerous inspirational songs for children, gospel-infused anthems like Stand Together and When I Close My Eyes, dance-inspired works like Oye, and complex pieces like Panta Rhei (“all things are in flux”), based on the philosphy of Heraclitus (also a favorite of mine) (listen here to the performance by the Young People’s Chorus of New York on PBS’s From the Top ). Visit Jim’s Listening Booth to hear these and more, and consider making contribution to the Foundation for Small Voices, to continue the peacebuilding work of its founder Stephanie Martini.
Thanks Jim (and Caryl, Claire and Demitri), for sharing your special vision of the change we can believe in.