Last week, instead of a typical adult getaway for our anniversary, Beth and I attended the National Conference of Braver Angels. From the Mission Statement:
Americans on opposite sides of the political spectrum don’t only disagree on issues — they increasingly dislike one another. This growing partisan animosity is the crisis of our time and threatens our nation. Braver Angels exists to address this challenge.Braver Angels Mission
For many who have followed this show over the last 4 and a half years, you might notice that this mission is also the mission of the Choralosophy Podcast. I believe that we in Music Education suffer from this affliction as well as the broader society. In many ways, because of the politically homogenous nature of the Education and Performing Arts communities, we have it WORSE than society at large. We are badly in need of a dose of our own Civic Renewal. To this end, I am proud to say that the Choralosophy Podcast is now a part of the Braver Network of organizations and media outlets willing to stand up for the value of bringing everyone to the table to find common ground. As listeners, YOU can join for FREE as part the Choralosophy community.
I see a VERY obvious role for music ensembles to play in this project. The metaphors should be obvious. How many of our choirs, bands, and orchestras bring together people with a true diversity of world views? How intentional are we about creating an environment where ALL of our singers and players are able to bring their WHOLE selves to class or to rehearsal. Ensemble music is one of the biggest sources of opportunity for large numbers of people to gather IN PERSON to unite on a common project. This project of music requires that they set aside their political projects to focus on what they can accomplish TOGETHER.
The Challenge We Face (From Braver Angels Website)
As we separate into groups that increasingly do not even know, or interact with, people of differing opinions, we lose trust in our institutions, eroding the ability to govern ourselves and lowering the caliber of citizenship. This growing trend coarsens public debate, produces policy gridlock, shrinks our capacity for goodwill, and harms our family and personal relationships. Effective self government depends precisely on what this type of polarization destroys. We believe the American Experiment can survive and thrive for every American who contributes to the effort. Where we go from here is up to us. This is the driving force that fuels our mission.