Submitted by Louisa Castner and Victor Zupanc

The Healing and Hope through Song community residency has officially begun! During the last two weeks of June, we spent time with the Giving Voice Choruses in Minneapolis and St. Paul. This has marked the beginning of our yearlong residency with GVC. Chorus co-founders Marge Ostroushko and Mary Lenard have organized both focus-group and one-on-one sessions with the singers. So far, our experiences have been profoundly moving and successful. We’ve laughed and cried with each other.

As we explain the evolving nature of our collaboration, we invite choir members to reflect on some theme words we’ve selected. These discussions are sparking rich, insightful discussions about connection, friendship, music, health and healing, loss and change, and hope. We are absorbing so much: stories, words of wisdom, jokes, and much truthtelling. And the power of music to transform is palpable. As one Minneapolis chorus member shared with us at MacPhail, “There is something transcendent that happens in this room each Wednesday.” Indeed, there is.

We look forward to keeping you updated this season with more stories, photos and videos of the collaboration. At our first meeting with the chorus we introduced ourselves and shared some spontaneous music, which you can see by clicking the video link below. To learn more about this program, the artists, and ACF, visit

Louisa Castner introduces herself to Giving Voice Chorus, Minneapolis
Poet Louisa Castner & Composer Victor Zupanc take questions from members of Giving Voice Chorus, Minneapolis