What in the world were they thinking?

Victoria Lipscomb and Kim Schultz did one of the scariest things during the pandemic—sing! But that wasn't even the scariest part—with the backdrop of both George Floyd and Ahmad Aubrey as headline news, they brought together 40 singers for a diverse adult chorale group which checked all the boxes: race, sexual identity, age (21-70 years old), socioeconomic status, relational status (single, married, divorced), blue and white-collar workers.

What in the world were they thinking? 

Unity. Unity Project, that is. 

Lipscomb and Schultz's 7-year friendship, 3 years of which they've worked together, is the anchor of Unity Project, a vocal music group founded in 2020 in Colorado Springs with the mission to reimagine choral arts in order to inspire human acceptance and love by discovering and dissolving subconscious biases through music and action.

And that meant diving into the ever political and socially difficult conversations about race.  

This isn't for anyone.

Just before COVID, the first meeting started with 40 singers reviewing guidelines for the group and engaging with the elephant in the room: race. Lipscomb and Schultz discovered after that meeting: "This isn't for anyone." From the very beginning, the members were faced with some difficult discussions on race. It challenged many people's theories and their spoken and unspoken biases around the subject. Race was no longer "theoretical"—it was ever-present—front and center, to the left and right of each person. There was no hiding for anyone. 

Needless to say, not everyone returned for the second meeting, and then COVID hit. Which left them asking ... 

How will we ever be a unit?

Surprise, Surprise! COVID became the catalyst that brought the splintered group closer, and Zoom was the cause for greater diversity within the group.

Zoom was the level playing field: They were all rehearsing online; no one was gathering in person anymore. Online rehearsals created the space for members who normally could not make the in-person rehearsals (due to varying work schedules), to engage in recorded rehearsals at a later time so they could be included. It also allowed an invitation for out-of-state people to participate.

As for the conversation on race ...

Surprisingly, online connections allowed members to "jump right into the conversation and have the space to self-regulate in their own safe place at home." 

Suffice to say, not a lot of singing occurred during that time. But now that the COVID fog is slowly lifting, they are getting back to singing with an ever so strong base built on trust and understanding among the 25 member adult chorale.

Music is a "superpower that transcends race, ethnicity, gender. There's something very spiritual. You can't be enemies with people you're singing with (at least not while you're singing)," said Lipscomb.  

Both fearless leaders are looking forward to bringing the group back together for in-person rehearsal soon. Schultz comments, "In the same room, we breathe together, hearts sync up, bodies are instruments. Music brings the opportunity to give each person a seat at the table. We all have a voice." 

Is this for you? 

Unity Project is holding auditions on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, from 6-9 p.m

Let us know in the comments what music you'd like to hear from this chorale.