THE AMASONG CHORUS: Singing Out

Talkback

This comment area is closed to new submissions. Visit ITVS.org to continue the conversation about this film.

Many people have asked how to purchase recordings by the Amasong Chorus. Please visit the Amasong Web site and click on "recordings" for more information:
http://www.prairienet.org/amasong/

7/1/10
Jan Kinney
Seattle, WA

Thank you for this beautiful, inspirational film. I'm currently writing my dissertation on spirituality in the context of women's choruses, and the film was one of the inspirations for that topic. When you say "church," (as in "That chorus is your church" from the film) what do you mean? What does that word evoke for you? I'm coming toward a definition, but I'm curious what others may think about that term.

1/8/07
Jerise Fogel
NY, NY

I was a member of Amasong from 1995 to 1997, and Kristina and this group of women changed my life. I came out as a lesbian at the age of 32 largely due to the tolerance, support and listening ears I found there (I should add, for the sake of some of those who have written in, that the bulk of that support came for me from heterosexual, married women in the group!); but I also was put back in touch with unabashed beauty by Amasong, and learned by listening and watching this amazing group of women to put beauty and politics back together again.

I've now watched Jay's documentary quite a few times, in different contexts, and I try to show it to groups of people when I can. Most recently, the Unitarians in Huntington, WV (another supposedly "conservative" place), watched it with me, and many were moved to tears.

I want to answer your question about music, art and how they can transcend politics: I don't think they should. One thing Amasong did for me was to show me how my political aspirations could be a kind of beauty. I never want to forget that again. When people forget that their politics are an expression of their humanity and their social and spiritual ideals, they begin to trivialize and denigrate and finally dismiss political action, that is, their own understanding of how their society should run. That means they give up on trying to create a better, more loving world. Politics can't be transcended. They're what we are.

Singing women's work songs, love songs, and even songs based in biblical texts that spoke about women, work, tribulations and love--the performance of these songs in public, no matter how apolitical-sounding the words might be in a vacuum, was a political statement of the strongest kind. While I sang with Amasong, I found courage to express my convictions, and a forum to practice that expression in, too.

So, groups like Amasong and brave and brilliant women like Kristina are needed to remind us that "what we are" can be beautiful. And t hat when it's not, we have to make it so.

6/28/06
Portland OR

I was uplifted and inspired by these women! Beautiful beautiful beautiful! Bright lights in a world of dimming! Thank you to all involved, That which spirit creates cannot be destroyed.

6/19/06

I happened on this documentary on my PBS station. I felt so uplifted and inspired after watching it; from both the music and the women. I intend to get the CD as well. Thank you so much!

7/18/05
Tracy Wildy
Washington, DC

Just by chance I caught the "Singing Out" documentary. I happened to be wearing a t-shirt that said "Voice - the only musical instrument made by God". Thank you Amasong for your beautiful music. Spirit & Blessings, Tracy

6/27/05
Penni
Long Beach, CA

I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch this wonderful documentary about Amasong. I can't remember the last time I saw something on television that touched me so deeply. The faces of all those women and their lovely voices will forever be etched in my mind. At first, it made me think of the movie, "Paradise Road," but as the film went along, I became totally immersed in this moving story of awesome women making beautiful music for the benefit of all peoples. Kudos to Kristina and all the women of Amasong, and bravo to PBS for bringing their inspiring story to us.

6/13/05
Dora Joe
Seattle WA

I am a single-mom raising a 7-year old child. I have long since given up prime time TV viewing, school nights you know.

But last night, I was *hooked* into watching the "Amasong Chorus-Singing Out" piece and was moved to tears towards the end of the show. The prayer song for Barbara was so simple, so beautiful, so moving.

WoW!! What beautiful sounds. Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world.

12/3/04
Pamela Crews
Champaign IL
I am a member of Amasong and have been off and on since about 1995. This group of women, though ever-changing, has remained such a part of my development as a human being that I cannot imagine who I would be had I not joined them.

Yes, it is comparable to a church and, yes, it is a group identified as lesbian first and feminist second. It confounds me that in 2004, well into the 21st century, people are still spouting the idea that homosexuality is "wrong" or un-Christian somehow. Some of the people whom I consider paragons of true Christian beliefs, people whose lives demonstrate what their personal values are, are women in this choir.

I do not believe in any way that God or whatever Supreme Power this universe holds cares who my sexual partner is when I'm singing. What matters is that I am using something that was bestowed upon me by this same force to perpetrate beauty in my community, and as far as its ripples can travel.

The simple fact that one respondant here is still bothered by the "lesbian/feminist" part of our choir's name, and that at a recently we were told that businesses in a relatively large community near us refused to publicize our performance there because of those same words, tells me that we still have a long way to go.

In the end, we are simply women who sing and enjoy sharing our musical gifts with those who will accept them. Part of the point of our name is that some of us are lesbians, some of us are feminists, and some of us are both. There is no way for you (or us) to know by listening to us sing. We are beautiful in our harmony, and that harmony comes from standing together.

11/5/04
Tom Rippe
NYC
Hi, after seeing the film last night on PBS in NYC I would like to tell all involved how moved I was by it. Thank you all for the hard work of becoming fully human, you are the leading edge. And thank you, especially, Kristina.

Sincerely,
Tom

11/5/04
Tom
New York City
To Adam Bonner,

As a fellow (heterosexual) musician, I was deeply inspired and moved by Kristina and Amasong.

Your earlier post troubles me. You mention the "practice" of homosexuality, as if it were medicine or stamp-collecting. I think it's safe to say that gay people (and I have known many of them well as family and friends) do not choose to "practice" being gay, any more than they choose their eye color. It is simply who they are. God only knows that in a world fraught with such disapproval as yours - expressed despite something so beautiful and uplifting as the music and positive experiences those women have brought to so many - no one in their right mind would CHOOSE to be gay and face the judgement and ridicule that society is capable of dishing out.

I hardly think the word "flaunting" is appropriate. Is the Harlem Boys' Choir guilty of publicly flaunting the fact that they are African American boys? You say it as if PBS wants to convert people to homosexuality. I hope no one in their right mind believes that!

You say "so many" Americans find homosexuality deplorable. How many is "so many"? And if there are so many people who share your view, why do posts like yours seem to be in the vast minority here?

Too upset to write more,
Tom
New York City

10/15/04
Pasadena, CA
I caught the tail end of this wonderful program while on call in the hospital. It was so incredibly vibrant with life and humanity. I have been hunting for the name of the group for months! What is the name of the song Amasong was singing during the documentary and which album is it in? Thank you for enriching my life with exposure to such beautiful music.

8/17/04
Mary
Sooke, BC, Canada
As the daughter of a choir director father and a singing teacher mother, I was swept away by the exquisite work that Kristina has done in and for her community.

The standard of the choir's performance plus the quality of the people involved answer your first question with a resounding YES! Belonging to a group is important. As it is so beautifully recorded in this thoughtful film, the value of well organized, focused and beneficial group activity enhances all who participate.

Thank you to all who made this film possible.

8/9/04
Kate Sheffield
Sequim, Wa.
It's been said by someone wiser, far, than I that woman (howsomever it may be spelt) will heal the ills of this beautiful planet. AMASONG, as portrayed so gracefully in this PBS production, exemplifies so clearly how womankind's subtle, compelling strength, nerve and diligence accomplishes miracles of change for good. To help women reclaim self, worth, autonomy, clarity, ambition --health-- brings profound healing everywhere into the longing world. Thank you for AMASONG, thank you for hope, thank you for beauty, thank you for inclusiveness, thank you for teaching. Thank you.

7/20/04
Vicki Plefka
Sacramento, CA
First, thank you PBS for continuing to provide us with intelligent,thought-provoking programming that covers all of America, not just what the corporate media would have us view.

Because it aired late on a Sunday evening, I nearly missed this wonderful program about Kristina Boerger and the Amasong Chorus. I found it to be, at once, beautiful, moving, and life-affirming. Amasong is testimony to the ideal that what bonds us together on this earth is not our gender, not our sexual orientation, not our political persuasion; but our soul's response to the strength and beauty of the human spirit.

7/12/04
Dana Boyle
Racine, WI
Will you broadcast this again? I only caught the last portion of it by accident, but it was inspiring. I was so proud of Kristina. She was my 8th grade choir teacher in Kenosha, WI. I'd love to see the entire documentary.

Way to go, Kristina!

7/1/04
Buzz Wilms
Topanga, California
I flipped on KCET before going to sleep and caught the last part of Amasong singing Bobby McFerrin's 23rd Psalm. I was transfixed. It was so utterly beautiful. I'm sorry it's so hard to get Amasong's CDs. For this it's hard to wait.

7/1/04
Susan Eckert
Milwaukee, WI
I just had to get on to my computer to try and hear a "snippet" of the Amasong Chorus as my mother just got off the phone and said she had seen this TERRIFIC program...and she is going to get the CD's ASAP. She especially liked the song "Cradle Me"..and was very touched by the support you gave one of the members of the choir whose partner is dying of leukemia, by that humming song...she said that this is music to meditate by. I listened to the oh-so-brief portion of the chorus and it sounded so full and glorious! Kudos!:)

7/1/04
Yvonne Jensen
Milwaukee, WI
I didn't see the whole program but I want you to know, I have never heard more beautiful music. I felt such peace while hearing it I didn't want the program to end.

I have never understood that a persons sexual life is a political topic. I believe that people who do should find better things to put there energy to.

If the Amasong Chorus ever comes to Milwaukee I will be the first in line for a ticket.

God bless,
Yvonne

6/28/04
Pam
Raleigh, NC
Simply beautiful!

I can't wait to get Amasong's CDs and listen to more.

I stayed up late last night to watch the documentary, primarily because it was about lesbians / feminists (and I am both). It was the socio/political aspect of the group that made me tune in; it was the group's gorgeous, awe-inspiring music that kept me watching way past my bedtime.

6/28/04
Ken & Carolyn Hayes
Gastonia NC
The artisty of the filmmaker, Jay Rosenstein, was evident througout this delightful film about the Amasong Chorale. We felt the film carried the depth of an honest portrayal of this group without pushing any agenda. It was simply a joyous film was about a special group of women coming together and sharing their emotional life through song. I'm sure that those watching were also touched by the obvious happiness that the Chorale members felt for their music and each other. The hour passed too quickly. My wife and I savored each emotion filled moment. Our congratulations to all the artists and the filmmaker for such a worthwhile program.

6/28/04
Lacey
Although I saw very little of this program, I was in captivated by the beautiful sounds coming from this group of women! And I have good news for those who have been asking about ordering their cd's. I went to their website and found a link (http://www.prairienet.org/amasong/recordings.html) that will take you to the titles and descriptions of their cd's. Also on that page is a link to mail ordering cd's. Good luck!

6/28/04
mashelle
dunn, NC
When one views the love and support between these women, it it awe inspiring. This is in addition to the music that touches one's soul. What a pity that the so called Christians of this world cannot understand or tolerate love when they see it. These wonderful women love, sing and meditate for each other out of what they feel in their hearts, not because of what a book or person tells them they should do. Amasong made me cry while watching the documentary, which is what a good chorale and documentary should do. Never be discouraged Kristina and members. All of you have positively touched many lives. I wish you all love, and peace.

6/25/04
kristina boerger
new york, new york
I am the director of the chorus featured in this film. I am full of gratitude for Jay Rosenstein, who made the film, and for ITVS and PBS for their roles in making it a public reality. I am deeply moved by the many and powerful responses that continue to come in. Many who have commented here have had questions or hoped to contact me directly. May I make my contact information available here? My e-mail address is <kboerger@barnard.edu> I will gladly answer any questions. Meanwhile: blessings to all subjects, creators, and viewers of this film about a beautiful time in my life and in the lives of the other women of AMASONG.

6/23/04
Mary Beth Tyson
Milwaukee WI
I just caught the end of your film on Amasong. Not only am I deeply moved by the music these women make and feel but I was thrilled to see that the director was someone with whom I once went to school. Kristina was two years ahead of me and a classmate to my sister at Rosary High School in Aurora IL. I was so proud to see a fellow alum so successful in her life choice and making such an impact in people's lives. She opened up her arms and voice to others who shared her ideals and love of music and married them. Wow! If you know how to contact her via email or snail mail, I would love to share with her my best wishes and strong support. If you don't pass that information on, maybe she'll read this - Mary Beth Farraday is in awe of her talent and success. May you continue to thrive in your purpose. I'll be sure to share this with my sister as well.

6/23/04
Dina
Peotone IL
Tonight while I was browsing the internet my mother put in a tape with old progrmas to watch and the Amasong documentary was on it. I almost instantly stopped what I was doing and was enthralled by it. I live near Champaign and in fact my brother lives there. I couldn't believe that such a wonderful, aweinspiring group actually existed so close to my home town.

I really want to congradulate all of the singers in Amasong for standing out in a community that they weren't sure would accpt them. As a young lady struggling with my own sexuality it gives me hope that there is a group out there that supports gays and their rights. I hope that some day I will be able to come watch a preformance.

Truely you are a wonderful group of people, and I can say that even with out having to know you. Your music speaks through your hearts before it resinates out of your mouths.

Last I would like to say good luck. Please stay strong in your beliefs and remember that if you reach one person everyday, then your day was more then worth waking up for.

6/23/04
Paul McDaniel
Baltimore, MD
I thought the film was wonderful. Thank you to all who made it possible. The music touched my soul. To hear something so powerfull and sweet and pure. It was incredible, my emotions flowed and I cried with joy to listen to the story of your lives. Thank you all for sharing and reaching out. Kristina you are an inspiration. It was a pleasure to watch your vision come to fruition. Thank you.

6/23/04
Nicole Kyle
Champaign, IL
I have been singing with AMASONG since 2002. I had walked away from singing 10 years ago, but was encouraged to join this wonderful group by a friend of mine. I was very unsure of myself and nearly didn't audition, I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID!!!!

The strength, support, friendship, and love of not only singing, but of life in general makes me look forward to each rehersal and performance. THANK YOU FOR BEING THE WONDERFUL WOMEN THAT YOU ARE!! Thank you Jay for making us known world wide! Thank you Kristina for starting this amazing group! Thank you PBS for airing our documentary! THANK YOU to those of you whom have discovered that mucic has no boundries, and have enjoyed our music and documentary!!!!

6/23/04
Edie Shealy
Carlisle,PA
My partner and I were intrigued by this program. We were just going to change the channel, however we could not bring ourselves to do it.

It was refreshing to see a positive, inspirational story about lesbians/feminists. I think it was important to define the choir because it displays they are not afraid of their identity. I was there once and it is not fun to constantly remember who you can talk to freely about the love of your life and the one that brings a smile to your face when you think of her.

Thank you Amasong and PBS. We hope one day there will be a concert closer to home for us, so that we can experience the emotions first hand.

6/22/04
Merle
Toronto/Ontario
What an uplifting programme! Congratulations to the inspirational Kristina and the dedicated women of the choir, to Independent Lens for producing this gem and to PBS for bringing it to Public Television. It is for unique documentaries of this quality that I support PBS.

I hope, as is the case with many of your documentaries that this film will be repeated a number of times.

6/21/04
Adam Bonner
Champaign, IL
I see that most of those responding to the film enjoyed it. I would like to respond to the film from the other side. I hope that you will publish this letter to the website as a way of supporting public discussion and showing tolerance for different perspectives.

The film endorsed a lifestyle that many people find offensive. In fact, Christians and other devoutly religious people find lesbianism (and homosexuality, generally) morally wrong. By no means do I hate those who practice such a lifestyle, but I do strongly disagree with the practice, especially when it is flaunted publicly.

I am saddened that public television is being used to normalize a behavior that so many Americans find deplorable.

6/21/04
Sue Riggs
Riverside, OH
Thank you for this beautiful presentation by beautiful women with voices like angels. I accidentally viewed the program during a sleepless night and was regaled by the sheer exquisitness of the music. This group is shaped by love for the music and one another.How grand to be so loved and to be able to share their music with others. I belong to a group of friends who share a love for reading. These friends include all levels of education,geographical and cultural differences,family histories and sexual orientation. We are so blessed by our friendship.Thank you for the affirmation and love you show.

6/21/04
Barbara Mathias
Richmond, BC
Last night, a "chorale group on TV" caught my roving attention; with only the past eighteen months of chorale singing experience myself with a 55 woman choir, I related to many of the moments - the initial trepidations, small successes and growing sense of community with the group of women. Their music was unaccompanied and beautiful; their mutual support and purpose worthy of emulation.

The "church" metaphor is apt; though I liken my experience to the "red hat society" - women of a certain age who gather to celebrate life, under the leadership of one woman.

Within one's group, we can develop our talent, share the experiences and the photos..., know when personal issues arise and offer support at those times. It is like family can be. Our three children swam competitively throughout their school years, giving them a sense of identity and a recognizable group during the turbulent second decade of growing away from their family to find their own course.

I think Kristina chose the best definition and that it was necessary to do so. We do wish to be recognized for what we do, but not be mislabeled. I prefer to know how a person "labels" themself, to enable me to choose my reactions and actions towards them.

Thanks for the compelling story of Amasong; it heightened awareness of the joys of chorale singing and participation for anyone who may have stayed to watch, as it echoed my own personal chorale journey.

Barbara/heterosexual/not feminist/singer!

6/21/04
Heather Wise
New York, NY
Thank you for an evening of pure inspiration!

6/21/04
Charlie & Gail d'Estries
Orchard Park, NY
Gail and I watched your special on The Amasong Chorus and loved to watch how people can love and create together. We were impressed, inspired and amazed at the incredible journey this group of women undertook and hope the spirit and music continue for a long, long time. Bravo... Charlie & Gail

6/21/04
West Bloomfield, Michigan
I am so overwhelmed with the sprirituality of your work. I am truly touched by your works.

Question and comment,
I hope the movement will reach here in lower S.E. Michigan. Are you aware of any pick up on your musical expression, style, and philosophy?

Can art transend politics?
Absolutely art and music are of the same womb, the embro of creation and expression together can go anywhere any time where retoric can not penitrate.

I am truly touched by the gift of Kristina and her coral, the perserverance to bring it into our world.

6/21/04
Darlow Maxwell
Albany, GA
The beauty of music transcends even the most differing of opinions. I caught the show by accident, but could not change the channel. The sound was incredible. I will be ordering a copy of Laulu Voim!

6/21/04
Ronnie
New York
"It's so rare that earth and heaven meet in confrontation like this!" (Sister Wendy)Thank you to Jay and Kristina and all those marvelous women for an extraordinary celebration of the best of the human hear and the depth of the human spirit.It was an inspiration and an honor to be in your presence. I am renewed and refreshed.

6/18/04
Nebraska
The music of the choir came close to home for me. I hope that this sparks a revival in appreciation for choral music. I have on and off over the last 15 years sung in semi-professional choirs that also distinguish themselves by their Lutheran identity. Identity is important. While I couldn't relate the lesbian/feminist aspect of the choir, I could personally relate to participating in something outside of oneself - being a part of a whole. Participating in a choir that works together toward making beautiful music is a spiritual experience in itself that cannot compare to any other spiritual experience.

6/18/04
Rosanne
Champaign, IL
Thank you Independent Lens and PBS for running AMASONG: A CHOIR SINGS OUT! and for this forum for viewers to express themselves.

Amasong is an amazing group of women. I've been signing for the choir for 5 years. Our music is accessible to everyone who wants to come. Kristina was visionary to realize the need for a total community to attend --- a sliding scale, sign interpreter, orator, mics, handicapped accessible. Amasong's subsequent directors have continued to blaze trails to draw out the best in our voices and push us to listen to each other --- not just in song, but in life. The women in Amasong truly are a community. I feel honored to be asked to participate in this continuing story!

Viewers, thank you for your responses! Knowing our story impacts so many is awe-inspiring. Amasong has been important in my life. Thank you for letting us share who we are!

6/17/04
Wanda Guokas
Newtown, PA
...Belonging to a group that nurtures your inner spirit if SO important; obviously, churches are not doing this job, and people are looking elsewhere. This aspect of the function and role of Amasong, is what made this program so touching!

....It certainly would have been EASIER for the group to have been "undefined!" But their commitment to 'lesbian/feminist' life, and SINGING from this life-force within, has done worlds of GOOD to break down barriers caused by homophobia!! BRAVO to this commitment!

....And YES, MUSIC forged the way to transcend politics, left and right views, good and bad, right and wrong: LISTENING to AMASONG sing, one is transformed to a sense of unity and love for ALL! When the spirit sings, the heart is open- both for the singer and the listener! PLEASE RERUN this show, so that more lives can be touched!

6/17/04
Sondra Jones
El Paso, Texas
It's been two days since I saw this film and I am still thinking about it. Thank you so much, Amasong and Kristina Boerger, for your courage, disipline and love. Thank you Jay Rosenstein for recognizing a beautiful story. And thank you PBS, for airing this exceptional documentary.

I am a visual artist and recently I've been a bit disillusioned about the power of art (my own in particular). But seeing this film has restored my faith by so clearly demonstrating art's transcendent qualities. It showed me that prejudice and negativity ican be completely overshadowed by art crafted with integrity, disipline and the stuff of our deepest place.

6/17/04
Nancy Segal
I think belonging to the group of one's spiritual ancestors is what truly brings you home to who you realy are from the start--your most authentic self. That self (soul) is the child that rarely gets a chance to survive in this culture and all the more reason for each and every woman to return to it.

What I saw happening to each female soul-spirit of that town was that each member (chorus and audience) returned home to her own particular remembrance. It may have been closer to consciousness depending on each woman, but it had arisen.

Kristina is a rare example of following one's fate and the voice that loudly persists in being true to it. Her singing voice and hand gestures tell me exactly where and whom she descends from and the town was truly transformed by this powerful force. This force is, of course, the female spirit... female consciousness. I truly wonder how different the film might have been had it come from that particular perspective, from and through a female psyche. It was delightful and outstanding...but I sense it had this limitation put on it.

I would like to hear more of Kristina's singing voice and to experience her performances, live and recorded. Could you provide this information as it becomes available to me and other interested viewers ?

Thank you for bringing this outstanding presentation to us.

Nancy Lee Segal

6/17/04
Pat Devine-Thompson
Where do you even start with this? Music seems to float from these women. It is some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. I have a very heavy heart some days. My 56 year old husband died, on January 23, 2004. Your music has truly lifted my heart and I know I felt it in my soul, calming and comforting me. It left me feeling "cleaned out", and renewed. That feeling of....hope, I think, has stayed with me. I very much need to thank these women for that. Christina, you have to know how much I appreciate that you did not take what could have been the easy road. You hung in, through what I am sure could not have been the best of times for you, personally. Because you forged ahead, not only were you able to produce the music that your heart told you was there, just waiting to be found,but you led the way for all of these wonderful women, to come together and share in the joy of being able to sing like angels. You make me very proud to be able to call you sister. Your music makes me want to be more than I have ever been. My thanks to you all! Now I need to find some CD's!

In Love and Peace,
Pat Devine-Thompson

6/17/04
Carlos Gomez
North Hollywood, Ca
One woman in the group was sadden when reflecting on her parents refusal to come see her sing. I would ask her to thank her parents on my behalf for having blessed us with their daughters presence! Thank you PBS and Amasong for a wonderful program. A beautiful group of women inspiring others with their angelic voices. Bravo!

6/17/04
Irene M. DeWalt
I was held spellbound by the beauty and spirit of the music presented by Amasong Choral group on June 15, 2004 on PBS. The fact that the group was part of the Champaign, Illinois community is why I chose to view the program. To sing and pray together must be a "wow" experience.

Went to Barnes and Noble bookstore looking for the first CD the group made. It was not available there but my request generated a bit of interest to say the very least.

Feel that I was supposed to hear you.

6/17/04
Elizabeth Hudson
Birmingham AL
I happened to stumble accross this truly amazing story. I was deeply touched by there courage to overcome so many obstacles just for them to be heard. It has forever touch my soul

6/17/04
P Loehrke
Toledo, OH
A truly wonderful film about truly wonderful people. Why does our society always feel the need to label everything? The music was so beautiful; I was in tears a great deal of the time. Music is the one thing in our world that can link everyone together; it knows no bounds, color or creed, etc.

Kudos to Kristina who started the group and also to all who have sung in the chorus. You go girls and congratulations on the glammy!

6/16/04
Tim
Scottsdale, AZ
I very much enjoyed the program last night. I was very much moved by one piece in particular.

Question: The Nigerian(?) song that Kristina referenced ("that which the spirit creates") and we heard part of...I went to find out which of the Amasong CDs it is on - it is not clear from the 'list of tracks' on the Amasong web site. Can you help?

Thanks.

6/16/04
Wes
My teenage daughter and I sat spellbound during this presentation. We shed tears of understanding, joy and compassion for these women, their music,determination and gifts. Is it important to belong to a group? Definitely if you have a need to be comforted and give back. We all have that need at some point, whether we choose to open up to a community experience or not. I feel it was an absolute for this group to be defined at its origin as it was. How unfruitful it would have been to attract those without the understanding and open-mindedness it takes to accept the issues of this group. The fact that something so beautiful as the music generated by this group could breach the mistrust and lack of compassion that could exist in a Midwest community toward anything associated with homosexuality is inspiring. It reitterates my belief that God gave us music that we might pray without words. I'm anxious to get info on the availability of the CD.

6/16/04
Kim
Chicago IL
I watched the AMASONG documentary last night in the hopes that it would put me to sleep. On the contrary, I was kept wide awake and captivated for the entire show, including the credits at the end. I went to Tower Records this morning to buy an AMASONG cd. They didn't have one. I'll keep looking. I spent 6 years with a choir earlier in my life. I miss that fellowship. I am inspired to join a choir again. Does anyone know of a Chicago choir like AMASONG?

6/16/04
Rosemary Bergin
Santa Rosa, CA
I found the show when it was halfway done. I love choral music and I loved the sound of this chorus. I am sorry that I missed the 23rd Psalm. Where can I get the CDs, especially the one which won the Glammy? I just called my record store and was told it may be hard to find. He's looking.

One of the best things about this inspiring chorus and it's founder is that they were so inclusive. Any lesbian or feminist could join. That decision made women feel welcome because of their talent, not separated by artificial bounderies of sexual preference. What a wonderful thing! Of course you have to be able to sing!

6/16/04
Joy D. Powers
Smmerhill, PA
My companion and I watched your beautiful musical program on our PBS station last night and it was fantastic. It was such a pleasure to listen to such wonderful music. You're all special,talented ladies. Hope you'll come to Pennsylvania someday.

6/16/04
Terry Moreau
Urbana, IL
My daughter started singing with Amasong in 1994 and I loved the music, the people and Kristina so much that when she graduated from the U of I, I joined and continue to sing with Amasong currently. Jay Rosenstein does such a fabulous job of telling this story that I was totally blown away when I viewed the film- for the first time and every time since then. Kristina is such a magical part of our history and we think of her often as we live out the legacy she created.

I am so glad that the rest of the country has been given the opportunity to see this story unfold through Independent Lens and PBS. It is special to me that, while my daughter and I were not in the chorus at the same time, we are in the film together. And the moment when we all combined our energies and tones to sing for Paula and her friend Barbara was an electrifying spiritual experience that I will never forget. Thanks to everyone for expressing your appreciation of Jay's creation.

6/16/04
Mari McKeeth
Normal, Illinois
I have been a member of Amasong since 1995, and can honestly say that "it changed my life." Participating in Amasong has been and is still the most spiritually fulfilling experience I have ever had. I sincerely believe that the film captures this element. And musically, well nothing can compare. I've uttered many a curse trying to learn Finnish, Latvian, Czech, and the multitude of other languages we have sung in. But the variety of music I've had the privilege to discover and experience over these past 9 years makes any 'tongue-tiedness' all worthwhile.

I've watched the film many times, but it was still unbelievably thrilling to see it broadcast as part of Independent Lens!

It has been fabulous reading the comments from viewers of the film. A few have asked about where to find our music. If you click on the Independent Lens "Learn More" box, you can access a link to the Amasong web page; CDs can be ordered here. (And I promise it won't really take 4-6 weeks for delivery - I'm the person who sends out the orders!) If you want to use a credit card to order, you can do so through the Goldenrod Music website.(www.goldenrod.com)

Thank you again for watching the film, and for expressing your feelings and opinions about it.

6/16/04
Kathie Spegal
Champaign
I am a long-time member of Amasong. Belonging to this group is important because it lets me meld two important aspects of my life, my love of music and the need to feel safe and be with other lesbian/feminist women. It is truly a community of wonderful people and could be compared with church in the truest sense of the word.

It may have been easier not to be defined but it certainly makes us proud to be who we are and have community support of that effort.

Judging by the comments that have been generated, both here and to our website, we reach all ages, genders, races and sexual orientation. Only one negative comment was sent and she is praying for us, no problem!

For those who want more, please go to the website at www.prairienet.amasong.org or Google Amasong.

6/16/04
joan k. collins
rockland,maine
What the Amasong Chorus did under the direction of Kristina was brillant and makes me so proud to be a Family menber.This shows the lesbian community at its very best, we need more positive images like this.Bravo and much love to you all.

6/16/04
Mary H Cummings
Portland, Oregon
I just love every aspect of this group, it's growth process, what they are for each other within the group and what the group represents for the community. Singing in a group is such a powerful experience for the singers. Singing together and aspiring to reach new heights with ones abilities, then contributing it in a way that gently but definitively transforms a community is a spiritual experience of the highest kind for everyone involved. It's the kind of group I've daydreamed of creating for my community.

6/16/04
connie parent
i will address the question regarding music transcending the lines that are drawn by opposing sides.

i believe, that whatever proactive differences we make in the world, eventually define a part of us.we heal. kristina did her work. when she looked inside,she went to the next level. she is passionate and talented and used her gift to take a risk. this inspired others who also wanted to go to another level.

i was deeply moved that she wanted to make music that would touch all people. i was pleased that she would want to deliver the beauty of music's sound, no matter where that music came from. a separatist society is conflicted. a society that recognizes that we are different and the same, can produce beautiful music. a space where we leave our predjudices at the door is a place where god's love shines, and in this case, a place where women's voices are joyfully heard.

thank you pbs for bringing this to me.

6/16/04
Maria Barbosa
Chicago, Illinois
I watched the documentary last night and was surprised to find it so moving.But I thought it could have used more editing as it was extremely slow.i.e was it necesary to watch director Ms. Berger sing and hum the ENTIRE song with her eyes close?

Of course belonging to a group is so important.Most of us live lonely lives othyerwise.I think calling the choir lesbian feminist took a stance of courage.I like how Ms. Boerger transformed her painful experience of being fired from a choir directorshp for being a lesbial to this powerful redemptive experience.

6/16/04
Susie Anderson
Gosh, what an awesome chorus! I was so drawn to the music in this program as well as to Kristina's story of how and why it came together. No matter what walk in life one takes, having a support circle around one is important. A group can consist of close friends, family, church...in this case, the choir and director. How alone we would be, each one of us, if we did not have our own support group!

I admire Kristina for defining the choir as lesbian/feminist. No matter which side of the slash one stands on, there is such a strong unity in this group. It is the coming together of 2 socially strong yet sometimes controversial groups in the general public's eye. What I saw and heard in their music was the commonality they all shared...women with peace, passion, compassion, strength in faith, ability to overcome fear, the freedom to feel emotion (the tears I saw when they sang Psalm 23, the tears I cried), the desire to produce some of the most beautiful music I have heard in a long time!

Yes, it may have been easier to be undefined, but it would have withheld the whole story of this group. We as the viewing public watching this program last night nor the public who are present in their concerts, etc. would not have known or felt the full story if it had been left undefined! There is a lot of strength in the definition!

Music is the art that opens the heart of people. I have worked with music in my church for many years (cantoring, choir, solo, bell choir) and see the effect it has on the congregations, the individuals in the congregations or audiences. It opens eyes, opens hearts blocked by hopelessness, brings one to one's knees in preparation for hearing the Word. I believe art can also do the same. I could feel the music move me, open my heart, hear Kristina's story with compassion.

I am glad I saw this program on PBS last night! I hope that many people saw it or will have a chance in the future to see it. Thank you!

6/16/04
Polly Husted
Austin, Texas
Inspiring coverage of a wonderful group of womyn. Miracles happen when you follow your passion. Abundant thanks for bringing this program to your viewers.

6/16/04
William Baron
Morristown, NJ
Great program ... great chorus ... touched our hearts and minds ... how can we get more info about the chorus today and tomorrow ... best wishes for continued success. Tnanks. Signed: Two 78 year-old straight people.

6/16/04
Nancy Wiers
Memphis TN
I think Amasong definately functions as a "church". The church started as small groups that would gather in peoples homes. This group is probably more a "church" than most traditional churches. Christians are charged to be "in community" with others. Amasong is doing just that through thier music.

I think it is important to define the chorus, because they are not afraid of WHO they are. In a small way this shows the people of Champaign and whoever views this show that Lesbians/Feminists are not FREAKS. We are people like everyone else, who have something to offer society.

6/16/04
Christine Russo
Milford, CT
In response to question number 1: I believe it is extremely important to belong to a group, especially if the group stands for something that is good, "There is strength in numbers"

#2 It absolutely would not have been easier for the group to be undefined, because society is afraid of what is does not understand or know about, therefore, in putting things in the open and upfront in the beginning, there was no reason for people to wonder or speculate on who this group was and what kind of people belonged to it, whether they be gay, straight, etc. etc.

#3The art can definately transend politics, just by people merely listening to the music, it goes straight to the heart and soul, it made me cry with love and sadness and hope and joy. It can incorporate politics merely by singing about the issues at hand, and their affects on this world and it's inhabitants, it is a none threatening approach to getting a message or messages across, very few people are threatened by song or music,especially when it is the type of music as song by Amasong. It goes with out saying that certain music that is out there today, anything that incorporates violence or hate, certain rock and rap music, is listened to by a very small number of individuals. Therefore the music of Amasong will be listened to by the majority, again stressing my point, "There is strength in numbers so this wonderful way of getting messages across, will be heard by the majority and the majority will be affected by it in a positive manner

6/16/04
Nelson and Jennifer Ho
Hilo, Hawaii
This film is exactly why PBS and Independent Lens needs to exist without political interference.

The director and Kristina Boerger have just made the "tent" bigger, safer and more rewarding for all humanity.

I hope there will be a DVD of this program for sale. Mahalo to all.

Nelson and Jennifer Ho

6/16/04
Elizabeth Yale
Oakland Ca.
I could feel the spirtual power the Chours has. Womens voices singing together has a magical quality that can reach the deepest part of our soul,freeing us for a brief time from this mortal body and allowing our heart to take wing.Thank you so much for introducing me to this wonderful Chours.

I felt that the women created a holy place whenever they sang together.

6/16/04
Willie Cervantes
Studio City, Ca
Absolutely inspiring. I did think that I would appreciate choral music as much as I did watching this film. The sense of community and the warmth of such a wonderful group of women made quite an impact.

6/16/04
Anne Nina
What an incredible group of women! Their music touches the very soul. I was deeply dismayed to learn that Kristina had been sent home from the Language Villages after disclosing that she is a lesbian. I spent 10 summers of my youth at the Villages, both as a camper and on staff. I always felt that there was an aura of uncondtional love at the camps. Now knowing that that was not the case, I have written the director of the camps to express my deepest regret that I can no longer be a supporter of a program that is so discrimintory.

6/16/04
Virginia
Houston, TX
Because I have long been a supporter of gay and lesbian rights, as well as an ancient feminist, I initially arched an eyebrow when my local PBS station (KUHT) ran a disclaimer before presenting the "IndependentLens" documentary on Amasong: Why, I wondered, was it necessary to caution "children or more sensitive viewers" about "unsuitable topics" when the program was about a chorus?

As I watched and as I cried a little in response to the beauty of the music and the fervor and determination of the women of Amasong, it became clear to me--in a way that I, although a singer, had not fully realized--that music has a language of its own, one that can transcend politics, prejudices, and ignorance. The reality that this middle-American "normal" community has supported and encouraged this chorus tells me that we must never give up hope, we must never stop trying, and we must never stop loving, even in the face of hatred.

I am awed. Thank you.

6/16/04
Jeanine Griffin
Chicago, Il
What beautiful voices these women have. I liked that the founding director decided to just do music that spoke to her and not make it politcal. I also appreciated the fact that she took her music seriously. She pushed the women to bring out the best of their voices. It was just a joy to hear them. Thank you, Jeanine

6/16/04
Stephanie Fahey
Elmwood Park, IL
What a beautiful story! The music truly moved me.

6/16/04
Diane
New York
I would like to commend Kristina Boerger for her belief in herself and others in her community where she first established the Amasong Chorus. Her musical skills helped others be all they can be as professional musicans & singers. I'd love to learn music again. I started with NTID/RIT in Rochester NY where I first learned to play the piano late in life. There was a music teacher who believed there was a way he could teach deaf and hearing impaired students to play all forms of music with various music instruments. I'm just starting to learn to play the piano again. I'd be honored to meet Ms. Boerger some day. Please let me know when she will be performing in NYC. Thank you.

6/16/04
Lisa Russell
Rome NY
One member refers to it as her "church." Do you think that belonging to a group is important? Why or why not?

I think it can be very important, I feel that it can be a support group, family, friend and definitely help you over come life's battles when you have such a great system set up to help hold, guide, and walk you thru the tough times.

Why do you think it was important for the chorus to define itself within the community? Would it have been easier to be "undefined"?

Personally I hate labels that society has set for every one but since there are labels I feel it was important for the chorus to define its self. It made a community aware of the people there and helped educate and bring a community closer together. And of coarse it would have been easier to be "undefined" life is always easier to hide your true identity.

In what ways do you think that music and art can transcend politics--as well as incorporate them?

I feel when a message is put into a form of music and art it makes people more open to hearing the message, doesn't mean they accept it but are more opt to at least listen and think about it. And because of this reason its easier to get your political or personal views heard by putting them into music and art.

6/16/04
Ashley
I personally think that they sound so beautiful that the fact that most of them are lesbian shouldn't make a difference. They are talented in every way. I only wish that every choir sounded that amazing

6/16/04
Gerianne
Bridgewater, New Jersey
The music touched me as both a woman and a mother. Perhaps it sounds odd, but the song sung to comfort the friend of the ailing Barbara was so sweet and pure, I found myself praying for her recovery.THe music is inspirational,not as a Grand Cathedral or High Opera, but more as that quiet little place inside that soars with joy and weeps uncontrolably with sadness, heard only by yourself and the very few others that you trust with your heart.

Thank you, Thank you

6/16/04
ed szmitkowski
lyndhurst, nj
amazeing, beautifully done would love to get the cd especially of psalm 23. please get back to me . thank you

6/16/04
Dorothy Roy
What an incredible story! I sat and listened to the voices of angels. I watched the hands of creation drawing out the voices of healing energy. I am so honored to have been able to experience this wonderful vibration. Thank you for finding each other. Light and love to all.


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