One morning in Asheville, NC, I was approached by a police officer while on my way to retrieve some things from my car. The officer stopped and questioned me, and he asked for my identification. After he dismissed me, I was left confused and embarrassed, and I struggled to figure out the reason why I was approached by the officer. I did not do anything wrong. It became obvious to me that it was because I am a man of color.
This type of incident occurs far too often in our society, and it has to stop. Based on that experience, I knew that I needed to do something. No more racism, no more exclusion, no more discrimination. I decided to do what I do best: make music. I decided to form a choir whose purpose is to increase awareness through music, and this past June, I founded Tonality. After meeting every member of Tonality, I realized that I was not alone, that many others possess a passion for unity, for bringing people together.
Since its formation a short time ago, Tonality has received support from artists who also value diversity through their music. India Carney from U.S. Season 8 of The Voice says, “Tonality is going to broaden horizons for music and show a diverse array of faces for classical music as we know it.” Grant Gershon, Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, states, “Choral singing is about sharing our voices, our traditions, and our experiences. Tonality has the potential to bring the amazingly diverse voices, traditions, and experiences of Los Angelenos together in a powerful new way.”
Tonality, now a diverse ensemble of 25 singers, was established on June 6, 2016. The singers come from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and countries. They are professional singers in Los Angeles who care about the future of our country and our world, and we sing in unity to actively demonstrate the beauty of diversity.
America Will Be attempts another sense of patriotism; one where a true awareness of how self-evaluation and refinement can bring about the country in which we all can be proud to live. The singers, our stories, and the conversations represent the stories of America. We hope you all feel seen and heard in this concert, and we appreciate your willingness to enter into this space of awareness and unity with us.