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Posted on Thu, Dec 3, 2009 : 5:03 a.m.

13th Annual Evening of Sacred Song to benefit Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR)

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Last year around this time, my neighbor Laurie organized a good old-fashioned caroling party (a medieval English tradition) for all the neighbors and kids to go tromping through the snow and sing Christmas carols around the neighborhood.

I was so excited. It had been years since I had gone caroling, one of my favorite things in the world to do. In college, I used to go caroling every year all around downtown San Francisco with the UC Berkeley Glee Club - singing in hospitals, restaurants, street corners, underground BART stations, alumni functions, Ghiradelli Square. I know all the words (but weirdly, only the harmonies) to all the standard (and a few not-so-standard) Christmas songs.

One of the things I love about Christmas caroling is the opportunity to stand in the sacred for just a few moments in this secular world of ours to sing praise and glory without having to play it cool. It really does not matter if the words swelling and circling around us are “Baruch Adonai” or “He shall purify” or “Sweet little holy chile’, we didn’t know who you wuz,” it is not often that we have opportunities in polite society to express feelings of passion or adoration.

Plus I have a certain weakness for men who sing.

So this benefit concert of Sacred Song coming up Saturday night caught my eye. Incredible names here, and I am touched by the sensitivity that would note explicitly (for a fundraiser!), “No one will be turned away.”:

The 13th Annual Evening of Sacred Song: A Celebration of Peace, Community, and Spirit, will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm at Temple Beth Emeth /St. Clare Episcopal, 2309 Packard Road (at Jewett). $15.00 pre-concert price, $20.00 at the door. Admission is free for children under age 12. Tickets are available from members. No one will be turned away.

Sacred Song, a multi-ethnic choral group, sings both a cappella and with accompaniment on guitar, flute, bass, keyboard, ukelele, and percussion. Since 1995, the group's annual December concerts have affirmed the values of social justice and spiritual inclusiveness. Sacred Song members include: La’Ron Williams, D. Yarrow Halstead, Dale Petty, Laura Machida, Gae Winn, Cassandra Montgomery, Robin Wilson, Mary Wilson, Edie Lewis, Faye Askew-King, MaryAnne Perrone, Barbara Stahler-Sholk, Sam and Max Deschamps, as well as guest performers Dana Piper and Julia Bayha. Post-concert Reception

All proceeds after expenses will be donated to: The Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR)

The Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR) is an organization comprised of members from numerous community and faith-based organizations advocating for the rights of immigrants, documented and undocumented. It has assisted children whose parents have faced deportation, provided translation services and representation for those often long-time members of this community who have had interactions with the immigration customs enforcement bureau (ICE). The WICIR network has sponsored a series of community meetings to educate the public on the implications of ICE raids for both documented and undocumented families in our area. It also supports the development of sanctuary congregations to provide refuge and protection to immigrant families.

Since 1995, Sacred Song has offered annual December concerts in Ann Arbor that benefit local social justice organizations. These evenings gather the community and provide a time to share and generate energy together, giving voice to the sacred power within. The singers, who live locally, believe that the conditions of our current times can be improved if we open to the spirit of loving sister- and brotherhood within us all.

For more information, call 734-761-7962 or e-mail:

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of Asian American Village, lead multicultural contributor for, and a contributor for New America Media's Ethnoblog. She is a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her Web site at, her blog at, and she can be reached at