Voices of Hope

Our guest blogger today is my friend, Emily Saliers, of the Indigo Girls. Around the same time I began work on The If Project, Emily began working with a women’s prison choir in Atlanta, GA. Though The If Project deals with the contemplative process of writing and the Voices of Hope deals with the power of music, the end result is the same – transformation.


Hi friends,
I feel compelled to tell you about my experience with the Metro State Women’s Prison Choir in Atlanta. They are the ‘Voices of Hope’.
I was invited by the chaplain and choir director at the prison, Susan Bishop, to participate in recording a live cd of the choir’s performance. The performance took place in November, a year ago, and it was life changing for me and for many others.The ‘Voices of Hope’ sang for a packed house at Emory University’s cannon chapel.

I have learned so much from the women who sang there. I have learned about the transformative power of music. I have learned that creating and performing music together requires heart and discipline and teamwork. What the choir women of metro state prison’s ‘Voices of Hope’ has created is nothing less than a triumph of spirit and hard work.
We cannot know any woman’s story and experience within prison walls without having lived it ourselves. But each of us has a story to tell and a song to give.

The ‘Voices of Hope’ cd has generated many sales, all of which go to fund the children’s center at the Metro State Women’s Prison. The children’s center provides a nurturing and educational environment for kids whose mothers are incarcerated.

I feel forever grateful to have been part of the hopes and wishes and transcendence that creative outlet can provide for, not only women in prison, but for all of us.
Let all of your voices be heard.

Emily Saliers
Indigo Girls

You can find out more about Voices of Hope and purchase a CD here:

5 Responses to “Voices of Hope”

  1. February 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Music really is the universal language. It transcends our differences, our faults, our feelings. For those women to perhaps discover and share their talent… that may be one of their first positive experiences of community and positive contributions to community. And that can’t help but be transformative.

  2. March 17, 2010 at 5:50 am

    I hope you directed them in at least one Indigo Girls song? Whenever I’m feeling down, listening to your music is the way to bring me back. I think it is wonderful you did this with these women. I personally think supporting women to be the best they can be is our biggest opportunity to turn this country around. I once read that the word “hope” has its root meaning tied to the same words that mean a change in direction. Hope is a change in direction. I think you’ve given these women both.

  3. Cathy
    April 30, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I was blessed to be one of the ladies at Metro who got to sing with Emily. I was so lucky to be a part of the making of the CD. Music is one way to reach people with the love that our Lord has to give. The “hope” that was given reaches out in the songs and through the people we touch. Thank you Emily. You touched my life with your music and the love you gave each of us.
    Cathy Trudewind

  4. B.A. Keith
    July 19, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I just wanted to say that the If Project is a blessing and an answer from Almighty God.I just asked myself the question, and answered it. I have shared information about this project with youngmen who that are beginning to try to “fit in to get in” and end up going where they do not really want to go and made to stay for longer than they thought, knew or wanted too. I would like to share some of the poems too, with young and older women that I meet on the street. Thank you. Please make a documentary about this project it is awesomely a God send!

  5. Erin Bailey
    July 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    It is very encouraging to see talented musicians like Emily Saliers participating in the miracle of music behind the walls. I met Kim B. at the Blues School concert @ WCCW, where she interviewed for the IF Project. Although I did not participate in that process, I made sure that I did when talented and professional musicians came into the prison to teach a few of us some groovy blues songs and then play abd put on a concert for the women in prison. Kudos to all the recognize us people who have been incarcerated as worthy people. Erin Bailey Spokane,WA July, 22nd 2010.

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