Weeks of conversation, reading, and rehearsal led to the convergence of ideas and experiences that were beautifully expressed by the Warrior Chorus during two performances. The inaugural Austin Veteran Arts Festival, organized by Chorus member Glenn Towery exemplified the spirit of the Warrior Chorus and served as the perfect venue for the first performance. An intimate Austin library held the second performance which included audience discussions.
Their moving introduction, accompanied by a soundscape by group leader Bart, presents the Chorus head on in battle. We hear the sounds of battle, a roll call, and a symbolic memorial service for a fallen soldier - Gianna’s handcrafted Battlefield Cross piece highlights the themes of battle and loss.
Meagan’s piece, titled “Tomorrow May Never Come” follows, exploring the emotional toll that the loss of comrades can take on fellow soldiers. An acoustic performance of Social Distortion’s “Reach for the Sky” follows her brief speech. James’ original piece Ebbet’s Field After a Double Header with the Giants displays dark humor and deep reflections on the phrase “Thank you for your service.” Fictionalizing his modern day experiences, James compares his “doomsday” duties to that of Ajax’s men.
Bringing classical combat illustrations to life, Terry presents the physical aspects of war with Japanese Katas. The 80 year old veteran, presented the Katas with thorough explanation, and a charm that belied the danger of the Samurai sword he wielded.
Brian’s spoken word piece detailing his military intelligence experience and concerns of citizen privacy struck chords with the audience, who no doubt walked away with nagging questions on the state of American democracy.
Finally, Glenn performs an emotional original song that questions the place of Black Americans in the military and the U.S. at large. In “What Should I Do” Glenn expresses the pain of serving a country which has subjected people to years of slavery and marginalization. It’s a powerful closing to this reflective, inspiring Warrior Chorus performance.
The audience in attendance is struck not only by the content and depth of the performances, but the number of art forms represented by the small group of warriors.
Special thanks to:
Austin Veterans Arts Festival
Austin Public Library
Click here to watch the first Warrior Chorus 2018 performance. Performance begins at the 12:00 minute mark.
Warrior Chorus Austin 2018 blogs were written by Tamar Price.