Love Sings Louder music brings Louisvillians together

More than 200 people, from many different ethnic groups and religions, lent their voices to a rendition of Bill Wither’s “Lean on Me” during the Sept. 15 Love Sings louder program at the Iroquois Amphitheater. (photo by Lisa Hornung)

Louisvillians sang a song of love to each other at the Love Sings Louder event on Sunday, Sept. 15.
The program at the Iroquois Amphitheater, emceed by WAVE 3’s Dawne Gee and led by Jacori “1200” Arthur, was a celebration of Louisville’s diversity and an attempt to counter recent acts of violence and hate around the world.
More than 200 people attended.
The Jewish Federation of Louisville and The J were inspired by the popular “mass singing initiatives” facilitated by groups like Israel’s Koolulam and Canada’s Choir!Choir!Choir! The event was sponsored by The Fund for the Arts, The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and Republic Bank.
A diverse group of performers took the stage, including the River City Drum Corps, Voices of Kentuckiana, Indian dancers from the Natya Kendra Dance Company Academy by Smitha Pailey, the church choir from the Crescent Hill Baptist Church and more. Mayor Greg Fischer kicked off the program with words of encouragement and peace.
“There’s some hate speech and speech of division that’s masquerading for leadership in our country right now,” Fischer said. “And so it’s important that at our city levels, and at the rural areas as well, we come together like this and we are real loud about compassion and kindness and love and sharing interfaith traditions. That’s what the United States of America is all about.”
Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith, who co-chaired the event, echoed the mayor’s sentiments.
“No one locally, no one nationally, and no one anywhere on the planet is going to shake up Louisville and tear us apart,” she said, “because we’re gonna sing louder, love harder and be stronger.”
Dr. Mark Perelmuter, the co-chair of the event committee, talked about our country’s motto, E. Pluribus Unum: Out of many, one.
“To me, this means that America’s strength is its diverse communities of immigrants of all religions, orientations and cultures,” he said. “And that being one nation does not mean giving up our traditions, but maintaining our diverse cultures is what makes us strong as a nation. What makes us one is our commitment to the principles of America and to each other.”
Arthur, a musician and music educator, led the audience in a rousing sing-along of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me,” with the help of his backup band and singers, including Cantor David Lipp and Cantor Sharon Hordes. The audience was divided into three groups to sing three parts of the song.
After the show, Matt Goldberg, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, lauded the “spirit” of the event.
“People really got into what we were getting at,” he said, “trying to help people and trying to create an atmosphere of love and peace and diversity.”
“It was just wonderful the way it was led,” Goldberg added. “The song that we sang … everybody got into it. Even the ones who couldn’t sing mouthed really loud, if that makes sense.”
Gee, who played on stage with Arthur’s 2-year-old son during the sing-along, said she loved the event, but wished more people had come.
“I wish we could have had the whole city here with every seat so filled that people had to sit on the ground,” she said. “But we will have to take the love that we created and gathered today and just spread it like fairy dust.”
Lenae Price, outreach and special projects coordinator, who spearheaded the planning of the event, was also pleased.
“I think it was amazing,” Price said. “I know I’m not alone in getting chill bumps over and over throughout the experience. It was amazing to see all of the diverse performances which really represent our community and you could tell there were a lot of people who had never seen some of those things before.”
Price said the outcome of the event was just right.
“I think good things happen when you go outside your comfort zone, and I think people were a little outside their comfort zone at times and that’s awesome,” Price said. “It’s exactly what we were going for.”

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