A bit of LA's sunshine, in the form of song, will be brightening up Denver's Democratic National Convention come Monday morning. The Agape Choir, known fondly by its members as "The Love Train" and headed up by Reverend Dr. Michael Beckwith along with his wife, Rickie Byers-Beckwith will be opening Monday morning's historic festivities.
The 100-member choir is made up of multiples of races and political affiliations. "We're diverse," says Byers-Beckwith, "most people think by that I mean color, but I mean flavor!" They were invited by the DNC to sing on stage for both the opening and closing ceremonies and at numerous other functions throughout the week. This development came about organically, according to Lora O'Connor, media liaison for the Agape Choir, when the Beckwiths happened to be at a few of the same religious leadership gatherings in Los Angeles that Democratic Presidential nomineeBarack Obama attended over the past months. "Our slogan at Agape is, 'We're here standing for a world united in love.'"
Just as much a "harmonic convergence," is how I first heard about the choir performing in Denver this week. I found out that an old high school friend of mine from Guam, Reyna Calvo, was now singing in the Agape Choir. We had known each other in the early 80's when we were both students at the Academy of Our Lady of Guam. Back then, her father was the Governor of Guam, a U.S. Territory.
With Obama having roots in Hawaii, and Guam being the next major U.S. territory in the Pacific, there seemed to be some kind of flow happening. So when my friend mentioned she'd be going to Denver as part of Agape's "Love Train" choir, I had to get the deets:
The Agape Choir, hosted by the Mile High Church of Denver and also by the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, will be singing the first songs for the Convention at the Big Tent for the Monday morning program and will sing again Monday night with Jon Legend at the Convention Center's Pepsi Arena.
Also on Monday, the Agape Choir will be meeting the train at the Denver Union Station that is bringing in the Choral Earth Choir. The Choral Earth Choir has traveled across the nation, picking up its members along the journey, on their way to the Convention. The two choirs will meet and walk down the street to the Big Tent, singing together. "We're going to rock the place with so much joy. It's our love that heals us," said Byers-Beckwith. All the Agape choir members will be wearing colorful dupioni silk ensembles. Dr. Michael Beckwith is a featured panelist on the Interfaith Program along with Van Jones.
In addition, NRDC is hosting a panel on "Environment Now," and Carl Pope and T. Boone Pickens will also be talking on a panel together, hosted by Sustainable Colorado which is a national model for cooperation, comprised of 30 non-profits that are housed in a Double LEED building (one of only two such designated buildings in the world). Another important panel topic is the National Day of Action for Green Jobs which will be September 27th, the day after the first scheduled Presidential Nominee debates.
Agape Choir plans to debut an original song written for the Convention and will also rely on familiar tunes such as, "I'm Ready For My Change." If you're at the Convention in Denver this week, you can find the Agape Choir schedule printed up on the back of their "The Agape Love Train" t-shirts. Assistant choir conductor, Tim McAfee-Lewis, is expected to conduct several of the performances.