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Sing for Change!

Saturday, September 25, 2021


on Zoom

Join our expert panelists to explore equity and social justice in the music classroom, as well as collaboration, community, and context. Sessions will include: 


  • Composers/educators, Arianne Abela (Kaleidoscope Ensemble) and Abbie Bettinis (Justice Choir) will lead a community sing and discuss “The Transformative Power of Group Singing” as well as their work with the Justice Choir Songbook. 

  • Dr. Maredia Warren will present on the historical and creative impact of the African American Spiritual in “Creativity and the African American Spiritual Network” 

  • Participants will engage in interactive, grade-specific discussions in “Sing for Change in your School Communities: Reflection and Discussion.” 

  • We will close with a special choral reading session, conversation, and Q&A led by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City director, Francisco Núñez!  J.W. Pepper will provide a digital reading session booklet that will be available to attendees for 30 days following the session. 

Sessions will be recorded and available to registrants for 90 days after the event.  


The cost of this event is $30, $25 for current OAKE members

Free for full-time Students

 Register by 9/3 for a $5 discount using the code EARLY21

Registration closes 9/24 at 10 PM


Click the link above to register and pay online.  
Registrants will be emailed Zoom webinar information.  
Please email with any questions.
This event is co-sponsored by:
KONY - Kodály Organization of New York
The Brearley School
Poly Prep Country Day School



A Community Sing and Session with Arianne Abela and Abbie Betinis 


with Dr. Maredia Warren



Discussion and reflection with other attendees



with Francisco Núñez


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Arianne Abela and Abbie Betinis

Learn how Justice Choir chapters coast-to-coast are leading community singing for positive social change using the newly-composed repertoire from the Justice Choir Songbook. Songbook editor and composer, Abbie Betinis, and Detroit chapter founder and songbook composer, Arianne Abela, will introduce the Justice Choir mission and how the songs can be used to spark dialogue on race, diversity, privilege, community, empathy, and social consciousness. Arianne Abela, founder of Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, and special guest, Micah Hendler, Washington DC Chapter leader and artistic director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, will discuss ways to create dialogue and community transformation through repertoire. We’ll sing together in Songbook selections and learn how to teach the repertoire to singers and non-singers alike. Attendees will be able to keep the Songbook, free for all non-profit use in your communities.

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Creativity and the african american spiritual network

Dr. Maredia D.L. Warren

Using “live” performances/demonstrations, the presenter will explore and highlight the historical and creative impact of the African American spiritual as it relates to various musical art forms. The emotional, social, and religious perspectives will also be incorporated.


The African American spiritual, from its West African-based singing and performance practice tradition, continues to be an imaginative and creative influence. The experiences of slavery led to the beginnings of slave songs and spirituals, which have provided the foundation for many genres of music, including blues, jazz, gospel, and numerous others. The spiritual is vastly recognized and accepted as a staple in American vocal and choral literature. In addition, African American spirituals (texts and/or tunes) appearing in their original, unaccompanied, or arranged state, are widely used in various formats and arts forms.

Group Discussion

Sing for change in our school Communities

Summit Attendees

We listened to your feedback about our summit last year and added a little time in for reflection and discussion. Join your fellow attendees and bring your lunch! 


Sing for change: A choral Reading Session

Francisco Núñez

We will close with a special choral reading session, conversation, and Q&A led by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City director, Francisco Núñez!  J.W. Pepper will provide a digital reading session booklet that will be available to attendees for 30 days following the session. 

Arianne Abela

Arianne Abela is Director of Choral Activities at Amherst College and is founder and artistic director of Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, professional 9-voice ensemble focused on early and new music with dedication to the intersection of racial, ethnic and gender diversity, and the intersection of arts and social justice. 


Abela recently served on conducting faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and is founder and director of the Detroit Women's Chorus and Detroit Justice Choir, ensembles dedicated to social-justice and community empowerment. Focusing her efforts on community building through song, Abela founded The House of Clouds and has worked closely with Musicians Take a Stand to organize over a dozen benefit concerts for charities and various causes across the country. 


 In 2012, Abela was featured conducting on NBC's Today Show and was a semi-finalist in Season 8 of America's Got Talent as director of Connecticut-based 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra. The ensemble later recorded for the soundtrack of Hollywood film Walk of Shame starring Elizabeth Banks. 


Abela holds degrees from University of Michigan, Yale University and Smith College. Abela sings professionally in ensembles across the United States and Canada such as Yale Choral Artists, sounding light, Etherea Vocal Ensemble, Arkora, and Audivi. Originally from the San Francisco bay area, she sang with the San Francisco Girls Chorus for many years.

Abbie Betinis

Composer Abbie Betinis writes music called “inventive” (The New York Times), “joyful… shattering, incandescent” (Boston Globe), and “ethereal” (Cambridge University Press). From Carnegie Hall to Disney Hall, grade school assemblies to wedding ceremonies, cathedrals to summer camps, her music is performed somewhere in the world nearly every day.

A two-time McKnight Artist Fellow, and lauded in Musical America for her “contrapuntal vitality” and “ability to use her talents to effect social change,” she has won awards from the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and the Minnesota Music Educators Association, among others.  In January 2017, spurred to action by the US political climate, she and Tesfa Wondemagegnehu co-founded Justice Choir, a template for community singing and mobile advocacy. With conductor Ahmed Anzaldúa, the three created the Justice Choir Songbook – a living resource for community transformation through singing – now used in schools, prisons, faith communities, and protest movements nationwide.  Abbie lives in St Paul, Minnesota, where she hosts The Schubert Club’s weekly recital series and is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Concordia University.

Dr. Maredia D.L. Warren

Dr. Maredia D. L. Warren, Professor Emerita, New Jersey City University, is a music educator, choral director, performer, arranger, music coach, and mentor. She is the founder and director of the Unity Ensemble, a vocal group specializing in the performance of music from the African and African American genres. Dr. Warren has conducted numerous honor choirs including the New Jersey All-State Mixed Chorus, the New Jersey All-State Women’s Chorus, and honor choirs in Massachusetts and Georgia. She previously held faculty positions at William Paterson University, Montclair State University, and Lehman College, CUNY. Dr. Warren is retired from the Teaneck, NJ school system, having taught on all grade levels. Her international music activities include performing tours, study, and workshops in West Africa, South Africa, Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, and Europe. She earned degrees from Columbia University, Howard University, and Kodály Certificates from the University of Hartford, and the Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Kecskemet, Hungary. Dr. Warren’s Unity Ensemble performed at the National Conference of OAKE, held in March 2013. 


In July 2019, Dr. Warren was invited to give a presentation, Creativity and the African American Spiritual, for the World Choral Music Expo Singing Network, held in Lisbon, Portugal.  She received awards and honors from Princeton University, Howard University Alumni, New Jersey City University, National Association of Negro Musicians, Coalition of Black Women, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women, and her Sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Dr. Warren serves as music director of Christ Episcopal Church, Teaneck, NJ.

Francisco Núñez

Francisco J. Núñez, a MacArthur Fellow and Musical America’s 2018 Educator of the Year, is a composer, conductor, visionary, leading figure in music education, and the artistic director of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City (YPC), which he founded on a mission of artistic excellence and diversity over three decades ago in 1988. Since then, he has created an awareness of the ability of any child to rise to unforeseen heights of artistry and is currently expanding the YPC model to youth choruses beyond New York City through YPC National. Mr. Núñez also leads the University Glee Club of New York City, its fifth conductor since the all-men’s chorus was established in 1894, and is sought after internationally as a guest conductor by professional orchestras and choirs, as a master teacher and clinician, and as a frequent keynote speaker as a leading authority on the role of music in achieving equality and diversity among children in today’s society. Mr. Núñez holds honorary Doctor of Music degrees from Ithaca College and Gettysburg College, and among his many awards are an ASCAP Victor Herbert Award, the New York Choral Society’s Choral Excellence Award, and most recently, The ASCAP Foundation’s “Life in Music” award.  

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