Rachel Bagby: 2008 AHN Awardee

The Arts & Healing Network is delighted to present the 2008 AHN Award to Rachel Bagby. Since 1985, Rachel has pioneered "vibralingual" practices that help people form vocal communities for ecological and social healing. A vocal artist, writer, composer, teacher and founder of Choral Earth, Rachel is internationally recognized for inspiring multiple generations to bring their voices to life.


Upon receiving the award, Rachel Bagby wrote the following:


"What if all of us thrived in choir-like resonance with each other and with all of life on earth?


The acknowledgment flowing from receiving the AHN Award has moved my inquiry from 'what if?' to 'how now?' for the benefit of all beings. I feel deeply grateful that the financial support of the award is helping me create training materials and a prototype program that I envision drawing together the visual, movement, literary and choral artists in participating regions help make our communities socially and environmentally 'whole, sound and well.' If you have a resonant vision, I'd like to hear from you.


The training will distill lessons learned from the touring choirs of my childhood, being a member of Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra, and inspiring leaders of climate/social change initiatives and thousands of audience members at Bioneers conferences to sonorously energize their actions for the earth.


For decades, singing, improvising and composing in choral groups and with the chorus of life have been foundational joys for me. Choral Earth, my current focus, was born of that joy married to the power of vocal communities to connect personal and social healing.


As a child, I helped my father kick a life-threatening addiction to drugs by convincing him to join the Jones Tabernacle A.M.E. Church Choir with me. Much healing followed, and for nearly thirty years he played several important roles in my mother's initiatives to green our North Philadelphia neighborhood.


Throughout my adult life, I've evoked the power of vocal community to amplify what Terry Tempest Williams calls 'the open space of democracy' in her book of that title. We so need to fertilize that space with creations, actions and policies that heal our collective addictions to the ravenous energy economy fueling global warming and social injustice worldwide.


If you're inspired by Choral Earth's resonant vision, want to learn or hear more, or have one of your own to share, please let me hear from you."


In February 2008, the Arts & Healing Network Director, Mary Daniel Hobson interviewed Rachel. You can hear it by listening online here or via I-Tunes.

< Return to AHN Award intro page