Arts and Entertainment

A homegrown choir shares the music they love

Shane Jewell, front row center, stands with the members of the Free Range Folk Choir. - File Photo
Shane Jewell, front row center, stands with the members of the Free Range Folk Choir.
— image credit: File Photo

Vashon’s Free Range Folk Choir will present its pre-Thanksgiving concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Methodist Church. The concert is free, but donations are welcome.

Now numbering almost 80 Islanders, the choir performs complex a cappella choral music from around the world in four- and five-part harmony.

Shane Jewell, who leads the Free Range Folk Choir, said that as he has watched the group grow in recent years, he has also been struck by how singing folk music as a choir can affect lives, especially in today’s world.

Singing with the group, he said, has helped various members of the choir handle the deaths of loved ones, the loss of work and home and recovery from medical emergencies.

“I’ve been awed at what a powerful force for change singing folk music together can be,” he said in an email. “The group continues to sustain my own hope and joy amid so much terrible news, from climate change to economic downturn.”

Looking to the future, Jewell said he hopes to use the group’s talent and energy to benefit nonprofit groups on Vashon. He has a series of benefit concerts in the works that would raise money for groups working for sustainable living on Vashon.

This weekend’s concert, meanwhile, will feature a diverse repertoire, including everything from a version of the Credence Clearwater Revival hit, “Down on the Corner,” to the chant-like cadences of “Rachuli Alio,” a song from the Republic of Georgia. There will also be a South African freedom song and a reggae version of “Rivers of Babylon.”

Visit the choir’s blog,, to find out more about the choir and watch videos of some of the songs that will be performed. Information about how to join the choir is also on the blog.


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