When I first heard that I was going to be on the Peace Train I didn't know how much sweat would go into preparing for it. After a month practicing with 10 other Trenton Children's Chorus members, we met the other 89 Peace Train performers from all over the country in New York City. Our first full rehearsal was powerful because all 100 voices met in the songs that we had been practicing. While on stage at the Center for Ethical Culture, I grew excited as I heard all of the voices bouncing around the room- different but the same.
Later in the trip, we visited the Peace Institute in Washington DC. There we discussed how to resolve conflicts with small and large issues with people, groups, or even countries. In order to resolve a problem, it is important to not only talk, but also to listen for what the other needs. I realized that in order to avoid conflict with my brother I have to listen for what he needs. So maybe peace starts at home and can move through the community from there. The songs that we sang spread a message of peace and may also spread hope to those people who are in need.
My favorite performance was in Jersey City because of the spectacular view behind us as we were performing. In that moment I realized that even though I'm tall for my age, I am so small as far as what happens in the world. But when I joined my one voice with the 100 voice choir, our songs were heard by what felt like all of New York and part of New Jersey. So maybe our songs of peace can influence the world.
Throughout the trip, we had to work on a RAP - Responsible Action Plan or something that each of us can do to make the world a better place. I decided that when I grow up, I want to be a doctor who works to provide healthcare for people in urban areas. I recently noticed that whenever we go to a doctor, we go to Hopewell, Princeton or Hamilton. Never in Trenton where we live. I wonder sometimes about the people who don't have cars and how they get access to healthcare.
Over all, the Peace Train trip was an awesome experience. Over 10 days, I met new friends from all over the country. I met with my Congresswoman, Bonnie Watson Coleman; Visited the Liberty Bell, Statute of Liberty, Capitol Building, a number of museums, and discussed how to resolve conflict at the Peace Institute. As part of the Peace Train Project, I sang and danced on stages in New York, Jersey City, Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. If the Peace Train comes back to the station, I want to be the first in line.
What I have seen through my daughter since she got back from the Peace Train is, she is more responsible, helpful, and likes to think how to make people happy.” Maritza Albarran (parent)
Hi, my name is Payton! I am a proud member of the TCC Chorus and a member of the Peace Train 2016 Tour Across America. When I was first introduced to Sharon Katz, I had no idea about who she was and why she was standing in front of my choir teaching us songs in other languages about peace. I instantly took a liking to who she was and what she stands for, and when I learned about the huge opportunity of joining the Peace Train Choir, I knew I just HAD to do it. I was confident in myself and nailed the auditions. The Peace Train Tour 2016 was a great experience for me. I was able to meet people I never thought I would have the opportunity to meet. I made friends with people from all over the country; Hawaii, Kansas, and California as well as people that I never knew lived by me! Performing with Sharon has given me a confidence in my performance skills, and has shown me a whole different experience of expressing myself onstage.
One of my favorite events from this experience was the talent show we had at the Washington DC dorms. I got to see what other talents my friends have. I was really surprised with the results, which ranged from beautiful original songs, spoken word poetry, and dance to a comedic improve. We also went to many interesting workshops that were informative and pretty fun, yes the juggling workshop was AWESOME. The last day reminded me of senior speeches before the last performance of a musical at my school. Not a single dry eye in the room and not a single person uncomforted; all of the new friends hugging each other, promising to text and call once we were all back home.I believe that the Peace Train experience will help me find better opportunities because I know it has brought out a new confidence in me. I am very thankful for this experience!
TCC Rides the Peace Train
Eleven members of the Trenton Children's Chorus were among the diverse 100-voice youth choir and band that traveled and performed from New York to Washington DC July 9-17, 2016. Their mission: peace, respect, and mutual understanding through music. Here are some of their stories...
As the time finally arrived for the tour to officially start it was time to board the Peace Train, but first TCC had to catch the train first from Trenton to New York to meet up with everyone else involved in the Peace train. As we arrived early in the afternoon to the venue, it seemed as though everyone was in concert mode. We arrived at 1 and the concert didn’t start until 8:00. Everyone was either in a blue shirt, a red shirt, or a yellow shirt. Since this was the first concert for everyone you could tell nerves were off the wall for each person. Me personally, I was extremely nervous, Marilyn mentioning during sound check how that night was going to be a full house being that it was the first show to kick off the tour. I was also given the opportunity by Sharon, a solo to do during the song of “We can be the Change” along with one other person who would take the second rap while I had the first. As the time came for the show to begin, as I was dancing and singing on stage all the nerves that I had started to turn into energy throughout the whole show. All in all the first show was a success! Now it was time to hit the road. Next stop Jersey City!
Get up on to that Peace….Bus!As the 9 days came to an end of non-stop singing, and hard work, sight-seeing, and fellowship, it was sad to say that it was time to board the Peace Train home, but this time we boarded a bus. I must admit that as I came home my whole view on life has changed dramatically. My whole life has changed dramatically due to the Peace Train. I left with so many heartwarming memories, and I made so many new friends and made a vow to keep in contact with everyone from people in Washington D.C. to those in Hawaii and Philly. Sharon has impacted my life from what she’s trying to do with her own. She along with others have risked their lives to be able to have such a thing as the Peace Train going from state to state sharing their story. Being a part of the peace train taught me to value time and to cherish moments, because each moment I had with everyone on the trip I will never get back again. So I’m grateful for each smile, tear, laugh, song, dance move, I got to share with so many other people on this trip. I also applaud Sharon and everyone else involved for the outstanding job done with this movement.
Hi, my name is Esmeralda. I am 12 years old. I have been with the Trenton Children’s Choirs for the past four years. The Peace Train has been one of the most memorable things I have ever done. It is something I would want to make bigger so that the whole world would have peace. When I first found out I was going to be part of the Peace Train tour, my family was so excited for me. On the way I met new people and learned so much.
I learned that the Peace Train was not just singing place to place. It was making a difference. After every show I would see people walk out with a smile on their face. Some people would walk in and out even if they didn’t say anything I know they left with peace in their hearts. I can’t forget to talk about Sharon Katz she has inspired me to make a difference in the world.
I will never forget anything that happen and everyone I met. I will love to do this again and again. I would like to thank Marilyn and Sharon for giving me the opportunity to be here. Like how Nelson Mandela once said “It’s always seems Impossible until it’s done”.
I've been on the Peace Train
to help the light shine again.
They put more peace inside our lives
for each of our sons, daughters, husbands and wives.
I came to the program without any hassle,
thinking of new friends and places to travel.
My experience was always extremely fun
and like most people I'm sad that it's done.
Many friends and moments that I will now keep,
and the sound of "Shosholoza" playing while I sleep.
My experience on the Peace Train can only be described as extraordinary. The bonds I made will be a part of my life forever. To be honest, my favorite performance we did was definitely Jersey City, NJ. The scenery was beautiful and the performance was outside. If I had to sum up my experience in one word it would be amazing!
I have never really traveled with a group around my age before, so being on the Peace Train Tour with other choirs and other kids/teens has been great! We sang at different places in New York, Jersey City, Trenton, Philly, Baltimore, and also Washington, D.C. We also went sightseeing. My favorite place was New York because there were many beautiful attractions such as the Statue of Liberty. As a member of the Peace Train we sang nonviolence songs, and made Responsible Action Plans in order to stop hate in the world. We don't need violence and conflict, we just need love and support. That's what the Peace Train is all about; spreading the word to make a change we want for the better.
Overall, my experience on the Peace Train has been amazing. Throughout the whole trip, Sharon has actually inspired me to have a voice and share my personal opinions. With this, I finally understood why Sharon went to these different places where we performed (and in South Africa where she started it all) - it was to stop violence and spread love.So, will you join us in bringing United back to the USA?
TCC's involvement in the Peace Train was another great and positive experience of a lifetime for the 11 chosen members... With all that is going on around the world we need to hear those messages quite often especially from our youth because they are the future… My family and I would also like to thank Trenton Children's Chorus for giving our daughter Paola this great opportunity, which she said was an opportunity of a lifetime!” Pauline Noel (parent)
I found it fun to be traveling around to different states, singing and dancing at nice venues. On the Peace Train Tour Across America 2016, I met new friends, took lots of pictures, learned new songs and dance moves, I learned things about people that I never knew before, and lots of lessons about being a musician. It was a lot if work, but it paid off in the end. Each performance was better than the last, which made our hard work worth it.
One of my favorite moments of the tour was when we performed in Trenton, my home town. During on of the songs, I spotted my grandmother dancing in front with Wendy Quick, the choreographer. They were right in front of the camera, so I'm sure she will be on the video. Also, Nanhlanhla Wanda, from South Africa, gave my grandmother the necklace she wore during the performance for free. She also called me "The Girl". I'd like to think she meant the talented and beautiful girl.
The Peace Train was a great experience. The message that we wanted to give in each performance was the message of peace and love. We said that it is possible, and it must be a priority in order to put the "United" back into the USA.