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Path With Art Singers: Healing Through Song

December 29, 2015
Get an intimate glimpse of the singing class from Path with Art, a nonprofit organization that utilizes the arts to build community for people overcoming homelessness, addiction and trauma.

Rebekka Goldsmith rushes into the Soundbridge studio, just in time for the Path with Art Singers’ weekly rehearsal. Goldsmith, a leadership consultant for the City of Seattle, has already had a busy day, and she arrives greeted with a buzzing energy from some students. Other students are more subdued, waiting in quiet anticipation for the class to begin.
Goldsmith notes, “I’ll have a mix of people who are really excited to be here, and some people for whom it took everything they had that day to get here. And I don’t take that lightly. I want to make it a space where people feel comfortable showing up as they are.”
The Path with Art Singers is a choir group supported through the organization Path with Art , a Seattle-based nonprofit with a mission to connect people recovering from homelessness, addiction and other trauma to arts programming. It is an effort to harness creative engagement as a means towards community and stability.  
A performance by the Path with Art Singers.
Three members of the choir offer a glimpse into their journeys that brought them to the Path with Art Singers, and the transformative effects that being a part of the choir has had for them. For Andrea Hill, who comes from a family of singers, and Lee Smith, who is a formally trained singer, it is a return to singing. Anitra Freeman is not a shy performer, as a member of the Seattle political singing group The Raging Grannies, but Path with Art allows her to concentrate less on theatrical performance and more on her voice and connecting with fellow choir members.  
While the Path with Art Singers do perform as a formal choir group, the focus for Goldsmith and the choir is not as much about a final performance as it is about the process of each person engaging with their voice — literally and figuratively.
“I get to know people; we get to know each other. It is a loving space that we co-create,” Goldsmith reflects. “And the fact that it’s music! It’s my favorite place to be in relationship to people.”



Song credits:

Breathe In, Breathe out
Words by Tich Nat Hanh, Music by Sarah Dan Jones

We Let the Love
by Rickie Byers Beckwith



Aileen Imperial

Aileen Imperial is a multimedia and documentary producer with a commitment to thoughtful observation and engagement. Her work has aired nationally on the PBS American Masters series, PBS NewsHour, and she is a 4-time Emmy winner for feature videos in the Arts, Culture, and Human Interest. Find her on Twitter: @imperealize

More stories by Aileen Imperial

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Rebekka has been an inspiration to me for decades. I grew up with her. She always put people before herself. Most teenagers were worried about themselves. She was was worried about us and music. I cherish every interaction we ever shared. From New York to Seattle, Rebekka has been a positive influence in the community for a long time.