On April 28, The Angel Band Project took our music on the road to Madison, WI. There, we were invited to share our story at the Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon. It was a powerful tribute to the survivors of sexual violence and their allies and advocates who work every day to make life better.
Jen shared her personal story of survival in the aftermath of her and Teresa’s tragedy with this intimate audience. Her courage to stand up and speak was nothing short of remarkable. She got a standing ovation upon finishing her speech, and we finished off our presentation with a video of the Angel Band Project story. To look around the room, and know all of the brave survivors who are on their own journeys of healing were somehow touched by the music, the story, and Jen’s strength, created quite an impact for all of us.
Afterwards, we walked about three blocks in the misty rain and cold to the Capitol. There, a crowd of over 100 literally “wrapped around the capitol” holding 10 foot strips of denim, a nod to Denim Day which had been celebrated two days prior.
As Jen took the microphone and led a beautiful medley of three songs from the “Take you with me” album, these survivors and advocates rallied for peace, justice, and hope. It was really cool to look out into the crowd and see people singing along to our title track, “Take you with me.” (Hannah, you would have been proud!)
At one point, I remember looking over at Jean, watching Jen sing, and then glancing up at the sky. I just felt that Teresa was watching and smiling down on us that afternoon.
Led by the strong women of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Office of Justice Assistance, we joined together in taking a stand to keep fighting on behalf of survivors of sexual violence.
We were honored to be a part of these events, and we are more energized than ever to “take the music where we go.” One song at a time, one survivor at a time.
Kudos to journalist Eli Sanders for winning a coveted 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his feature story, The Bravest Woman in Seattle. Published in the Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger on June 15, 2011, the award is given “for a distinguished example of feature writing giving prime consideration to quality of writing, originality and concision.”
One of the first people Eli contacted after receiving word of this award was Jennifer Hopper, the subject of his article, who selflessly opened up to him in order to write this story. Jennifer’s harrowing accounts of the events of July 19, 2009, presented during her testimony during the trial of Isaiah Kalebu, are revealed in this story, along with her depiction of the beautiful relationship she shared with Teresa.
We hope that this recognition furthers empathy and discussion on the realities of sexual violence in our society. And that other victims will share this bravery and fearlessly come forward with their stories.
Artist Erin Rieke’s painting, “Cry No More,” is being auctioned off as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Place your bid now. The auction runs April 17-27. Proceeds benefit The Angel Band Project in our efforts to help victims of sexual violence in their path towards healing.
Erin, a sexual assault survivor, says, “I turned to art to project my emotions through color and texture when my words fell short. My artwork has always been prompted by music. Joining forces with The Angel Band Project – creating a work inspired by the spiritually uplifting music that rose out of the ashes of pain – gives me the hope that perhaps my art will give hope to others in a way that The Angel Band Project has given me hope.”
We truly appreciate Erin’s contribution and hope you will consider bidding on this stunning original piece.
On April 20, a very special evening of music and dance is planned during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It’s called Dance Back the Night. Along with dinner and a variety of live music performances, the Angel Band Project will be featured in a truly unique way.
Dancer Pamela Luedtke will perform a moving performance piece to our title track, “Take you with me.” Pamela was a soloist with the Mary Anthony Dance for eight years and worked with dance greats such as Anna Sokolow, Bertram Ross, and Agnes de Mille before moving to Central Wisconsin.
We are honored that the event organizers decided to include us in their program. Thanks to Korina Publanz and staff at Safe Haven for this most wonderful opportunity. Yet another creative way that the project is touching lives through music.
On April 17, The Angel Band Project will hold an online art auction in conjuction with national Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.
Artist Erin Rieke, owner of DivineMoira Fine Art, is donating an abstract painting that she is creating specifically in connection with this issue. She has been inspired by music on the “Take you with me” benefit album, and hopes to share that inspiration through this work of art.
The Angel Band Project exists to help victims of sexual violence on their path towards healing. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will be used to support programming that directly helps survivors and to raise awareness on this issue.
Online bidding will start on April 17 via eBay auctions. We thank Erin for her generosity and hope you will consider bidding on her beautiful painting.
On April 28, we will be joining hundreds of survivors of sexual violence as well as those in the anti-sexual violence movement in the first annual “Wrap Around the Capitol” in Madison. The Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA) has invited the Angel Band Project to attend this exciting event, which will include the distribution of “Voice of Courage” awards to those who are doing extraordinary advocacy work in Wisconsin. The event will culminate with a huge group sing-a-long of Angel Band Project songs. Hundreds of us will sing out in support of victims of sexual violence, to let them know they are not alone and that we care. This is a huge honor and we are so thankful to the staff of WCASA for reaching out to us!