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Choir voices message of inclusiveness

Michiana residents with very different backgrounds find common ground through music.

They call themselves The Ripple Effect and they’re sending waves of change to their communities by singing.

Sunday’s concert titled “If You Knew Me, You’d Love Me” was an open letter to all with the message of understanding.

Those messages were sung loud and clear during the group’s practice.

“Through music and through stories, we can come together and we can find common ground and find ways to love each other,” said vocalist Abby Thomas.

The diverse team sees each other as more than just choir mates.

They’re advocates for each other and for the communities they represent.

“A lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds as you heard and it’s nice to walk into an environment and all of a sudden you know everybody,” said vocalist Gail Banister.

The group warmed up to an acoustic performance backstage while folks started trickling into the main stage.

They said once the show starts, they’ll be prepare to sing a message that embodies who they are.

“Being inclusive and building bridges and not looking at someone for what you see but who they are,” said Banister.

This group was once strangers separated by different backgrounds.

They’re now family sharing the same goal of inclusion.

“At the end of the day we all just want to be love and we want to have a family we want to have a place where we feel like we can be fully ourselves,” said Thomas.

Their concert was also a fundraiser for La Casa de Amistad, a community center on South Bend’s west side.

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