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Cantus Concerts Featuring YWCA Minneapolis Social Justice Mission

By Zachary Colby, tenor in Cantus and YWCA fitness member
March 27, 2017
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My YWCA Community

On June 26, 2015 I was on the treadmill at YWCA Downtown when something on the announcement of national marriage equality for all flashed across the TV. I, of course, burst into tears and had to pause my workout to take in that historic moment. Feeling a little embarrassed, I looked around and two treadmills down was a woman having a similar reaction and we laughed with each other. All over the gym, people were pausing to watch the news and make phone calls to loved ones. This is why I love being a member of YWCA Minneapolis, a community of folks who believe in social justice and strive to live their healthiest life.

A Vocal Ensemble (with a Social Justice Mission)

I’m a professional singer with Cantus, an eight-member men’s vocal ensemble with a national and international touring profile, based right here in the Twin Cities. In fact, we rehearse at Westminster Presbyterian Church, just across the street from YWCA Downtown. Our mission is to give voice to shared human experience and in our programming we often strive to highlight social justice themes, singing music from early 13th century polyphony to Beyoncé covers. Beginning Friday, March 31 we are presenting a concert called America Will Be! that focuses on the victories and continuing struggle for women’s rights, race rights and LGBT rights.

Concerts Include YWCA Racial Justice Video Message

When we began working on this project, I knew we needed to get YWCA Minneapolis on board because of their commitment to empowering women and eliminating racism. They have kindly helped us produce videos featuring YWCA Racial Justice facilitators and employees who talk about their experiences with these issues right here in our own community. These videos will be played during our America Will Be! concert series. There will also be a post-performance discussion at most concerts with YWCA Minneapolis Racial Justice facilitators to empower our audiences to make a difference. This program will be a powerful mediation on all we have achieved and where we have to go, and would not have been possible without YWCA’s input and facilitation.

You’re Invited to Attend

I’d love to invite my YWCA family to come partake in these performances and get to know Cantus better. This will be a celebration of our fellow human being, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, religion, financial standing, age or creed. We all have something special to offer this world and when people feel safe and valued, we can band together to create a healthy, vibrant community full of varied perspectives.

The concert series runs March 31 – April 9 at location across the Twin Cities. You can find more information about us and this upcoming concert run at and find recordings of us at our SoundCloud page

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