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The Riverside Resistance Revival Chorus sings to keep their protests on a high note

By in Press Enterprise on November 19, 2017

By Jeff Horseman

There weren’t picket signs or angry shouts inside Riverside’s Trinity Lutheran Church. But there was a demonstration.

At the Tuesday, Nov. 14, rehearsal of the Riverside Resistance Revival Chorus, at least 20 women sang in a musical expression of progressive unity and activism.

“I will be/your standing stone,” they sang. “I will stand by you.”

Hand claps punctuated “You’ve got to put one foot in front of the other/and lead with love.” Raised hands accompanied “We’ve got to hold everybody! We’ve got to hold everybody up!”

Formed in September, the chorus, which uses the mantra “We Can’t Keep Quiet,” offers women a musical form of activism, a way to protest against President Donald Trump in harmony.

“A lot of us were very angry, very frustrated,” Jerri Mendivel of Riverside, the chorus’s music director, said of Trump’s election. “We’d been writing postcards and signing petitions. But we didn’t feel like we were making the impact we wanted to.”

“For me, this is a way to express protest through creativity and also in a positive, joyful way,” said Mendivel, who describes herself as a lifelong musician.

“I get a lot out of it musically. I feel proactive.”

The chorus is open only to women and anyone who identifies as a woman. The New York City-based Resistance Revival Chorus, of which the Riverside chorus is a chapter, has a similar rule, Mendivel said.

The New York chorus’ online “tool kit” notes that music and protest songs “have always been a hallmark of the great civil rights movements.”

“We aim to bring together, in community, a group of diverse artists to join in songs of resistance and protest with the foundation that JOY is an act of resistance!” the online manual read.

Trump’s election inspired a groundswell of progressive activism, from women’s marches in January attended by millions worldwide to grassroots organizing credited […]    

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