In 1991, three women from different labor unions decided that the picket lines needed music. Just like that, the New York City Labor Chorus was born. Twenty years later, the group is still going strong—in fact, one of the founding members, Barbara Bailey, still sings with the group today. The chorus has performed all over the country and in Sweden and Cuba. They even serenaded Pete Seeger's 90th birthday party.
Naturally, the chorus also performed at Zuccotti Park last fall. They also contributed a song for an Occupy radio station and made an appearance in Union Square for May Day.
Members of the chorus are feeling hopeful about the future of the Occupy Movement, but they see that there is still work to be done. "You see a lot of young people, and that's great, but we need more middle-of-the-road, middle class people if we're going to grow and change," said Susan Skolnick, who's in the choir and on the board. She did say that the chorus received more young people as members this year.
The New York City Labor Chorus can next be seen on Saturday, May 12 at the Peoples' Voice Cafe.