If you’ve been to one of our C21 programs, you know we are not just about inspirational singing. Our programs weave in poetry and messages of social justice, consistent with our mission of empowering those who need us most through beautiful, uplifting music, but also through words that elevate the human spirit. Moving forward past 2020, we’re excited to announce that our singers will present their personal interpretation of an inspirational poem, one each week beginning Monday, February 1!

Some poems will be familiar to our supporters, but most will be new. They include verses by Mary Oliver and Clarissa Pinkola Estes, whose works graced past C21 programs, as well as Elizabeth Alexander, Nikki Giovanni, Victoria Safford, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Nobel Prize laureate Wislawa Szymborska, among others. Please join us as we present relevant voices from the present and past as we strive to convey the power of expression, from the personal to the universal, especially in these times of continued social distance.

"Our Passion for Justice" - Carter Heyward


C21 member Terri Schultz performs "Our Passion for Justice" by Reverend Carter Heyward. One of the Philadelphia Eleven,  Heyward is a feminist writer and theologian.

"The New Colossus" - Emma Lazarus

C21's Diane Deckert performs the famous poem that has come to be synonymous with the Statue of Liberty, "The New Colossus" by poet Emma Lazarus.

"Phase One" - Dilruba Ahmed

C21's Lindsay Bruce performs poet and educator Dilruba Ahmed's poem, "Phase One."

"The Journey" - Mary Oliver

C21's Amanda Thomas performs  Mary Oliver's poem "The Journey."

"Wild Geese" - Mary Oliver

C21's Kate Burch performs poet and nature lover Mary Oliver's beloved poem, "Wild Geese."

"To be of use" - Marge Piercy

C21 member Joan Pederson performs writer and feminist Marge Piercy's poem. 

"Possibilities" - Wislawa Szymborska

C21 member Erin Fox performs a poem by Nobel Prize-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska. 

"The Small Work In The Great Work" - Reverend Victoria Safford

C21 member Lauren Schachter performs Reverend Victoria Safford's essay "The Small Work In The Great Work" from the collection The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Perseverance and Hope in Troubled Times. 

"On Beauty" - Kahlil Gibran

For our next C21 Poetry Project installment, member Muriel Reymond performs a piece by the poet and artist Kahlil Gibran.

"Phenomenal Woman" - Maya Angelou

For our second poetry project installment,

C21 member Judy Earley performs a piece by poet Maya Angelou. 

"Eagle Poem" - Joy Harjo

In the first video for our poetry project,

C21 member Lynnette Li performs a piece by United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.

"Still I Rise" - Maya Angelou


C21 member Aisha Ellis performs "Still I Rise" by writer and activist Maya Angelou. A renowned poet and memoirist, Angelou received more than more than 50 honorary degrees throughout her career.

"We Are Virginia Tech" - Nikki Giovanni


C21 member Jess Vogt performs "We Are Virginia Tech." Written by longtime Virginia Tech faculty member and poet Nikki Giovanni in response to the 2007 mass shooting on campus, this piece was first performed at the school's convocation that year.