September 8, 2013

Waterville rally uses song, socializing to promote peace

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — A small group of people gathered on the front steps of the Waterville Public Library today to sing and dance to a blasting chorus from John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" in what event organizers described as an effort to promote peace through music.

click image to enlarge

As music plays on the steps of the Waterville Public Library, Katherine Dall waves an American flag as people begin to assemble ontoday for the Peace Choir on Gaia event. Sunday was the first day of an event planned to take place for the next three Sundays at noon, to promote peace and to socialize. From left are Katie Feliciano, Dall, Josh Couture and Jade Noonan.

Staff photo by David Leaming

The small group had gathered for the first of a series of singalongs to be held on Sundays from noon to 1 p.m., according to event coordinator Peter Bighope.

Raising his voice to be heard over Lennon's lyrics, Bighope said he hopes that by singing together, people will feel a greater sense of community with the other residents gathered and leave the event with more positive energy than they came with.

Bighope, a disc jockey who moved to Waterville a year ago, said the series is being held by Peace Choir on Gaia, a newly formed organization he is leading. He said they picked a group name with the acronym PeaceCog to symbolize that people who join their sing-for-peace efforts become a cog in the machine for promoting peace.

Katherine Dall, 70, of Waterville, was one of the group of 10 residents in front of the library singing and dancing to the music.

Dall, wearing bright pink lipstick and a purple wig with silver sparkles, said she thinks if the effort catches on, it could help the community get along better and reduce problems such as bullying.

"In order for this country and this world to have peace, we absolutely must join hands and move together ... I have been a peace advocate since Gloria Steinem came into play. I follow her like some people follow the Grateful Dead," she said.

Ginny Faucher, 72, who lives across the street from the library, said she was one of a handful of residents who came to the event after hearing the music. Faucher said she thinks the idea of dancing and singing for peace will be a great thing for the community.

"I think deep down peace is what we all want. Deep down that's what everyone wants," she said.

Bighope said the group isn't affiliated with the library but got permission to use the space from the library's director, Sara Sudgen.

He said along with the group's short-term goal of promoting peace in the area from the library front lawn, he hopes the movement will spread and the group will one day be able to simulcast singalongs from all over the world on its website, PeaceCog.org.

He said the groups long-term goal would be 85,000 people from around the world participating in the singalongs.

Bighope said the number 85,000 people was picked because 85,000 squared is 7,225,000,000, or a little over the current population of the planet. He said that would be symbolic of the group's belief that when a person has positive energy and a belief in peace, it exponentially affects the surrounding area.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
kschroeder@mainetoday.com

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