About Betsy Blakeslee
B Betsy sits at the helm of three projects - World Harmony Chorus in Oakland, VerbQ, and Expressive Arts Refuge. Her choruses have performed at the State of the World Forum and UN Millennium Summit in NYC, and at Freight & Salvage and benefits in the San Francisco Bay.
Her work with refugees spans two decades: She directed expressive arts programs for refugee youth in Bosnia and Croatia during the wars of the 1990s. In 2016 and 2017, her Expressive Arts Refuge team and Moira Smiley have been running similar programs at refugee camps in France and Greece.
A love of language spurred the development of VerbQ -- a thesaurus on steroids -- that builds vocabulary and beefs up the writing of bloggers, students, and writers. With business partner Nicole Janik, VerbQ is in beta-testing until July, 2017, then researching options for moving forward.
World Harmony Chorus
World Harmony Chorus sings stunning arrangements of a cappella world music. Repertoire includes ornamented, hauntingly beautiful Balkan songs, spicy Latin polyrhythms, joyful African music, and little-known traditional songs from five continents. There are no auditions, and no music-reading skills are required. Singers at all levels are welcome, and experienced singers can shine in shared leads. World Harmony Chorus performs several times a semester. To join, just show up at one of the first three rehearsals of the fall semester in Oakland, CA. A top-notch arranger of choral world music, Daniel Steinberg, founder of World Harmony Chorus, directs WHC in Mountain View and Santa Cruz. Betsy directs WHC in Oakland.
VerbQ is a writing tool for bloggers, students, and writers. Its database of 14,000 verbs, verb phrases and phrasal verbs stirs fresh ideas and powers your writing. Search for verbs in groups arranged by topic and spark your writing with fresh writing prompts. Developed over ten years by Betsy Blakeslee and Nicole Janik, with input from over 30 professionals, VerbQ wraps up beta-testing July 1, 2017. We will then research options for going forward... If you love words, check out sample sentences and writing prompts. To beta-test VerbQ, click here We'd love your feedback!
Expressive Arts Refuge
In 2016, Expressive Arts Refuge taught music and produced 3 concerts with refugees in Calais Jungle, France. Over two months, in partnership with NGOs, we also helped develop a play written and acted by refugees, and donated bilingual dictionaries, sleeping bags, shoes, and phone credit for refugees. In July, 2017, Betsy will partner with Caritas to co-lead an intercultural music program for homeless refugees in Calais, France. The EAR team will join her at Skaramagas Refugee Camp near Athens, Greece to run its signature music and English program. EAR never uses donations for its travel, food, or lodging, but assesses the best use of funds from the field. This is an unusual strategy, and we thank you for trusting us.
I THINK OF THOSEContemporary a cappella. SATB. A fresh, original composition with a catchy melody, easy-moderate vocal percussion, awesome harmonies, and optional body percussion by Keith Terry. Lyrics based on Stephen Spender's poem, "I Think Continually of Those who were Truly Great." A great piece for MLK Day and fundraisers. Moderate challenge.
Check back in the fall for World Harmony Chorus and World Harmony Ensemble performances November 2017 - January, 2018
Sept 12, 2017 - Jan 30, 2018
World Harmony Chorus Rehearsals: Tuesdays 7:00-9:00pm. To check it out, just show up at one of the first rehearsals of the fall session. Experienced singers can join later. Lake Merritt Methodist Church, 1330 Lakeshore, Oakland, CA.