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, with her Expressive Arts Refuge team and Moira Smiley, she led a similar program at Calais Jungle refugee camp, France.
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 slated to enter beta-testing in late spring, 2017.
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 nearly 8,000 verbs stirs fresh ideas, and powers your writing. Easily search for verbs in groups arranged by topic and spark your writing with dozens of writing prompts. Developed over ten years by Betsy Blakeslee and Nicole Janik, with input from over 30 professionals, VerbQ will enter beta-testing in late spring, 2017. 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. Since the demolition of Calais Jungle, EAR is researching refugee camps in Greece to run our all-volunteer program in summer, 2017. We never use donations for our travel, food, or lodging, but assess 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.
May 20, 2017
4:00 - 5:30 pm: World Harmony Chorus & World Harmony Ensemble perform at a Benefit for Expressive Arts Refuge, Private Home, 25 Parklane Dr, Orinda, CA. Funds support Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Skaramagas Refugee Camp, Greece. Can't come but want to donate?
June 3, 2017
10:00 - 11:00 am: World Harmony Chorus & World Harmony Ensemble perform on KPFA's Music of the World 94.1 FM
June 12, 2017
7:30 pm: World Harmony Chorus & World Harmony Ensemble open for Qadim at a Benefit for JFCS's Immigrant & Refugee Services. Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St, Berkeley, CA
June 18, 2017
4:30 - 5:30 pm. World Harmony Chorus performs at International World Music Day, Palo Alto. Daniel Steinberg and Betsy Blakeslee direct.
Sept 12, 2017 - Jan 30, 2018
Fall Session: Tuesdays 7:00 - 9:00 pm: World Harmony Chorus rehearsals. Stop by mid-September to mid-May (except holidays). Lake Merritt Methodist Church, 1330 Lakeshore, Oakland, CA