Special guest on Solidarity Wisconsin Friday 10am: Chris Reeder, song leader of Solidarity Sing Along

I’m pleased as punch to welcome Chis Reeder to the 10AM Solidarity Wisconsin online radio show today.

Here’s a link to the archived show.

If you haven’t heard of the Solidarity Sing Along group, it might be because you’re not from Wisconsin or Spain. Yes-Spain!

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The pro-union songsters who sing at Wisconsin’s Capitol building on every weekday noon to 1PM gained a flurry of positive Wisconsin press including a Sunday May 15 Wisconsin State Journal piece. Now their fame is international due to a YouTube Spanish version of “We Shall Not Be Moved” called “No Nos Moveron”


The video at this moment is at 48,000+ hits and comments from Spain are gushy with thanks:
“Thank you Winsconsin Im sleeping in Seville camping the capital of the south region, its nice see videos like it :). Thank you so much Winsconsin :)”

Two days of the week the singers gather outside the Capitol, as seen in the video, and 3 days of the week, they assemble inside. The singing project is supported by the

Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice or “WNPJ” for short. The recipe for a solidarity sing along project seems rather simple to me: select a song leader, print song books, maintain a facebook page, come to the Capitol building, sing.

But it does help to have a song leader like Chris. Chris is unfailingly positive, injects humor in between songs, and he does not just conduct. Chris does a blend of conducting and dancing which creates an exuberant force field that helps his untrained singers lose the stage fright they may have brought with them. You might catch a little exuberance yourself from this video:

Some of the songs Chis leads have so much natural punch, singers need almost no nudging to fill their lungs with them. “Solidarity Forever” is the favorite song of the group and a chief example. Here is an excerpt from “Solidarity Forever” inside the Capitol rotunda:

I love the sound of those reverberating voices. But not everybody does. Republican Rep. Michelle Litjens from Oshkosh tweeted:
“I’ve had enough! One hour of union protesters singing, “We Will Overcome” etc. in the Capital Rotunda!!! When with the insanity end!”

And a Republican and Waukesha Rep., Paul Farrow, complained the singers have been disrupting work in the Capitol. According to a June 2nd MJS article, “groups visiting the Capitol are typically required to fill out a permit application to prevent scheduling conflicts. Farrow said the Solidarity Singers have not filed a permit and should be required to do so.”

In the article, Chris is quoted in reply: “If you’re going to start requiring permits for people to come in and make their voices heard, I think you’ve crossed the line then.”

I hope you’ll tune in to the live show! If you can not, there will be an archived podcast waiting here on the blog for you later.