Hali Hammer is an award winning singer-songwriter who has sung and played for peace and political causes for over four decades. Aside from writing and performing her own music, she is a member of Freedom Song Network and plays in several groups: the Jump-In band (which plays "folk & oldies - don't say it too fast!"), The Alouettes (a women's quartet) and The ReSisters (a trio of women performing political parodies by Bernard Gilbert as well as their originals). She was the coordinator of the 2003 Berkeley Free Folk Festival and edited the Oakland/East Bay NOW newsletter for 10 years. Hali was a primary organizer for Citizens to Save Minnewaska in upstate New York, which is now Minnewaska Lake State Park instead of a Marriott property. She was a member of the chorus that sang onstage behind Nelson Mandela at the Oakland Coliseum. Her feet are tired from too many years of marching against war, but they are now happy feet, in the street at Occupations Everywhere. She is "Pre-Occupied" these days, and thrilled to be obsessed with Occupella.
Betsy Rose is a singer songwriter, and community song leader, and a pioneering voice in the emerging Women’s Cultural Movement of the 70’s and 80’s. Her songs have been sung or recorded by Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Meg Christian and Cris Williamson, and Bobbi McFerron, as well as women’s choirs and choruses. After Sept 11, 2001, Betsy created Singing For Peace, groups of non professional singers gathering in public to sing songs of healing and peace. She also offers Womansong Circles, participatory singing groups for women, in the Bay Area and nationally.
Betsy is a long time leader in the family practice program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre,CA, creating music for children and families that encourages mindfulness, compassion, care for the earth, and peacemaking. She brings music of mindfulness, and of social history and peacemaking, to elementary school children throughout the Bay Area. And now Occupella – a joyful and energizing way of supporting the Occupy movement- is a 2011-12 vehicle for expressing her commitment to community singing for justice as a powerful tool for change.
Nancy Schimmel: I’ve been writing songs since 1975, and singing at rallies, marches and picket lines with the Freedom Song Network since it started in 1982. I sang with the Threshold Choir http://thresholdchoir.org/ for the first five years of its existence. Now I sing with the Organic Women’s Chorus (fresh, local and seasonal). I write children’s songs as well as political and personal songs http://www.sisterschoice.com and I’m a member of the Children’s Music Network http://www.cmnonline.org/
I volunteer at Washington Elementary School in Berkeley, singing and telling stories. I also try out new songs fairly often at the monthly open mike at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarians and Universalists. Favorite sport: ball with the dog. Favorite bran muffin: Bateau Ivre on Telegraph. Favorite scone: Actual Café on San Pablo. Favorite beignet: Powderface at the Fruitvale BART plaza.