Melanie DeMore, Vocal Activist, is one of the most outstanding vocal artists of today helping to preserve the African American Folk Tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding, and was the subject of a documentary called Stick and Pound that showcases this tradition. She has a career spanning thirty years dedicated to teaching, lecturing, mentoring, conducting, directing, and inspiring children and adults about the power of song as social and political change. Melanie is a sought-after presenter, conductor, singer-songwriter, and soloist at national and international choral and music festivals, including Festival 500 in Newfoundland, Canada, and Chorus America. She is Master Teaching Artist for CalPerformances at University of California, Berkeley, adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies, and a featured presenter for SpeakOut! The Institute for Social and Cultural Change. She was a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir and has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with such varied artists as Odetta, Richey Havens, Pete Seeger, the Trinity Choir (New York, New York), VocalEssence (Minneapolis, Minnesota), MUSE Cincinnati Women’s Chorus, and many others.
Melanie believes in the power of voices raised together and tightening the weave of community. She says, “A song can hold you up when there seems to be no ground beneath you.”