Alone Together: Connecting a City with One Voice

2012, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, Cities, Arts + Culture, Community Building

15 local musicians. 10 locations around the city. 5 days of filming. 1 song: One Voice

The SFU Public Square ONE VOICE Music Project is an exciting initiative that harnesses the power of music, media, performance and collaboration to bridge across differences and inspire meaningful connections between (and an appreciation for) our diverse community members. The project includes a music video featuring the internationally-acclaimed song “One Voice’ written by Juno award-winning Canadian singer/songwriter, Ruth Moody. Artistic Director: Sarah Van Borek; Musical Director: Adam Dobres.

Premier: Tue, 18 Sep 2012

@Opening Night at the Orpheum!

Vancouver Orpheum Theatre
884 Granville Street, Vancouver

About Alone Together: Connecting in the City

In this inaugural SFU Public Square Community Summit, we explored the issue of civic disconnection and discussed ways of strengthening engagement across community and cultural divides. Over six event packed days, we heard from citizens, artists, librarians, businesses, film makers, and mayors in our region, we learned how youth would create a more connected city, and we celebrated the extra-ordinary people who surround us and work to make our lives better, bringing neighbourhoods and communities together.

Learn More

"One Voice" Lyrics

This is the sound of one voice
One spirit, one voice
The sound of one who makes a choice
This is the sound of one voice

This is the sound of voices two
The sound of me singing with you
Helping each other to make it through
This is the sound of voices two

This is the sound of voices three
Singing together in harmony
Surrendering to the mystery
This is the sound of voices three

This is the sound of all of us
Singing with love and the will to trust
Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust
This is the sound of all of us

This is the sound of one voice
One people, one voice
A song for every one of us
This is the sound of one voice
This is the sound of one voice


Dan Moxon – Piano & Vocals

Filmed at Creekside Community Centre, Vancouver

Dan is a founding member of Vancouver’s rock sensation Bend Sinister and an award-winning film composer. Bend Sinister grew to success touring Canada and with one of their first singles Time Breaks Down that made CBC’s Top 10 songs from Canada in 2008. In 2009 the band won a Music BC contest with a $50,000 prize and headed to Toronto in 2010 where they toured non stop their release Spring Romance who’s single Things Will Get Better again made the CBC’s Top 10 songs list. This year he also just won a Leo Award for the feature length film he scored, Sisters and Brothers by Carl Bessai.

I like the collaborative aspect of bringing in all the different ethnicities and having people from all different senses of world music play together and that sense of community where I don’t necessarily always get to play and be on the same sort of tracks as those people.

Jian Ming Pan – Chinese Flute

Filmed at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, Vancouver

A Chinese bamboo flute teacher, Pan enrolled as a student in the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1958 and graduated in 1967. Then he performed for the Model Opera it was top level of music group in China during that time. In 1972, Pan broadened his studies as a research fellow with Shanghai Museum, especially in the areas of Chinese history and arts. Since Pan's arrival Canada in 1988, he has performed in many festivals and joined many recordings for CBC, TV and CDs, and his students received the champions in Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival.

I love to participate in the "One Voice" music video, because it speaks to the themes of social solidarity, multiculturalism, and community connectedness in the urban environment. Also through the project I meet new friends and learn from others.

Israel “Toto” Berriel – Afro-Cuban percussion & vocals

Filmed at Coal Harbour Community Centre, Vancouver

Israel “Toto” Berriel is a traditional Afro-Cuban percussionist and vocalist from Matanzas, Cuba who has toured worldwide. Toto began his professional music career at the young age of 16 in Los Yumurinos, a group formed by the children of the famous groups Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and AfroCuba de Matanzas, two well-recognized traditional AfroCuban groups. In 1988 he joined AfroCuba de Matanzas for two years until he was invited to join the world's best-known Rumba group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas." Toto" worked with the Los Muñequitos for twelve years learning the entire AfroCuban repertoire.

When you get into another culture, another music, you can see another world, you know? Me, for example, when I get into another music, for me it’s a new school – to start to learn music again. Music and culture.

Annie Brown – Celtic Fiddle

Filmed at Jericho Sailing Centre, Vancouver

A sought after teacher and community organizer, Annie is a well known and highly regarded session fiddler in the Vancouver Celtic scene who has played in several successful ensembles. Currently performs with ‘Psycho Acoustic Ceili Band’ and ‘Thereafter’.

There’s an incredible richness and humour in discovering what other peoples’ modes of creation and expressing themselves are. And there’s an awful lot of common ground.

Shanto Acharia – Celtic Cello

Filmed at Jericho Sailing Centre, Vancouver

As an accomplished composer, seasoned performer and versatile musician, Juno award winner Shanto Acharia (Fond of Tigers) has been able to collaborate with some of the finest talent in music, film, theatre and dance. Recently he composed the score for Hot Shots Short Film Competition finalist, `Monster’ (Deerbear Productions). Currently, he is very excited to be a part of the roots driven supergroup, 'Thereafter'.

My mother’s Polish and my father is East Indian, so I was naturally born into 2 cultures. So I had to figure out how to reconcile them, and it’s been an extremely rewarding, amazing journey. And if anyone is inclined to do that, they won’t regret it. They’ll just enhance their lives in countless ways. This project epitomizes that.

Kurai Blessing Mubaiwa – Zimbabwean Mbira & Vocals

Filmed at Britannia Community Centre, Vancouver

Kurai Blessing Mubaiwa was born in 1976 in the village of Mutimbanyoka, in Murewa district, Zimbabwe. He began playing mbira (or “thumb piano”) at the age of six, and later went on to develop his talents in singing, dance, drums and marimba. Kurai has gone on to tour worldwide as a solo artist and in various groups. In 1998 Kurai toured West Africa and Europe with Chiwoniso Maraire and opened for Cesaria Evora. In 2000 he joined Theatre Talipot in Reunion Island performing in the production, Passage, which toured South Africa, France and Scotland. Kurai immigrated to Vancouver in 2002 where he began his Canadian musical journey. He continues to facilitate workshops across North America and Europe. and currently performs as the lead musician with the group ZimbaMoto and Zhambai Trio.

I decided to be part of this project because I truly feel that we are one people. Regardless of our colours and where we come from, we still belong to the same world, same love. We should be working together.

M’Girl  – Aboriginal Women Voices & Drumming

M’Girl is: Renae Morriseau, Jenifer Brousseau, Tiare Laporte, Tiffany Moses, Tracey Weitzel

Filmed at Carnegie Community Centre, Vancouver

M’Girl (pronounced “Ma’Girl”) is a combination of aboriginal women’s voices, harmonies, languages and stories from various Nations across Turtle Island (North America), led by Renae Morriseau.  M’Girl fuses traditional indigenous songs with a contemporary flare, with a lens in how their cultural practices (Saulteaux, Ojibway, Metis, Dene, Cree) celebrate purpose, and vision for, Mother Earth.

Being a part of the “One Voice” project is something that is very much a part of what M’Girl is with regards to community engagement, and the process of sharing our music and receiving music from our various communities that we’re in. …a lot of the songs that we talk about are about community… about family, and about our place in the fabric of our families and our community. This project “One Voice” is an opportunity for M’Girl to share our voice with many other people, many other cultures, many other ways of expressing the worldview of community.

Renae Morriseau

Being First Nations in a First Nations’ group, we place high value on coming together as a community. We all come from various different nations and we come together and we’re bridging the gap within the Aboriginal community. And in doing this project, we have a vision to share what we are already doing together and bridge that gap with all cultures across the country and throughout the world. So this is definitely a part of who we are as a group, and a part of who we are as individuals.

 Jenifer Brousseau (M’Girl)

Renae Morriseau
Tiare Laporte
Tracey Weitzel
Jenifer Brousseau
Tiffany Moses

Paul Latta – Polynesian Ukelele & Drums

Filmed at Bear Creek Park, Surrey

One of the most sought after educators of Polynesian & Pacific Rim studies, specializing in indigenous traditional & contemporary Polynesian dance, music, costume, art, history, & performance, Paul Tavai-Latta is a recognized educator on Maohi (Polynesian) culture. Paul & his dancers continue to set standards and break records for Polynesian dance & entertainment in Canada and abroad.

Paul holds the only Master's Degree in Hula & Pacific Dance in Canada! With over 49  years of entertainment and 41 years of teaching behind him, Paul still considers himself more a student of Polynesia than ever before, dedicated to preserving and perpetuating the Polynesian culture, and with no signs of slowing down.

“Alo” means a close friend and your “ha” means your inner breath, in fact your actual soul, so when you say to someone “Aloha” you’re giving your most inner self to a very special friend and we hope that with this song and with many other similar projects we can share the true “Aloha” spirit outside of Polynesia to everyone. Mahalo.

Deirdra Kiai – Balkan Sousaphone

Filmed at Burnaby Mountain Park

Deirdra Kiai is a multi-instrumentalist who primarily dabbles in low brass. She played tuba for several years in junior high and high school, only to pick it up again in 2009 after happening upon a Craigslist ad posted by a local Balkan brass band seeking the services of someone to round out their bottom end. Deirdra's been happily tooting along with Orkestar Slivovica ever since, and very much enjoys the challenge presented by the odd time signatures and phrygian dominant scales characteristic of Balkan music. When not performing music, Deirdra can be found developing artistic videogames.

I am from a huge mishmash of cultures myself. My parents are from the Philippines and Iran and I was born and raised in Canada and I’m playing music from the Balkans! So it’s really important to respect everyone’s cultural traditions while at the same time experiencing so many of them and just being able to learn and share with each other… ‘cause there’s a lot of understanding between all of the different cultures. We’re not really that much different from one another and that’s beautiful.

Reza Honari – Persian Kamanche

Filmed at Eagles Estate Heritage Garden, Burnaby

Reza Honari immigrated to Canada from Iran in 1985. He has been actively pursuing the art of Persian traditional and folk music. In addition to giving numerous “family” concerts for the Persian community living in North America, Reza has performed in several music festivals. Reza grew up in the Baluchistan and Khorasan provinces of Iran and is familiar with the folk music of these parts of the country. Along with his family, Reza have introduced the beautiful melodies of Baluchistan to Iranians abroad and to the North American audiences, by performing at music festivals, concerts and playing on CBC Radio.

I truly believe that music is a kind of international language. Even if you cannot speak any other languages, with music you can communicate very efficiently. I truly enjoy playing with other people, playing other music. It makes me feel like I’m part of the whole society of my fellow human beings.

Shivangi Bhayana – Vocals

Filmed at North Surrey Recreation Centre, Surrey

Born and raised in Vancouver, Shivangi could have been born with a mic in hand.  Her foray into musical talent emerged at the tender age of four and she has since performed on hundreds of stage shows across Canada, USA, and India. Shivangi has been covered by leading TV Channels (National and Local), radio stations throughout North America, and newspapers and magazines. During her adolescence, Shivangi moved to the city of dreams, Mumbai, India - where she expanded her knowledge of North Indian Classical Music.  While in India, she performed at Mumbai Police Show, Juhu Music Festival, and worked with Bollywood’s Top Music Director, Monty Sharma. As her first break, she was Background Vocalist and Background Lyricist in the Bollywood film, APNE.  

Music is one thing that joins everyone… I also feel at the same time that regardless of music, any art form or anything, we should all connect as a community together and it’s very important because the more we learn about other peoples’ religion or cultures, we actually end up learning more about ourselves, because that’s a reflection of who we are and then that’s who we become.


Ruth Moody – “One Voice” Songwriter

Ruth Moody is a Juno Award winning songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Founding member of the internationally renowned, Billboard-charting trio The Wailin’ Jennys and former lead singer of the Canadian roots band Scruj MacDuhk.  Ruth has been recognized by the USA Songwriting Competition and the International Songwriting Competition for several of her compositions, including ‘One Voice,’ which has gone on to be a signature song for The Wailin’ Jennys and also appeared on Putumayo’s ‘Women of the World, Acoustic’ album in 2007.  It has been covered by countless artists and has been performed in concert halls, churches and schools throughout the world.

Adam Dobres – Musical Director

Canadian guitarist Adam Dobres began his love of the guitar at 12 years of age when his father brought home a guitar from the local thrift shop. Although he is classically trained, Adam is like a guitar chameleon- he fully embodies the energy and spirit of whatever music he playing. From playing Celtic music with some of Canada’s finest fiddle players including Daniel Lapp and Pierre Schryer, Adam has branched out to Pop Rock with Toni Childs, Bluegrass, Old Time string music, Jazz, Klezmer, Rock and Roll and to jamming with other musicians playing instruments from various cultural backgrounds such as the Sitar, Turkish Lira and African Kora.  Adam feels the reason he explores so many different styles and textures of music is because music is a universal language that can bridge any culture. Humble and shy by nature, the guitar has become Adam’s voice to deliver his purpose in life- to reach out to others and uplift their spirits by reminding them of the beauty and wonder of life.

Sarah Van Borek – Artistic Director

Sarah Van Borek is a filmmaker, musician, artist, and educator dedicated to global citizenship through the arts. Sarah works in collaboration with communities to design and implement innovative media strategies that empower these communities to tackle complex challenges while building their community connections. Sarah’s work has been featured in film festivals and on TV across North America and Africa, and by high profile organizations including National Film Board of Canada and CBC Radio Canada International. Sarah has provided community outreach & media services to SFU for over 3 years, currently teaches in the faculty of Culture and Community at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and looks forward to many more adventures of creating possibilities together.

Project Team

Sarah Van Borek – Artistic Director

Adam Dobres – Musical Director

Jeremy Therrien – Sound Assistant

Hanah Van Borek – Production Assistant

Special Thanks

Ruth Moody – “One Voice” Songwriter

Ethel Whitty, Carnegie Community Centre

Mandie Stebbings, North Surrey Recreation Centre

Britanny Wong, Coal Harbour Community Centre

Manabu Koshimura, Creekside Community Centre

Cynthia Low, Britannia Community Centre

Penny Street, Britannia Neighbours

Pat Davitt, Britannia Neighbours

Sara Orchard, City of Vancouver Green Streets

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Mike Cotter, Jericho Sailing Centre

Tamsin Baker, TLC The Land Conservancy of BC

Brandi Carr, City of Surrey Film Office

Cathy Durkin, City of Vancouver Film Office

Hoi Bing Mo, City of Burnaby Film Office

Helen Chiu, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

Terry Hunter, Vancouver Moving Theatre

Sandy Scofield

Naveen Girn

Angelo Moroni

Elspeth Dobres

Further Reading

Connecting a City with One Voice
By Sarah Van Borek, Artistic Director (SFU Public Square ONE VOICE Music Project)

Reports and Resources

Alone Together: Connecting in the City Events

  • Alone Together: A Mini Film Festival

    Cities, Community Building, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, 2012, Arts + Culture

    Films from across the globe, exploring the issue of isolation in the urban environment, was screened at the Westminster Savings Credit Union SFU Surrey Theater for the Alone Together Film Festival.

    Read More →

  • Rain City Chronicles – Extra Ordinary

    Arts + Culture, Cities, Community Building, 2012, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City

    An evening of storytelling and music, this event featured extra–ordinary community folks sharing personal reflections on how they have brought their neighborhoods and communities together.

    Read More →

  • Urban Conspiracy Cabaret

    Arts + Culture, Cities, Community Building, 2012, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City

    CBC Debaters Charlie Demers and Richard Side hosted a unique and eclectic night of comedy, music, arts and poetry.

    Read More →

  • Lonely in Vancouver | City Conversations

    Cities, Community Building, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, 2012, Series City Conversations

    As part of the SFU Public Square Community Summit, City Conversations will feature a dialogue on the Vancouver Foundation report on isolation in the region, featuring the foundation’s Catherine Clement, Vice President, Public Engagement and Communications, and Daphne Bramham, award-winning columnist for the Vancouver Sun.

    Read More →

  • Creating A Connected City: The Role of Business in Addressing Urban Isolation

    Cities, Community Building, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, 2012, Economy, Future of Work

    Metro Vancouver's business leaders discussed the role that the business community plays in building urban connections.

    Read More →

  • Big Ideas for Libraries in Communities

    Cities, Community Building, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, 2012, Arts + Culture

    Community spirit thrived at libraries – virtual, cooperative, academic and public! We heard the top ten ideas submitted by community members, on how libraries can contribute to building stronger and more meaningful connections.

    Read More →

  • Our Voices: Youth Building a Connected City

    Cities, Community Building, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, 2012

    Designed for youth, by youth, explored issues related to isolation and disconnection while helping develop solutions at this interactive daylong conference.

    Read More →

  • Opening Night at the Orpheum!

    Cities, Community Building, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, 2012

    Where it all began! Featured some of Canada's innovative minds discussing how we can create more connected communities. With special appearances by Bend Sinister and Shane Koyczan.

    Read More →

  • Alone Together: Connecting a City with One Voice

    2012, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, Cities, Arts + Culture, Community Building

    The SFU Public Square ONE VOICE Music Project is an exciting initiative that harnesses the power of music, media, performance and collaboration to bridge across differences and inspire meaningful connections between (and an appreciation for) our diverse community members.

    Read More →

  • Open Space

    Cities, Community Building, Summit Alone Together Connecting in the City, 2012

    A public square is not only a place for SFU to engage with the community, it is also a space where individuals and community groups may self-organize. We were excited to offer free open space at our three SFU campuses as part of the Alone Together Community Summit.

    Read More →