Gracie Laboy


Why did you join Tonality?

I joined Tonality because I had just moved to Los Angeles and was seeking to be part of a group that was musically talented, but that also fostered a sense of community and valued diversity. I wanted to make friends, be part of a group that sang diverse repertoire, and give back to my new LA community. Three different people I met through networking events recommended that I try out for the group, and all three sounded so genuinely excited whenever they mentioned Tonality, so I could tell there was something special there.

Why do you feel a group like this is important?

Tonality is more than just a choir, it is a community of people from all walks of life who are actively trying to raise awareness for important causes and issues, and to start difficult but necessary conversations both within the Los Angeles community and beyond. We are all doing this important work both in and outside of musical mediums. In our society, we are taught to avoid things that make us uncomfortable and to stop the tears when we feel like crying, but Tonality is a unique organization that promotes genuine expression of emotions, connection and storytelling. Tonality embraces the power of vulnerability, and it is infectious to whoever comes to our concerts. We sometimes need to feel uncomfortable in order to inspire change, and that is exactly what Tonality does. It is also important for youth to be exposed to groups like Tonality, so that they can see the power of storytelling, activism, and community-building, and so they can see themselves in a diverse group of talented professional musicians.

What is a particular moment you remember from singing in a Tonality concert?

There are too many moments to list! I love how at all our concerts we have ASL interpreters and people share personal stories related to the subject matter. Singing “At War With Ourselves” by Michael Abels and Nikky Finney with the Kronos Quartet and singing “Kalief Browder” by Brad Wells have been two of the most powerful musical experiences I’ve ever had. Getting to sing backup for Bjork and Kelly Clarkson was incredible as well!