Over the summer, Mary Prete connected us with videographers from Small Forces, part of The Telling Well, which uses the power of story to help inspire the best in the human spirit and promote good work in the world.
Program Assistant Christine Johnson is the first person you see In the new video Small Forces made for us. We asked her to reflect on it and provide a brief intro and here’s what she said, followed by a few thoughts from the videographers:
"Small Steps to Big Stars
I was reading this book the other day titled “Mama’s Rules for Livin'’” by Mamie McCullough. Great book!! On one of the pages was an excerpt:
The man who moves mountains begins by carrying away small stones
To me that’s how Harmony, Hope & Healing started: our beloved founder, Marge Nykaza started with a small existence but a big dream. Now here we are in the production studio.
Not for first time, might I add--we’ve been in production studios before. We’ve even been on stage at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago--where the cast of Empire had been just a few evenings before.
So, yeah, we are stars. All of us! We each have our own unique set of gifts and talents. But when you put us together, we are simply dynamic. Are we one big happy family? Certainly we are.
We support each other. We depend on each other. At times we even lean on each other. When one of us is going through something, such as an illness, we are all impacted by that person’s pain or hardship. We have even felt each other’s pain at times.
But we have one word that we always remember and we even have a song about that word: Bambelela--“never give up.”
We apply it to our everyday lives, our struggles, our hardships, our pains, our everything.
We won’t give up on each other. We won’t give up on ourselves. And you can bet your bottom dollar, we won’t give up on you, either.
We just keep on chipping at the smallest stone. One person can be carrying the stone away. Then you look up and several others have joined in. before you know it, we have moved a great mountain.
Yep. That’s us… Harmony, Hope & Healing -- small people … watching out for each other… working together … huge stars!
Music and so much more"
- Christine Johnson
A note from the filmmakers--Katie Prentiss and Jamie Fleischel shared a few reflections from their process making the video:
"When we first met with Marge and Tina, they expressed how important it was to tell the story of the work HHH does day in and day out. Many people thought HHH was only a choir that performed at Old St. Pat's Church, but in fact it was so much more.
They introduced us to Christine, whose story perfectly captured the essence of what makes HHH so great. Christine is someone who had gone through so much pain, and then healed her life through music and specifically, through HHH.
Further, Christine now works with the program and is part of the choir as well. She found hope, peace, community, and love through music. And she uses her voice to express that to us beautifully and eloquently. She is everything successful about HHH.
The thing that struck me with HHH is the incredible amount of energy that was created during each of the sessions we attended and filmed. It's amazing how something so seemingly simple- gathering, breathing, talking, and singing together - can create such a positively charged atmosphere. Christine became the center of our story for a couple reasons.
She trusted us enough to be very forthright about her personal journey, describing what lead her to HHH and how Marge and the organization altered her life's course. Then, of course, there's the voice! She projects so much power when she sings, whether that's in the basement of St. Martin's or on stage with the choir or singing solo for our cameras."
- Katie and Jamie, Small Forces