A Change is Gonna Come Performance and Lifesongs Project

featuring Palaver Strings and Nicholas Phan


This 3-day residency will explore the expressive potential of collaborative music-making, storytelling, and protest through song, and how themes of hope and justice can connect us with each other. The project will celebrate the release of the Change is Gonna Come album while working closely with local community members to write their own stories through the lens of Palaver's Lifesongs Project. Presenters can choose which community, and which members within that community, would benefit most from participating in the Lifesongs songwriting workshop.  Examples of communities could include: an LGBTQ group, an Osher lifelong learning group, an Alateen group, a group of inmates pursuing higher education degrees, etc. 

After a day of songwriting followed by a day of revision/demoing, Palaver and the community songwriters will offer a culminating public performance of the songs, as well as the process-sharing discussion. In a tech-savvy twist, the Lifesongs performance and process-sharing will take place on a green screen, so that the live performers can afterwards be transformed into holograms to be geo-pinned in the community for several weeks to come. Community members can revisit and interact with these augmented reality (AR) performances after the live performance has ended, extending the Lifesongs residency impact and engaging community members in a fun new performance format, powered by the AR platform, ImmerSphere.


Day 1: Lifesongs songwriting workshop. Palaver musicians will work with 3-5 members of the community of your choice to write songs about their life stories or issues that are important to them.

Day 2:  Lifesongs songwriting revision session and creation of take-home demo recordings. Palaver musicians and participating community members will finish the songs and record demo recordings for the community member's personal use.

Day 3: Lifesongs green screen live performance and process-sharing session with public audience, followed by a culminating Change is Gonna Come performance by Palaver Strings and Nicholas Phan

1-3 Months following:  Lifesongs performances will be geo-pinned in the community as an AR installation to be revisited. Any community member can engage with the hologram performances for free using their own smartphones.

A Change is Gonna Come

Featuring Grammy-nominated tenor Nicholas Phan and Palaver Strings, A Change is Gonna Come explores our country’s rich legacy of protest songs. Repertoire includes traditional songs of protest and music inspired by social movements and historical events, including Nico Muhly’s Stranger, Akenya Seymour’s Fear the Lamb, and the premiere of Errollyn Wallen’s Protest Songs. Spanning genres, eras, and movements, A Change Is Gonna Come confronts our past and present and celebrates protest as one of our most precious rights.


Nico Muhly – Stranger
Roberta Slavitt, Alfred Hayes, Malvina Reynolds, arr. Domenic Salerni – Freedom is a Constant Struggle/I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill/It Isn't Nice
Harry Burleigh/ Langston Hughes, arr. Ian Gottlieb – Lovely, Dark and Lonely One
Abel Meeropol/Billie Holiday, arr. Jonathan Bingham – Strange Fruit
Akenya Seymour – Fear the Lamb
Bob Dylan, arr. Domenic Salerni – Blowin’ in the Wind
Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, arr. Domenic Salerni – Fiddle and the Drum/Where Have all the Flowers Gone/What Are You Fighting For?
Errollyn Wallen – Protest Songs (Project Commission)
Sam Cooke, arr. Domenic Salerni – A Change is Gonna Come