THE SPARROW INITIATIVE
The Sparrow Initiative is a performance group co-founded by Alyssa Wills and Amy Joy Stephens that uses the arts to raise awareness for the needs of the community, while producing thought-provoking recitals that engage the audience and foster a deep understanding and appreciation for art, history, and culture.
The Impresario and Other Opera Favorites
A Fundraising Concert
In August of 2022, The Sparrow Initiative presented an exciting evening of opera favorites, such as La Boheme and Elixir of Love, culminating with a performance of Mozart's playful one act opera, "The Impresario," where two divas battle it out to become the ultimate Prima Donna! This fundraising concert reintroduced Sparrow Initiative to the community post-pandemic and helped raise money to make our future projects possible.
A Woman's Voice
Raising awareness for the Victims of Human Trafficking
A Woman's Voice: Raising awareness for the problem of human trafficking in Orange County was our inaugural concert in June of 2019. This concert took place at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach and was to raise awareness and funds for their human trafficking ministry. Exploring the theme of how women share their love as mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives, we sought to help the audience feel a connection to the victims they were there to support. We used both classical art songs and musical theater pieces, along with spoken excerpts from literature, poetry, and scripture. We gave a representative from St. Andrew's human trafficking ministry an opportunity to share the story of one of the suriviors they worked with, and we were able to welcome other organzations who used fashion and jewelry to help raise awareness in the way we were using music. This recital featured Alyssa Wills-soprano, Amy Joy Stephens- soprano, Lesley Baird- mezzo- soprano, and HyeJung Shin- pianist, with a musical program organized and curated by Alyssa Wills.
A Holocaust Memorial Concert
Unsung is a Holocaust Memorial concert that will feature the music of composers who were suppressed during the Nazi regime. This concert will take the audience on a journey from the Theresienstadt concentration camp, as we introduce the composers who lived and died in this camp through their music and excerpts of their letters and writings, to Hollywood film studios, where Jewish composers, separated from their homeland, acted as voices for the horrors that were occurring in Europe. By shining a light on the evils that were endured by the Jewish people during the Holocaust, this concert will serve as a reminder to the audience to never forget our past. The hopeful and persevering tone of the music that these composers wrote is also a strong lesson about the resiliency of the human spirit even under oppression. More information to come.
Songs to Live By
A Night of Sacred Song
Songs to Live By will feature oratorio and sacred concert music by classical composers, along with traditional hymns and spirituals, paired with meditative Scripture passages. The goal of this concert will be to offer the audience a night for reflection and serenity; to refresh their spirit by escaping from the harsh noise of everyday life and taking refuge in beauty. More information to come...
Her Story in Music
Libretto by Alyssa Wills
Music by Kevin Weed
The fascinating story of Joan of Arc comes to life in a four-act opera. From her small village in Domrémy to the battlefields outside of Orleans and finally the burning stake at Rouen, follow the path of this young woman who, despite all odds, followed her calling and changed history, touching the lives of everyone she met along the way.
After a successful sing-through of Act One in August 2021, we are very excited for the future of this project and look forward to putting Act Two on its feet by the end of 2022.
Songs of Comfort and Hope
In response to the challenges of 2020, The Sparrow Initiative presents a digital concert of spiritual music, Scripture passages, and inspirational quotations. We hope this video is a source of comfort, and a resource for prayer and meditation during these difficult times.