Detroit, Michigan – “City of Heart and Soul”
Witnessing spring, we are amazed at how bountiful plants grow out of rocky, seemingly lifeless soil. This fact of metamorphosis can also be seen as the forces of growth of individuals and even whole communities. Just as tender seedlings emerge from apparently barren ground, so too can societies be reborn out of disorganization. Over the course of time, a number of urban areas have re-emerged from a place of darkness. One example is Detroit, Michigan, once a bustling, vital economic center, which experienced a plunge into less favorable times. Yet this mid-western city, perched between Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, is showing clear signs of regeneration. Detroit is re-defining itself and reforming in new and positive ways.
It is a place of great opportunity. The enthusiasm to revitalize the area was recently likened to the California Gold Rush, as demonstrated by the people who have flocked to Detroit to take advantage of the low housing prices and favorable investment prospects.* Many have come to start businesses and take part in the rebuilding process. These people, dedicated to realizing Detroit’s potential, have arrived with creative ideas to remake this urban setting.
It is both the charm and the challenges that draw people to Detroit. The list of new initiatives continues to grow. There are those who have bought up dilapidated structures and are refurbishing them; others who have opened restaurants, sporting goods stores, and coffee shops. One man used his own money to purchase vacant lots and gather volunteers to plant 15,000 trees.* The transformation of broken down neighborhoods into attractive areas is on the rise.
It is this community spirit that inspires LANA to embrace this region of our country during the upcoming International Lyre conference. This deed of consciously carrying the torch of human dignity into places that have been affected by abandonment can be of great spiritual significance for all of us.
It is our sincere hope to bring the healing aspects of the lyre and singing to an area that can benefit meaningfully. By offering the musical element it is our wish to engender camaraderie and give voice to hope for new beginnings. In this way, we will spread the music of the lyre and our voices over a land that will most appreciate these gestures of good will.
Catherine Decker, May 18, 2015
*Excerpted from Susan Ager’s article “Tough, Cheap, Real – Detroit is Cool Again,” in National Geographic, April 2015.
For more information about the remaking of Detroit, see: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/why-business-owners-are-setting-shop-michigan