Performers from the ‘Voices Of the Revolution’

Voices of the Revolution

Bio Voices of the Revolution is an eclectic collective of feminist voices telling truth through spoken word. Based in Lansing, MI, their collaboration is based on love and respect that goes back decades. Find them on social media @VOTRpoets.

Ruelaine Stokes

Ruelaine Stokes serves as the current Lansing Poet Laureate. She is a poet, spoken word artist, teacher, and arts organizer, as well as a member of Voices of the Revolution, a feminist performance group focused on social justice issues. A collection of her poetry, Jar of Plenty, was published in 2021, and this past summer, she and former Lansing Poet Laureate Laura Apol co-edited a book titled My Secret Lansing, a collection of poetry and prose by 64 area residents about special places and hidden treasures in the Greater Lansing Area.

Lisa Sarno

is a writer, musician, and performer based in Flint, Michigan. She spent nearly a decade touring as the drummer for the reggae group Ras Bonghi & The Dub Band, The Morning After Blues Band, and the original rock band, Hip for Anything. She has performed with legend Bo Diddley as well several live engagements with the long-time recording artist, Rusted Root. Lisa relocated to Lansing in 2007 and joined the all-women’s group, Sometimes Y.  Lisa has published works in The Slughorne Journal (2002) and was awarded a financial scholarship and a Presidential Award while a student at Eastern Michigan University through her creative writing submissions. She joined Lansing’s-based poetry group, Voices of The Revolution, and performed various community engagements that led to collaborations with pianist, composer, Adrienne Torf. Voices of the Revolution were invited to perform in Poetry for the People: The June Jordan Experience in Washington, DC. in June of 2024. Lisa is an informal community organizer who believes in the expression and power of resistance. She currently works as a Social Worker Clinical Supervisor in a large non-profit agency in Michigan and is heavily involved in working with incarcerated individuals through writing, art, and work in recovery from addiction. Lisa’s writing tracks a variety of topics from the personal to the public.

Sally Potter

Sally Potter is a powerhouse in the Mid-Michigan folk music community as a singer, song leader and successful producer of acoustic music events.

In 2016, Potter was given the “Folk Tradition in the Midwest Lifetime Award” by the Midwest Region of the International Folk Alliance (FARM) In 2007, she was awarded a Crystal Award by the City of East Lansing for her “outstanding contribution to community life.” In 2003, she founded the Mid-Winter Singing Festival, a huge gathering of singing enthusiasts for a weekend of musical fun.

Potter’s grandmother, Lillian Paulson Potter was an opera singer, and later, a church choir director, producing countless community events over a fifty-year span. On the other side, Potter’s uncle, Brian Shanley played Dixieland jazz clarinet with Bob Scoby in Chicago in the 50’s. Yet it was when her brother Tom taught her Old-Time tunes on his back-up banjo that Potter settled into the folk music world.

Potter started performing when she was fourteen, giving weekly musical programs in nursing homes in Morrison, IL. In college in Champaign, IL, she frequently performed in several campus coffeehouses and produced shows, mostly at the Channing Murray Foundation, aka Red Herring Coffeehouse.

In the late 80s and 90s, Potter produced numerous shows benefiting a variety of causes, including the Greater Lansing Food Bank and the Peace Education Center. Potter has also written folk music columns for local publications, including the Lansing State Journal.

From 1989 – 2001, Potter performed with Pat Madden and Betsy Clinton in the folk trio, Second Opinion, recording four CDs. In 2005, Potter recorded her fifth CD, with Madden, entitled “It’s About Time.” In 2022, Potter released her first solo recording, “Summer’s Child.”

Since 2004, she has led large monthly community sings—using Rise Up Singing and now Rise Again songbooks, plus an annual Holiday Sing, produced by the Ten Pound Fiddle Concert and Dance Series.

She has spent the last fifteen years as the volunteer booking manager for The Ten Pound Fiddle, lining up talent for 30 concerts per year, from September – May. This is Potter’s third stint on The Fiddle’s Board of Directors, having directed PR in both the late 80s and mid-90s.

Ten years ago, inspired by the Wheatland Music Organization’s Wheat Scouts program, Potter spearheaded the creation of Fiddle Scouts, a monthly interactive music and dance gathering of 40-60 children, ages 3-12. Fiddle Scouts has been subsidized by a used CD fund-raiser conducted by the Ten Pound Fiddle at East Lansing’s Great Lakes Folk Festival and other locations.

Since 2010, Potter has led community singing gatherings at summer festivals, including The Great Lakes Folk Festival, Wheatland Music Festival, Blissfest, Hiawatha Music Festival, Cooper’s Glen Music Festival and many others.

Potter’s work was featured in the New York Times (Feb. 10, 2008), “Shared Song; Communal Memory,” a story and video by NYT music reporter, Ben Ratliff. In 2008, East Lansing’s PBS station, WKAR, produced A Community Sings, a 30 min. documentary of the origins of community singing in Mid-Michigan. Numerous other individuals and communities have been inspired by her success in creating community-based singing programs.

By day, Potter, a retired high school teacher, tutors students in Economics and business classes at Lansing Community College. By night, she sings with the Arts Chorale of Greater Lansing; Sistrum: Greater Lansing women’s chorus; performs numerous concerts and programs; and figures out ways more people can have a marvelous time singing great songs – together. 

Video: Singalong Groups Flourish


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