The Sparrow Initiative
The Sparrow Initiative is a performance group 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.
“This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. Beauty, like truth, brings joy to the human heart and is that precious fruit which resists the erosion of time, which unites generations and enables them to be one in admiration!” ~St. John Paul II
Mission and Goals
The Sparrow Initiative was started in 2019 by Alyssa Wills and Amy Joy Stephens with the mission of using music to create bridges between communities and uplift the human spirit through engaging musical performances and music education.
Through our concerts, we hope to create a unique and personal experience to engage the audience and raise awareness for particular needs in the community. These concerts combine art song, operatic arias, and musical theater pieces with spoken excerpts from poetry, literature, and Scripture to reinforce the themes of the music and draw the audience in. Our past concerts include A Woman's Voice, a collaboration with St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, CA to raise awareness and funds for the victims of human trafficking in Orange County; as well as, A Christmas Meditation, a concert that takes the audience on a spiritual journey through the meditations on Advent and Christmas. Our future concerts include Unsung: Musical Portraits of the Victims and Refugees of the Holocaust, a concert that highlights the lives, writings, and musical works of composers who were killed in the Theriesenstadt Concentration Camp and those that were exiled to Hollywood, California; as well as, Songs to Live By, a night of spiritual songs and Scriptural meditations.
An exciting new project in the beginning stages is an opera on the life of Joan of Arc with music by Kevin Weed and a libretto by Alyssa Wills and Kevin Weed. This opera will hopefully be the first of new commission for works that inspire and uplift through stories of remarkable lives and profound spiritual messages.
As lifelong music educators, Alyssa and Amy have a particular passion for bringing the joy of music, and especially singing, to those who might not have the opportunity to experience using their voices and engaging in music, otherwise. We have created a workshop as an introduction to general music education and healthy singing that we hope to bring into women's shelters, children's homes, and juvenile detention centers. Learning to sing offers an opportunity to express emotions in a new way, to listen with new perspective, to reduce stress, and, in the end, helps unite a person in body and soul. We are firm believers that music can change lives!