Opening Doors with Vance Gilbert and Alastair Moock

READING, MA – On Saturday, June 8 at 7pm, The First Congregational Church of Reading presents a performance of “Opening Doors: Race, Conversation, and Song” with singer-songwriters Vance Gilbert and Alastair Moock. Admission is free. Make a reservation to come in person or watch online at

The Opening Doors Project was founded in 2021 to promote meaningful interracial conversations about race through the arts. Through concerts and conversations for adults, as well as education programs for kids, the organization strives to promote and inspire the work of antiracism. Programs are rooted in the conviction that honest dialogue can touch people’s minds and great music can touch people’s hearts.

Vance Gilbert, the featured performer for June’s show, has travelled the world sharing stages with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Shawn Colvin, and George Carlin. He is a performer who defies stereotype: “I’m Black, I sing, I play an acoustic guitar, and I don’t play the blues,” he says. Alastair Moock, co-founder of The Opening Project and host for June’s show, has shared stages with Arlo Guthrie, Taj Mahal, and Greg Brown. The Boston Globe calls him “one of the town’s best and most adventurous songwriters.”

“In 2021, when we were preparing to do our very first show in this series,” says Moock, “I called Vance. Having open and honest public conversations around race was still fairly new to me (after all, I’m white in America) so I knew I needed to start with a friend. Vance’s generosity in engaging, while also performing incredible music to help grease the wheels, helped create a template for the shows we’ve been doing ever since.”

Says Gilbert of his old friend, “I was struck by how this man was conspiring to get people to look, see, talk, sing, and find kind common truths about ‘people’ things –– intent on taking a close, kind look at what we all are about. Opening Doors is all this come to fruition.”

The program is offered as part of First Congregational Church’s Sanctuary Arts series, supported in part by the Reading Cultural Council. All shows are free and open to the public. More info on the series and other upcoming performances at

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