Photo by Gretel Daugherty

Inmates practice in Hope Chapel at the Delta Correctional Center twice a week and perform at churches in the community twice a month.

Music of conviction

Prison choir shatters stereotypes, gives hope to inmates

DELTA — The sun dips below the horizon in the high desert, melting the tops of the mesas into the darkness. Deer graze in the arroyos between the farms dotting the landscape, and all is quiet except for the sound of voices in the twilight, carried by the wind.
The voices come from a small chapel at the edge of a cluster of box-shaped buildings, and inside, men of all colors and walks of life gather to sing.
“The chains of yesterday surround me
“I yearn for peace and rest
“I don’t want to end up where you found me
“And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
“I know you’ve cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
“And I stand before you now as though I’ve never sinned.”
The singers stand in identical outfits, distinguished only by an assigned number printed on their shirts. For inmate No. 168091, singing these lyrics is especially poignant.
It’s Clifton Moore’s first time in prison. He came to the Delta Correctional Center about two months ago and joined the choir shortly thereafter.

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