Three Chords & The Truth
BY DOLORES EYLER
David Coleman wants to tell you his life story. More exactly, he wants to sing it. And everyone’s invited.
Coleman, 58, was incarcerated at the age of 17 for homicide. He was sentenced to 20 years to life and spent time in ten different New York State correctional facilities. Prior to his incarceration, he spent 22 months, from age 13 to 15, at Berkshire Farm for Boys, for burglary and truancy.
Coleman was released in April of last year. Today, he lives in New York City, works as a doorman on the Upper West Side, and presents his life story through song and narrative. He is also a member of Brick Presbyterian Church’s prison ministry and is working with a startup company to develop games to teach virtue ethics.
Coleman will perform his “Three Chords & The Truth” at Rye Presbyterian Church Sunday, November 17, at 7:30 p.m. He will be accompanied on violin by Rob Pollock, a friend from Sing Sing Correctional Facility. The program is suitable for all ages.
A talented artist, musician, singer, songwriter, and storyteller, Coleman was looking for a way to tell his story, “but I didn’t just want to preach to the choir,” he said. Warner Williams, co-chair of the Brick Church prison ministry, introduced him to Thomas Honeck and Lisa Moss, who work at the Duplex, a cabaret theater in Greenwich Village. He’s now performed there three times, with Williams always in attendance. “She is my den mother, my stage mom,” Coleman said.
Coleman, raised in Newburgh, is not close to his own family, and was placed in two foster homes between Berkshire Farm and prison. “I keep in touch with my second foster family, who have been my fans forever.”
Besides telling his own story, Coleman uses the healing power of music to raise awareness of issues surrounding America’s criminal justice system.