I recently got to see my hero, Bobby McFerrin, live onstage in Calgary and he continues to inspire. Eric Bibb is kind of a sub-hero, but they have influenced me in different ways. Musical heroism can mean so many different things.
Bobby says that the fastest way to create real connection and community is to sing together. I see this happening all around me; through the Valley Winds Choir, through Guitar Mama Showcase, through the Brotherhood of Strings, through my acapella group, through my folk duo and at places like the Good Earth Cafe’s Friday night open stage.
At a weekend of improvisational singing, for example, you get to know the other singers intimately; their struggles and their triumphs, but by the end of the weekend you might not know what they do for a living.
The same holds true in my choir. People support each other, laugh together and encourage each other, but don’t always know each other’s last names or where they work. Music allows us to step out of our daily grind and to step into ourselves.
There was a time I thought I would pursue more of a performance life with music – and I do still LOVE performing –however I count it a tremendous privilege to facilitate music and community in the ways I do. There is an electric joy that comes from seeing the good that grows in people beyond the songs.
While I love listening to music and while certain people and songs have carried me through much (Eric Bibb), I am deeply thankful for the steps that have brought me to this place; where I have opportunity to encourage individuals and community to join together in song and to see how that music permeates so many levels of daily life in this town. Perhaps on a local level I am able to inspire people the way that Bobby and Bibb inspire me. I can’t imagine anything greater; I am on a kind of permanent high.
I think this blogpost is to say thank-you. To my choir, to my vocal improv songmates, to In the Pink and to the Guitar Mamas, to the guys of the Brotherhood and to my hummingBird partner. Thank-you for feeding me joy in allowing me to be a part of what you do.
There is an old song that applies to music as much as to love – in fact, they intertwine and the song can be about both:
“Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more. It’s just like a magic penny.. lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many they roll all over the floor.”
And so, friends, keep on strumming and singing together. You each have a gift to give. Shine on.