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Why we sing.

Big Mick 17 Dec 98 - 11:07 PM
Pete M 17 Dec 98 - 11:52 PM
Joe Offer 18 Dec 98 - 01:40 AM
Gearoid 18 Dec 98 - 05:07 AM
Benson 18 Dec 98 - 07:46 AM
Bill in Alabama 18 Dec 98 - 08:17 AM
The Shambles 18 Dec 98 - 10:21 AM
Animaterra 18 Dec 98 - 11:26 AM
Animaterra 18 Dec 98 - 11:29 AM
Art Thieme 18 Dec 98 - 11:35 AM
Big Mick 18 Dec 98 - 11:48 AM
Bill in Alabama 18 Dec 98 - 11:52 AM
Animaterra 18 Dec 98 - 12:25 PM
Alice 18 Dec 98 - 12:43 PM
Peter T. 18 Dec 98 - 12:45 PM
Sandy Paton 18 Dec 98 - 01:07 PM
Eric 18 Dec 98 - 01:19 PM
wlisk 18 Dec 98 - 01:40 PM
Alice 18 Dec 98 - 01:41 PM
Barbara 18 Dec 98 - 03:15 PM
Bill D 18 Dec 98 - 05:45 PM
Benson 18 Dec 98 - 05:54 PM
18 Dec 98 - 05:55 PM
Sandy Paton 18 Dec 98 - 06:19 PM
BAZ 18 Dec 98 - 06:32 PM
BSeed 18 Dec 98 - 09:14 PM
northfolk 18 Dec 98 - 09:29 PM
Barbara Shaw 18 Dec 98 - 10:26 PM
Frank McGrath 18 Dec 98 - 10:29 PM
Bill Cameron 19 Dec 98 - 12:39 AM
alison 19 Dec 98 - 01:04 AM
Bo 19 Dec 98 - 01:08 AM
Barry Finn 19 Dec 98 - 02:52 AM
The Shambles 19 Dec 98 - 06:52 AM
Animaterra 19 Dec 98 - 07:34 AM
Bill Cameron 19 Dec 98 - 08:54 AM
Jen 19 Dec 98 - 09:14 AM
logan 19 Dec 98 - 08:39 PM
Alice 19 Dec 98 - 11:25 PM
Bill Cameron 20 Dec 98 - 09:06 AM
Big Mick 20 Dec 98 - 09:49 AM
Ritchie 20 Dec 98 - 09:58 AM
Ralph Butts 20 Dec 98 - 11:21 AM
Big Mick 31 Aug 99 - 11:07 PM
Dave Swan 31 Aug 99 - 11:34 PM
catspaw49 31 Aug 99 - 11:53 PM
Rick Fielding 01 Sep 99 - 02:13 AM
Peter T. 02 Sep 99 - 09:04 AM
WyoWoman 02 Sep 99 - 10:24 AM
Big Mick 02 Sep 99 - 10:35 PM
tom blodget 03 Sep 99 - 01:10 AM
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tom blodget 03 Sep 99 - 01:33 AM
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catspaw49 03 Sep 99 - 03:07 AM
tom 03 Sep 99 - 03:40 AM
WyoWoman 04 Sep 99 - 12:01 AM
Big Mick 04 Sep 99 - 11:18 AM
WyoWoman 04 Sep 99 - 04:08 PM
DonMeixner 05 Sep 99 - 12:37 AM
DonMeixner 05 Sep 99 - 12:46 AM
katlaughing 05 Sep 99 - 01:07 AM
lloyd61 05 Sep 99 - 10:49 AM
Peter T. 05 Sep 99 - 10:52 AM
catspaw49 05 Sep 99 - 10:55 AM
Frank Hamilton 05 Sep 99 - 12:12 PM
Big Mick 05 Sep 99 - 08:57 PM
WyoWoman 06 Sep 99 - 11:55 AM
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catspaw49 06 Sep 99 - 09:22 PM
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Canberra Chris 07 Sep 99 - 05:12 AM
Margo 26 Sep 99 - 07:27 PM
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Big Mick 26 Sep 99 - 09:32 PM
WyoWoman 27 Sep 99 - 12:37 AM
Margo 11 Feb 00 - 05:00 PM
wysiwyg 11 Feb 00 - 07:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Feb 00 - 08:14 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 12 Feb 00 - 08:50 AM
Amos 28 Feb 00 - 01:58 PM
Marion 21 Aug 00 - 08:44 AM
Diva 21 Aug 00 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Jake 22 Aug 00 - 12:21 AM
GUEST,Crazy Eddie 22 Aug 00 - 09:58 AM
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Big Mick 22 Aug 00 - 07:30 PM
WyoWoman 25 Aug 00 - 09:42 PM
Marion 06 Sep 00 - 04:39 PM
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Big Mick 06 Sep 00 - 11:41 PM
mousethief 07 Sep 00 - 03:47 PM
Lena 07 Sep 00 - 09:17 PM
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wysiwyg 09 Sep 00 - 06:16 AM
Big Mick 09 Sep 00 - 09:37 AM
Big Mick 09 Sep 00 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,Yum Yum 09 Sep 00 - 07:42 PM
hesperis 09 Sep 00 - 11:26 PM
KT 10 Sep 00 - 02:45 AM
Lena 10 Sep 00 - 07:31 AM
wysiwyg 01 Oct 00 - 03:56 PM
The Celtic Bard 03 Dec 00 - 06:54 PM
CarolC 03 Dec 00 - 07:21 PM
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Troll 03 Dec 00 - 10:50 PM
GUEST,Big Mick 26 Dec 00 - 04:50 PM
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catspaw49 26 Dec 00 - 05:13 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Dec 00 - 07:01 PM
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mousethief 13 Jun 01 - 05:00 PM
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Big Mick 13 Jun 01 - 10:16 PM
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Big Al Whittle 12 Feb 08 - 03:10 AM
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Subject: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Dec 98 - 11:07 PM

I want to relate some story's to you. I am doing it because they remind of another reason why we must tell the story's of people. I am doing it because we oft times get accused of being maudlin or melodramatic. I am doing it because I must share this with you.

My fellow workers in the office of the Local Union I work for here in Michigan decided that in addition to whatever else we do to help out at the holidays, we would also collect toys, contribute money, and hold a christmas party for the second and third grade classes of a local school. These kids live in a pretty tough area, and don't get the same opportunities that others do. Because I speak Spanish, I usually dress up as Santa. The following are occurrences that actually happened. As you will see, the kids have done more for me and my fellow workers, than we could ever do for them.

The first year, I remember the little girl who, out of all the presents she received, was most excited by the toothbrush we put in the pack..mind you there was a Barbie doll, some pretty outfits, and so on. And she was excited, but most excited by the toothbrush. I asked her why, and she replied, "Oh Santa, I have never had my very own toothbrush before..I have always had to share one with my brothers and sisters.

There was one little girl in the class who was new, she had only been there for a month. Her parents were migrant farm workers, and she only spoke spanish. Even though other children and the teacher were bilingual, the little girl wouldn't speak. The teacher warned me that she likely wouldn't speak to me. She was so shy when she sat on my lap, and wouldn't look at me. I said to her, "Rosa, Que queres a Navidad? She looked up at me, and her eyes got so big, and she said, "Oh Santa, and she started crying and hugging me, and I cried, and it was a hell of a sight.

One little boy who caught my eye, was taking his presents, and very, very carefully unwrapping them one by one. When he got done, he just stared with his hands folded over his chest for a few minutes. He then started to rewrap them one by one. I asked him why he was doing this. He told me that he just wanted to enjoy looking at them for a few minutes, but he wanted to wrap them back up so his brothers and sisters could have someting under the tree.

A little girl today, was obviously excited, but very nervous about seeing Santa. She kept hiding her face as she sat on my lap. I asked her if she was shy, and she gave me a card that she had made me. It said "Dear Santa, I have never met you before, and I am very shy. I am sad because I don't have any friends. I like toys, but all I want for Christmas is a friend. Love, Alison" Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes. I told her that she already had a friend, me. She hung on my hip all day, and Santa introduced her to all the other kids as his special friend. And I told them that she was a real good friend, and they might want to be her friend too. I hope it bears fruit.

I am not sure why I am writing this all down, but you have all become very special to me, and I felt I had to share it with you. You ever wonder why we sing, I can tell you that for me it is about telling the stories of kids like these.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Pete M
Date: 17 Dec 98 - 11:52 PM

Thanks Mick, need I say more?

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 01:40 AM

I sing in search of that precious moment when many voices sing as one. It's nice when people sing together, but extraordinary when they sing with one voice. It happens fairly often for me. Each time, it's a wonderful and ever-new experience. I can't think of a better way of bridging the distance between people.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Gearoid
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 05:07 AM

Mick

Nollaig Shona duit No words needed

God Bless Gearoid


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Benson
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 07:46 AM

what a lovely comment Mick.......It made my morning. If we did not sing....perhaps we would cry.....Thanks Mick!


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 08:17 AM

Thanks, Mick-- Your stories helped me begin my workday in a great mood, and also set the tone for the remainder of the holidays. Much obliged.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 10:21 AM

I didn't believe he existed but now I know he is an big Spanish speaking Irishman.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Animaterra
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 11:26 AM

Oh, Mick, thank you. I, too, have a story, but mine has no happy ending. A dear friend of mine has been corresponding for 15 years with a prisoner on death row, and acting as his chaplain. Tonight he is going to be executed, and she has received permission to be there as a witness. She may not speak to him or touch him, and will be with the other witnesses (all hostile to him) behind a thick glass windos. She tells me she can do nothing but sing, and she has chosen to sing "Amazing Grace", cheifly to underscore the irony of the situation. She is aware that she may be forbidden to sing, and is asking friends to join her at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard time to join her in this song. You are an important community to me, and I'd like to think that some of you would join me in song tonight to sing Andy home.

Why do I sing? I've never had a choice- why do I breathe?


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Animaterra
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 11:29 AM

I don't want to end my musings on the subject with total sadness- I also sing for joy, and for the children I teach. This week we're singing for every December holiday we can think of, and you should see them singing "Joyous Chanukah", "Children, Go where I send thee,", "Twelve Days of Christmas", "Santa Lucia", etc. It's the perfect counterbalance to the otherwise crazy world out there.

How can I keep from singing??


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 11:35 AM

Mick, That's wonderful. Thank you!!

Mountain climbers say they do it "because it's there." We sing because it isn't there!---At least not enough of it. Us big guys take up more room; in your case, I'm glad you do!

Art


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 11:48 AM

Animaterra,

Listen carefully tonight, and I believe you will hear the "Catters singing.....At 6:00 pm I will be sitting on my deck, lost in ponderings, and singing because you have asked me to.

See you there,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 11:52 AM

My dear friend Frazier Moss, one of the truly great Tennessee fiddlers, has the following carved into the back of his custom-made fiddle, and I believe that, some slight variation, it applies to all of us musicians:it certainly speaks for me:

"I FIDDLE 'CAUSE I CAN'T HELP IT".


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Animaterra
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 12:25 PM

Thanks, Mick!


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Alice
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 12:43 PM

Santa Mick, your stories made me cry.

Yesterday when I was rehearsing for a 'Celtic' Christmas performance with an accompanist who plays harp and fiddle, I realized one of those moments when we connect with another heart and mind through song.

I had introduced this musician to Mary O'Hara's recordings a few weeks ago, and he was blown away by them. He asked if I could sing some of her songs on the 19th. As I have told you Mudcatters before, since the 70's, Mary O'Hara has been one of my great inspirations. I told him I'd love to sing a song that I have heard only in Gaelic, on her recording. It is roughly translated into English on the back of the record album, so this is what I will sing.... when I got to the line "we pray and beseech you, dear Jesus, bring peace to the world".... I looked over at the harpist, and his face was turning red as he tried to hold back the tears. We both realized at the same time the special meaning of that line right now as bombs are falling. The song was doubly meaningful in that it's original prayer of the children of Ireland was to "send all the troubles and evil away from our homeland", but the waging of war is a worldwide evil.

I sing, hopeful that future children will not have so many reasons for tears.

alice in montana


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Peter T.
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 12:45 PM

Feliz Navidad Santa.

Yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 01:07 PM

Si Kahn expressed it better than I could, Mick:

"People like you help people like me go on!"

And that's the truth.

We'll be singing tonight with you and Animaterra.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Eric
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 01:19 PM

One of the few chances I get to sing is when I put my daughter to bed.

Almost every single night of my baby's life, I have stood over her crib and given her my love.

Some nights, I leave the room feeling joyfull for the gift of a healthy, happy child. Some nights I leave feeling sad because I think of all the children who go to bed hungry, hurt, or without love.

Five hundred times I have sung a lullaby to Amelia. I will sing it to her until the day I die. And then, I hope to sing it with the angels.

Why do I sing? Because God created too many wonderful things in the world to thank him with mere words.

For my wife, my daughter, and all the other singers in the world, I am thankful.

Merry Christmas.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: wlisk
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 01:40 PM

"God's gift to you is life, what you do with it is your gift to God -- have a blast." Leo Buscalia


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Subject: Lyr Add: NA LEANBHAI I MBEITHIL / CHILDREN OF ...
From: Alice
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 01:41 PM

Na Leanbhai I Mbeithil
Children of Ireland in Bethlehem

Oh, bright sweet child Who came down from heaven above,
To bring us a message of peace, good will, and love.
Oh, it's a great wonder, You lying here out in the cold,
And you bein' Jesus, the Lord, and Prince of power.

Oh, look at us, children of Ireland in Bethlehem.
We've come like the angels and shepherds of long ago.
We praise Your name, oh Lord, the God of hosts,
And thank you for blessing us here, with love and grace.

We pray and beseech you dear Jesus, bring peace to the world.
We ask you protect our people from danger and harm.
Oh, send all the troubles and evil away from our homeland,
And fill all of Ireland with joy, good will, and peace.

(lyrics adapted by Alice Flynn)


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Barbara
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 03:15 PM

I'll join you all this afternoon Animaterra, 3pm my time. Bless you all, and Mick for your great heart, I give thanks. It is a great gift to love so many so freely. Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 05:45 PM

It is 5:32 as I read this for the first time...I have had a very hectic several weeks and a lot of the 'spirit' of this holiday season has eluded me...'till now....and now I can do something direct and meaningful...at 6 I will find a quiet place and sing.And what wonderful company to share the moment with when it is not totally a happy time...but sad occasions need song too, perhaps more than happy ones...may all who share this song know that it can only make us better...


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Benson
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 05:54 PM

And for those who do not know the story......The composer of "Amazing Grace"...was once the captain of a Slave ship....

....."That saved a 'wretch' like ME"....peace.......


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From:
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 05:55 PM

.wav file

Amazing Grace


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 06:19 PM

To all of you:

One reason I sing is made clear by the messages in this thread: because it enables me to be a part of a community such as this one. Thank you all.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: BAZ
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 06:32 PM

Animaterra
Sorry I was too late to join at 6pm your time, but in the morning my wife and I are due to sing in the village square and we will include Amazing Grace and share the reason why with our friends.
Big Mick your stories brought a lump to my throat I too have a soft spot for kids less fortunate than others. In fact the reason we are singing tomorrow is to raise funds to buy a laptop comp for a young boy in the village who no longer has the co-ordination to write.
God gave us a voice to sing with and there are so many reasons for using this gift.
Thanks again catters for a beautiful thread.
Baz


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: BSeed
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 09:14 PM

This is another thread i'm adding to my tracer, both for myself and for my students.

I'm starting a new class in the Berkeley independent studies program in the spring semester, called "Home Made Music." It will be a bit of a departure from the usual independent studies class structure in which students see each of their teachers for a half hour of individual instruction each week, during which time they are checked for their previous week's work and given new assignments--perhaps a hundred pages of a novel plus an essay per week (per class). Students are in the program because they have to work or because they find the pace in regular classes too slow for them or because they are agoraphobic, etc.

My class will be unusual because we will have a weekly group meeting as well as individual instruction. The weekly meetings will be song sessions with some musical theory and discussion of poetic form and imagery in songs thrown in, and the individual sessions will be lessons in guitar, banjo, autoharp, and harmonica, or for students who play instruments i can't teach or whose instrument is their voice, playing and singing together, learning new songs, learning to play by ear, etc.

Anyway, I will be sharing with them the feelings expressed in this thread as well as the Songwriting thread, the Spancil Hill thread, and on and on. I will, of course, introduce them to the Mudcat and the DigiTrad. Their homework, of course, will be practice--and a journal, and research and songwriting and forming duets and trios and quartets and preparing for recitals...

Another thread that comes to mind right now is the "Somebody Cheer Me Up, PLEASE" one, started to someone who had just lost her job and was told by various Mudcateers that it could be the best thing that ever happened to her, because I retired last June without much idea of what to do with my time and how to make up for the sudden 40% drop in my salary, and I was invited to teach photography in the independent studies program, and now I have this dream class starting up as well and my creative juices are not merely still flowing, they are gushing... --seed


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: northfolk
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 09:29 PM

Brother Mick, Your message didn't surprise me a bit, you have my continuing admiration...I know you'll have a wonderful holiday season. So will many of us, because we read your story.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 10:26 PM

Every Christmas I lead a group of carolers at the office, singing in the lobby of our building, at various parties, etc. It's wonderful to hear the 25 or so voices echoing in the lobby, and gratifying to see people joining in or just stopping to listen with a smile.

Yesterday, we had our office Christmas lunch, and as usual everyone brought Toys for Tots donations and food donations, which we collect and distribute every year. At the end of the party, as I was preparing to collect the food to bring as usual to my local soup kitchen, I decided to try something different.

"Does anyone want to take this food to distribute to their own favorite charity? Your church, or some other group?" I asked.

One woman from my work group said quietly, "My brother needs it." She left with a carload of groceries for her own brother.

We sing, we do what we have to do.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 18 Dec 98 - 10:29 PM

Maith an fear a Michael.
Good man Mick.
We sing because our hearts need to be heard. But you are a lucky man - you wear your heart on your sleeve as well in your song.

May you have as happy a Christmas as you have given great Christmas happiness.

Fra


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 12:39 AM

I sang Amazing Grace at midnight, EST, quietly by myself.

Just last week the media in Canada was counting down the hours towards the scheduled execution in Texas of a fellow from Alberta named Stan Faulder who has been on death row down there over 20 years and had a date set nine times, then remanded. The Supreme Court of the US gave him a reprieve a few minutes before the 6 pm execution time. He's got another 30 days at least for another appeal. I'd call that amazing grace.

I don't know what I believe in any more--it's a lot easier not to believe in things. God, Santa Claus, letting people live who did terrible things, you name it. (I'm not a complete pacifist anymore but I'm still against capital punishment.) I've been to two Christmas concerts at my kids schools this week and just got back from a youth group coffeehouse (I'm the grizzled old advisor, not a youth) but as usual am having a hell of a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. Guess I should go out and find some good that needs doing and do it.

Thanks Mick, Animaterra, and all the best to all of ya.

Oh, by the way...at the coffeehouse, I did my debut performance of "Billy the Squid". Sure was deep. Why do I sing, indeed?

Love & seasons greetings Bill


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: alison
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 01:04 AM

Hi,

I hadn't been feeling very Christmassy (just doesn't feel right in these temperatures when you're used to it being very cold.)

Thanks Mick for starting this........

We really have a lot to be thankful for.

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Bo
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 01:08 AM

I think singing can be the secular mantra. Abandoning yourself to the faith that all the words are there and listening to all the feelings inside and around you.

I sing because I feel. Nothing else will do. I appreciate an audience but I sing for my muse.

anecdote.

I spent a wonderful year singing\performing as a 'medieval' bard for a traveling show in the country of southern Ontario. Weekends I would don my gear and drive to a legion hall or gym in the middle of nowhere.

On one night in Warkworth, a small town whose only industry is a Prison there were 50 people for a dinner in the basement of the legion. There was a real warm feeling in the room and I could feel the gratitude from the people enjoying the show.

I learned the guests of honour were a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary that night. A small graying couple asked if we (myself and two guitar players)could play a waltz. You don't dissapoint the guests of honour so I sang 'The Anniversary Song' [Oh how we danced on the night we first met....] while the guitars did their best to support.

As we sang I could see the couple grow from small and wizened to the center of everyone's love. I could see this golden web hang in the air supported by the song and the feelings of all the people. It was such a priveledge to be part of that.

Thats why I sing.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Barry Finn
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 02:52 AM

I think I'm hearing that singing with others is as close to making love as one could get without actually having sex. It's always better when you do it with someone else (even better if you like them). Very vunerable position to be in & when begining to sing with a new partner there's the exploring stage prior to the honeymoom. There's the sense of being very close to those involved, there's a mutual build up of trust & bonds (never mind the excitment) & practice does make perfection & oh, the harmony. Then there's the thrill of it all & the desire to perform to the best that's possible. And need I mention the warmth & afterglow. If it's been good for all, they'll be more to come, but OK, I'll stop here.
I love singing with my wife but that's only one of the reasons I married her (& I hope she has more than that reason to have married me). We've been togther for about 14 years & the other night she asked me to sing to her like I did when we courted, the kids thought she was losing it, she thought it was, well never mind what she thought. Are we just becoming happily narrow minded or one tracked in our, not to old age (haven't broke fifty yet but it's around two more corners) or are there others that feel the same way about when they're singing (with others)? Barry, who, as you can probaly guess, loves to sing.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 06:52 AM

Barry

Now I know why my wife gets a bad head when I ask her to sing with me!

But seriously, I think what you say is true. I don't know about you but I think that the best moments in music/song are the impromptu ones, usually with people you don't know and for those very short minutes when it all works. It's worth going to all the sessions/singarounds that don't work just for that.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Animaterra
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 07:34 AM

Oh, my dear friends, for so I must call you- I am so very grateful for all your loving support. Six pm last night was an amazing moment. We had just decorated the tree, for life and the family must go on, and then we 4 joined hands and sang. I felt an amazing connection, knowing that so many others were singing as well. My own 13 year old son, who has Asperger syndrome, (an autism-related disorder) sang the whole thing with us- a rare and beautiful moment in and of itself. Singing has such power and beauty- I was able to grieve for Andy yet rejoice in the real majesty of the moment. Thank you all- now I know what Christmas is all about!


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 08:54 AM

because singing is believing. In something.

Love Bill


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Jen
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 09:14 AM

Thanks Mick. That was beautiful. And thanks, all of you, for sharing your stories.
I sing because I can. Because I like to do it, and feel somehow connected to something out and up there when I sing... It's almost like magic. I sang "I Wonder As I Wander" in church for the first time last Wednesday, a capella...and it was a wonderful feeling. Even if I mess up at Midnight Mass, at least I know I hit it right once. I'm getting married next year, so this is my last year in the choir until we move back here after my fiance goes to college. So it has special signifigance for me to be finally able to sing this song. (I willnot geta cold, I willnot get a cold...)

Thanks, all, and I hope you have a wonderful week. Merry Christmas, however you may celebrate it.

Jen


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: logan
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 08:39 PM

Two days after my 4th birthday I became an orphan, was put in foster care with strangers and separated from a surviving younger brother who I have never seen again. That was 48 years ago. By the time I was 6 I had been in at least 8 foster homes, often abused and neglected. Then one day a most wonderful thing happened. I went to a library and was listening to records with headphones on. I put on a record and heard the most wonderful voice and songs I had ever heard. I listened over and over and over and went back every day that I could until I moved away. The lady singing was Jean Ritchie and she and her songs changed my life. As I continued through childhood whenever times were tough I heard her singing in my head. She had a calming, consoling affect on me like nothing else. Sometimes I was able to find her records again and I would listen. I also started finding other singers and songs I loved. From the songs and the singers I learned much about life and living. The music became a large part of who I was to become. The music became and still is the only consistent thing in my life. It is forever a part of me. I moved around from foster home to foster home more than 40 times. The songs are the only thing I have that no one can take away. I still, at over 50, have no family. But that's ok because I have the songs and many friends who love the songs as well. Singing with friends is the greatest joy of my life and finding Mudcat several months ago was as wonderful as discovering Jean Ritchie so many years ago.

So, Big Mick, I thank you for your stories and I'm grateful for your existence. I understand where the children you wrote about are coming from. They are lucky to make your acquaintance. You may never know how you affected their lives, but know that you have.

I hope that all of you Mudcatters will keep on singing because you never know when you may influence some child and forever change their life.

I sing because singing is a part of me that I must share, even though I don't sing all that well.

I hope all of you have wonderful holidays, however you celebrate. Keep singing. I will visit Mudcat often.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Alice
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 11:25 PM

logan, you have a 'family' now that you have found us.

alice


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 09:06 AM

Yesterday's Ottawa Citizen had a small writeup on the death by lethal injection of one Andrew L Smith in South Carolina, the 500th execution in the US since Gary Gilmore in 77. Included some uncharitable remarks about death penalty opponents from the state Attorney General, and some details about the double murder Andrew Smith was convicted of that I'd just plain rather not have known about. Life gets complicated, don't it. But what really caught my attention:
"Before the curtain was drawn on the death chamber, witnesses could hear people singing Amazing Grace."

I guess that's another reason for singing.

Bill


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 09:49 AM

Hi folks,

When I started this, I was not sure what I was writing. All I knew, is that these wee kids, touched me and taught me so much about humility, and the spirit of the season, and I just had to share it with someone who would understand what was going on deep within me. Alison, yes, I am glad I started it too..... And the amazing story's that came after.....they touched me very deeply. While I was singing Amazing Grace, I had an experience which will remain private, but it was an remarkable, peaceful, and very deep experience. Sitting and looking out at the lake, and the sky, feeling the presence of others, and knowing why we were singing and what was taking place, it all combined for quite and experience.

Logan, there is no reason to feel totally alone anymore. While we canna sit and drink a cup of joe together in the physical sense, we can be together in our love of music and the sharing of it. I think I can safely speak for the other citizens of our community and say we are glad that you have found your way home. Now come in and tell us what you think, share and be shared with, and enjoy the sense of belonging here.

And after our friend Bill's posting, I think that all I can say is ................Amen.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Ritchie
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 09:58 AM

Sometimes you can be at a concert or wherever and some one is singing and 'the hairs on the back of your head stand up' and some times your cheeks blush and fill with colour..do you know the feeling ?

Well this is the first time this has happened to me that I can recollect when I've actually been reading something...

Perhaps I can hear you all singing from the same hymn book

Thank you all very, very much..

love ,peace & happiness from a very humble Ritchie xxxxx.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Ralph Butts
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 11:21 AM

Ritchie, it's rare and wonderful but, I guess, so obvious, that we all sing from the same book.

Season's wishes, all.......Tiger


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 31 Aug 99 - 11:07 PM

The thought for the day for August 31, 1999 caused me to refresh this thread. I have told you of the kids that gave me hope that in spite what they deal with, now let me tell you of a young one who made me despair. Timmy was another of my "Christmas" kids. He loved the toys and things. I had him in my vehicle as we shuttled the kids back to school from the party. He is gorgeous. Sandy haired, and with a personality to die for. I was talking to the kids about what they wanted to do with their lives. Remember that these are 8 year old kids in the second grade. When I got to Timmy, he was very excited and said that he wanted to be a convict when he grew up. He proceeded to tell me that they had TV's and got to eat 3 meals a day, and they gave you clothes and everything. I tried to explain what prison was about, but Timmy insisted that his DaddieS were in prison and he wanted to be just like them. And, he said, that they got to eat all the food they wanted. We dropped him off and he went out to play on the playground.

The thread was meant to cause those of us who try to use our music as a tool in our service to one another, to really think about why we do what we do. One of the reasons for me is Timmy. I hope I see him this year.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Dave Swan
Date: 31 Aug 99 - 11:34 PM

Mick, my friend, I hope you see Timmy too. If it's only for the time he's in contact with you, that kid will be exposed to heart, humanity, and goodness. D


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: catspaw49
Date: 31 Aug 99 - 11:53 PM

And I too wish you the best in your efforts Mick. Sometime when we're together I'll tell you the story of the E***** family and the tragic outcome of everyone's best work. Keep up your work, sometimes the magic happens; it may for Timmy, I hope for both of you it does. And sometimes....well..................

Damn if I ain't lucky to have stumbled into this place. Lots of love, lots of uderstanding, lots of humanity, lots of music.....and some very special friends.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Sep 99 - 02:13 AM

Thanks Mick. Like Catspaw I feel blessed to have been directed here (by Sandy), but Oh Lordy, I wish I'd found it sooner. Now coming from someone who often has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek this may sound out of character, but the thoughts and postings of a lot of Mudcatters have helped me deal with 1999 in a way I never could have before.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Sep 99 - 09:04 AM

Mick, that is a terrible story. Wordsworth's phrase from Intimations of Immortality -- "Shades of the prison house begin to close upon the growing boy" is true. I think we are blessed just having you out there.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 02 Sep 99 - 10:24 AM

Well, Mick, having had a few similar situations come up in my life, I know the wrenching of the heart that accompanies such awareness. (This, I believe, is why so many people keep their lives in tight little circles, so they never have to bump in to these eye-and heart-opening experiences.) The one way to drive yourself completely nutz in such situations is to be attached to a particular outcome. but if you can stay semi-detached, you actually can make a difference sometimes. (Says she to whom emotional detachment seems an utter contradiction in terms ...)
A huge body of research these days points to the fact that sometimes all it takes to save a kid is ONE adult who is rational and committed to the kid. A pretty sad statistic when you figure that a great number of kids don't even get THAT little smidgen of adult sanity. But at any rate, just being a presence in some of these kids lives, and letting them know that you're there and that there's another way to live a life can give them enough to go on....
At any rate, it behooves those of us whose hearts connect with children to keep fighting the good fight and hoping that at least a little bit of it will stick. I have a couple of examples in my life of where it did, although not immediately, and in relatively minor ways. It all counts, though.

ww


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 02 Sep 99 - 10:35 PM

I am reminded of an organizing drive I was on about 10 years ago. I was in the apartment of a lovely young woman of about 30 years. She had three kids, the oldest 11 yrs old and the youngest 5. She was white, pretty and could have been the daughter of any middle class family you could imagine. But she had bags under her eyes. And she was a single mother. She wanted to sign the authorization card for me, but she wanted to do it too quickly. That is always troublesome to me as I want them to question why they should. I want the discussion of the issues. Why? Because it is a difficult process on the employess to organize and I want to make sure that they understand the issues, pro and con. It strenthens their resolve for the long haul ahead. I remember asking her if she had questions about anything, how about dues? She looked up at me with those tired eyes and said, "Mr. Lane you are a nice man, and I appreciate what you are trying to do. Do you see this child? (She put her arm around the 11 year old boy) He is only 11, but everyday after school he has to come home from school, and unlock the apartment, get his brother and sister from the neighbors and babysit until I get home from work at night. I have to work three jobs to keep things going because his Father pays no child support, and I don't have health insurance on any of them. If you can just get me health insurance for my kids so at least they don't have to go to school sick, you can have all the money I make on one of my jobs for dues."

Will the circle, be unbroken, by and by Lord, by and by............


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: tom blodget
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 01:10 AM

I sing to become, in that vocal moment(which can last hours!), ONE with the universe, where time stands still, like a child at play, as one absorbed in being.

There is something mystical and archetypal about the musical scale, and our prancing about it...

I don't think it's a human invention but rather a discovery of a timeless truth, and when you get near to it, you are dissolved into it, and the spirit becomes you.

In our gatherings at times I feel "transported", time falls away only until someone leaves because they say it's after 3 am.

In the songwriting process, the search for beauty in the curves and turns of a melody is about the most divine form of meditation I know...whereas the revivifying of a sacred tune, by singing it, is a most holy polishing of the spirit...

Some people meditate on simplicity, on the absence of extraneousness or the unnecessary; some meditate on a simple object; others do walking meditation; and lots of people at different times and different places meditate actively on the creative act, whatever it may be, but it often involves moving parts of the body mechanically or electrically...this is also meditation...the mind and body align with a greater goal, still a mystery to us.

Why do I sing? Because melody is seductive, harmony is cooperative, and song brings us together.

Tom Blodget


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 01:19 AM

Well said, Tom B!


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: tom blodget
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 01:33 AM

I didn't realize how quickly one can get a response around here. Thank you, katlaughing, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really liked the title of the thread, that's what got me going. I hope others write about it now as if the title were Why I Sing (or Why We Sing), just simply, like that. Why do you sing? Why is it that some people don't? What is it about the human voice, the sound(s), speech, pitch, timbre, etc.? Is it special? Or do we just love the sound of our own voices? Do others? How does it affect them? How are you affected, yourself, when you sing? Is sound sacred? Is the use of sound today desecrated? What role does singing, or learning to sing or learning music, have in early childhood education? (Well, let's keep it within the title of the essay) There are so many questions I have. Feel free to comment...


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 03:07 AM

Tom: one thing you'll find at the Mudcat, everyone always feels free to comment, whether you want them to or not. It is full of erudite, witty, opinionated, wonderful people who most all love to express themselves, including moi.

It is one a.m. in the Rocky Mtn West, my carpal tunnel is trying to crash in pain, ad I am too tired to write much right now, but if you will refresh the threads back a few month, say back to February or so, you will find threads which have postings addressing some of what you bring up.

For more specific, perhaps faster searching, when you go to the search forum function, choose one of the old-time regulars, such as Big Mick, Sandy Paton, Alison in Oz, or others, put one of those names in as the User, then watch what comes up & enjoy the read. A couple of my favourites include the Xenophobia thread and the Music Therapy one. I am sure several more will come to mind as soon as I hit enter message:-)For some fun, go to the last few postings in the current Mudcat tavern Round 9 thread. You'll see also never take ourselves too seriously. It's all about balance, ya know?

Welcome aboard...it's a helluva ride.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 03:07 AM

You've got to be kidding? Within the title of a thread after more than 5 posts? Very novel idea Tom! Let me know how it turns out. Wishing you the best.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: tom
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 03:40 AM

Catspaw, I get it; heck, do you think I read the whole thread? I actually was trying to steer it, that's all. And so I'm waiting for your contribution that way if you have time...

Thank you katlaughing for the introductions. I'm not only new to mudcat but new to cyberspace (uh oh) because of problems with my f****** server (does anyone think the jerky boys are funny?); we had a helluva time getting online for years, dial up dial up dial up etc. so I just said f*** it, I read books, I play music, I see and touch people, and i'm a bit of a luddite, but not as I type these keys!..I know people who've been glued, and i'm shocked, just shocked, that anyone would...oh well...here I am...and I dig the shit out of it! And to think, everything I say and do becomes part of my permanent record, that I can dig a thread out...love that non-linear quantum leap logic...an intelligent search...would find...the exact songs I want to play, songs I don't even know even, with little MIDI squeal tones so that I can sing it, too...Dagadi dig it! And that people put so much time into it, and it's so wonderful! You all know that sharing is everything, right? Anyway, I'm prolix and never know when to shut up, because nobody really knows...except the silent wise sages who watch us with the most extreme patience (how do you italicise email, and put those umlauts and accent marks?)...The three dot lounge...as time goes by...self indulgence...for lack of others to indulge in?...cyber fellows...forgive the rookie, have you ever been tired, and I thank you for your sense of humor. Be careful out there!


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 12:01 AM

God, Mick. That story just tore my heart. Having been a single mom without child support for many years, and a working person with two children and no health insurance for some of those years, I completely empathize with that woman. Amazing, isn't it, that the employment statistics show such a strong economy -- 2% unemployment, 4% unemployment -- yet, working people still have no health insurance and have to work three jobs to pay the rent and put food on the table.

My situation has drastically improved in the past few years, but I remember those bleak, pared to the bone years and it makes me sick to think how many families in this country are living that way.

I know -- this isn't about music, but ... oh well.

Part of why I sing is that sometimes it's simply the only way to keep your heart from breaking completely into pieces -- or at least to give the shattered spirit a voice of its own. Also the joyous one -- but I seem to need song less when I'm happier.

ww


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 11:18 AM

Actually WW, it is exactly about music. Music has always been about the human condition. In the hands of the skilled music makers, whole generations of people have been affected, movements started, the seeds of change sown.

We sing for many reasons, and they are very personal. Some are not comfortable with these stories from my experiences. Some, like our friend Tom, would like to steer it onto a different plane. And if that is what my thread means to him, very good. For me, it is very simple. I have spent most of my life until now, and will continue to, trying to walk the path and see what is around me. And where I see a need for change, do what I can to effect a positive change. We are bards of the modern era, and our job is to tell the story of our people. In my work, I have seen the new poor. She is black, brown, white, beige, yellow..........She has several kids she is trying to raise herself.......often with no financial assistance.........He is the undereducated man who did not have strong role models......He and his wife are both working, and one of them has two jobs......and neither has health insurance. And I see the children. They didn't ask for any of this, and in their poverty they still have hope, God Bless 'em, they still have hope. I don't know how to write songs, so I just look for the good ones that allow me to use what little talent I have to tell about them......and I sing, most of the time in the wind, but I sing anyway. Someone will hear...........I hope.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 04:08 PM

Yes, I know what you mean. Now that I'm a writer and journalist, that's just a different kind of singing, but I always want to use my voice, in whatever form, to keep putting the idea out there that we all have a responsibility to each other, and to standing for justice in whatever way we can.

Sometimes, though, just to have a great time!

ww


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: DonMeixner
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 12:37 AM

When I was kid a teacher , Mr. Hanley, told my parents I shouldn't even try to sing. He had asked for new members for the chorus. He auditioned us in class by blowing a whistle and having us all sing a song in French while he gave us each a critical ear. This was the first time I had seen a pitch pipe and I had no idea what it was for. I just sang. He passed by me. I begged for a second chance and he agreed to audition me separately. He played the piano and I sang while he shook his head or frowned.

He told my parents I had no idea of tune, time, or key. He would let me into the Elementary chorus because I tried so hard and because it was obvious that I wanted to be there. But could I please not sing loud. So I didn't sing lound when he was around but at night on the tractor I sang out loud every song I knew. I sand in the car with Dad going fishing for Bullheads at Fairhaven. Most hymns and gospel tunes. My Mom, the devout babtist woman that she is, taught me to sing Buffalo Gals, a song about dancing with hookers. I'll never understand that.

We just sang in family because we could. Not that we knew how or that keys were important. It was the singing that was important.

When I got older and my friends had guitars and sang all the time, I listened and wished I could play something and sing too. My Mom gave me an Autoharp for Christmas in 1968. I finally had an instrument and In time I found a voice. My friend Dick Ward explained to me about keys and singing there in. I learned to tune it and play it and I learned Can't Help But Wonder, and Everytime, and Changes, and Last Thing on My Mind, and Many A Mile. Then one day in the spring of 69 at a senior class picnic when everyone was playing Cruel War, and Dona Dona Dona, I got out the Auto harp and slipped in Nectar of God. This stopped them all cold. Then Randy said " Do You know another one?"

Thats why I sing.

Don


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: DonMeixner
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 12:46 AM

And perhaps I sing because there are people who can't sing. Or have no voice. Or maybe they won't sing for fear of being embarassed or being laughed at. Or because they too had a Mr. Hanley in their past.

Don


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 01:07 AM

WOW! Don, thanks for telling that story. It was great and bucket*! to the Mr. Hanleys!

kat

* my niece's euphemism for f*%# it, around her three year old


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: lloyd61
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 10:49 AM

Thanks Mick...

I have found the Big Brother program to be a wonderful mentor program. Steve's father lives on the strret after getting out of jail. When I met steve he was 12 years old, full of hate and anger. Today he is 24, the only member of his family working, searching for a quality of life, trying to make it on his own, Plays a bass guitar we found in the garbage and is trying to help others. What happened? A group of folk music friends made him feel welcome, gave him a helping hand and lifted him up!

Why do I sing? It lifts me up first and Its the only way I know how to lift others. My words only go to the heart, but music reaches the soul.

Thanks agian Mick.

Lloyd61


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Peter T.
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 10:52 AM

Don, are you suggesting that women from Buffalo are all hookers? I have danced with many a Buffalo gal, occasionally by the light of the moon, and they were all ladies of impeccable virtue (more or less).
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 10:55 AM

Then you've obviuosly been dancing with the wrong ones Peter.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 12:12 PM

Sing-ito ergo sum!


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 08:57 PM

Thanks for a wonderful story, Don. Exactly what I hoped for. Different folks giving all the reasons why. A marvellous addition to the thread.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 11:55 AM

Yes, a splendid story, and here's to all the Mr. Hanley's in our lives and where are they now?

And now I'm off on a search for "Nectar of God," which I didn't find in the DT. Any directions?

WW


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: DonMeixner
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 02:28 PM

Hi Wyo

When last I saw Mr. Hanley he was selling suits at a discount clothing store. He said he played organ in his church. He had not yet solved his drinking problem.

Nectar of God is by Patrick Sky, if you can't find it, I'll look it it up in the "Attic of No Return" and post it for you

Don


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 03:37 PM

Don-- Isn't that interesting? I've had a similar experience with a couple of my life's "villains." Met them years later and, judging to whom the years had been kindest, realized that I had weathered it all fairly well.

No, I couldn't find it, so if you can either post or tell me where to go ...

ww


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 09:22 PM

WW........Nectar of God is a great song ......and so are lots of others by Patrick Sky. I am a huge fan and his influence on me was significant. He quit performing as he was tired of the direction he saw things going. Not all of his albums are available on CD but a couple are and you can find them at CDNow and probably some others. Pat returned to his roots and I understand he is doing uillean pipes/music research and writings now.

He was a true folksinger and also a fine songwriter. Check him out.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 11:36 PM

Thanks, both of you. I just ordered it from Amazon.com, my financial nemesis...

WW


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Canberra Chris
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 05:12 AM

When I was four my mother taught me to sing 'You Are My Sunshine', and she was my sunshine, a happy, confident, loving young mother, and when I sang it it was true, as every song has been since, at least while I am singing it.

When she was 70 I sang it again into a tape recorder, because I was half a world away from her big birthday party, and I sent it there. And they sent me back a video tape of all the rest of her family and her friends playing it at the party. And after the first line, they all joined in, in a rich, deep chorus.

I sing because songs are true, because it's the only way I have made people laugh and cry at the same time (except punning!), because when I sing with other people we are all transported together, because when I sing alone my being resonates with everything, because it gets through, because it's the gate to fairyland, and the key to the lock, because of the songs, because I am in love with anyone who can sing, while they are singing, because it pours out, because of other peoples' eyes, because the songs sing themselves through me.

My favourite song is a song I only sing for singers - 'Singing Bird'

"For there's none of them can sing so sweet, My singing bird as you, Ahhhhhh, my singing bird as you."


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Margo
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 07:27 PM

I have had the most interesting and rewarding experience lately at my son's preschool. Forrest, my son, has autism and is attending the local early childhood center. The new principal plays piano while the kids are going to class. She found out that I play concertina, and asked me to play sometimes. Of course, I accepted.

Since then I have played concertina, sung with the piano, played piano, and finally, I brought my guitar. I sang "The Lollipop Tree" and was rewarded with cheers and enthusiastic jumping when I finished the song. But I had no idea what kind of impact a song can have on the kids. The next day when I came in, the teachers showed me the new artwork on the hallway wall: picture after picture of lollipop trees! I was tickled pink.

It's become a gig, four mornings a week. That's ok, because I want to record a CD of children's songs, and this will certainly boost my repetoire. But I can't help but think about the one little girl with autism (my guess) that is wild and obstinate, yet sits quietly and attentively for the song. Hmmmm....music soothes the savage breast...

Margarita


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Margo
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 07:38 PM

So I didn't address the name of the thread, Why We Sing. Well, I began to sing again for myself, as attending song circle did help tremendously in bringing me out of a deep depression. But now that I am enjoying it myself, I find others too are benefitting. Isn't that the way it ought to be?

Margarita


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 09:32 PM

Margarita,

You exactly addressed the title by virtue of telling the story. It is exactly what I had in mind when I started the thread. All of us, in the exercising of our craft, will have remarkable experiences. Some will be happy, some sad, some touching, some depressing. I hope that in telling the story's, it will help all of us to realize that we have an obligation to use our gifts in a way benefits our souls, and the souls around us. Great addition. If I had walked down that hall and seen the Lollipop trees, I believe I would have had tears running down my face.

All the best,

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 27 Sep 99 - 12:37 AM

Ah, Mick. Yer such a softie. It's why we love you.

Margarita--I think that's fascinating about the little girl sitting and listening attentively, but I don't really find it surprising. I do think music provides a completely separate pathway to the brain and might actually bypass some of the damaged part of the road for people with such impairments as autism or ADD. My children's half-brother is severely ADD and dyslexic, and what has been the saving grace in his life has been his connection to music. He can barely sit still for one minute doing school work or just sitting for whatever reason, but if there's music involved, he can sit for much, much longer and be attentive and actually learn a great deal. He's in his early teens now and has learned guitar and sings and is learning bass.

When my children were little, I wanted them to know their full names, addresses and phone numbers, as well as my husband's and my full names (besides "Daddy" and "Mommy"). When I just kept drilling them about it, nothing seemed to stick. But when I made a very rhythmic little song out of it, they learned it in a day. Music not only soothes the savage beast, it provides a back road into our beyootiful brains. ...

ww


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Margo
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 05:00 PM

Took my guitar to my son's preschool yesterday and sang a song I learned from a Pete Seeger birds and beasts CD. I was surprised by some spontaneous hugs from a couple of kids. One kid (I think he has downs syndrome or something) that I have never seen focus on anything came over and strummed on the strings! I was amazed and delighted. He had a very intent look in his eyes. It's wonderful to see a child like that make a connection with something. I think I'll always be singing for the children. Margo


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 07:28 PM

Margo, thank you for fetching this lovely thread into the present. I am honored to be here. Think of all the new 'catters seeing this example of community. Kind of takes away that whole nasty feeling people have worried about. I hope you all see yourselves with the same warm glow I see around you when I log in here. No I don't mean aura, haloes maybe.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Feb 00 - 08:14 PM

A drop of the pure! Thanks for reviving it and reviving us all.

I sing because it feels good. If it sounds good as well, that's a bonus.

Singing together with people who share something. Singing the old hymns in Church, when they're all joining in. Or when it's a small shy congregation, and you think you're the only one who's going to sing, and you hear the others as well. Singing on a march, and turning the slogans that divide into the songs that unite.

Or singing in a folk place, and you're on your own, and then other people join in. Singing a song you've made, or a song you've found, that says something you want to say, and finding that there's people who understand what you are on about.

HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?

Thanks to Big Mick for starting this thread, and the rest of you for keeping it the way it should be.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 12 Feb 00 - 08:50 AM

I enjoyed watching children singing sea shanties at the Maritime Museum in Halifax a few years ago. Tom Lewis was in town, and did a special at the museum. They rigged an old capstan with spars and rope attached to a big mat; some children sat on the mat as cargo, whilst the others worked the capstan. It was pure magic. My daughter sat on the mat and her brother worked the capstan and Tom sang South Australia, the kids joining in the chorus..Took me back to my own youth, *sigh* Yours,(A kodak moment) Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Amos
Date: 28 Feb 00 - 01:58 PM

We live, sadly, in a world where too many make the harsh noises of the day -- the crying sounds, the harsh rebukes, the whining of the overcomfortable and the assertions and manipulations of the selfinterested many. To sing in the face of this gale of discord, to me, is to assert a different set of values, where concord is senior, and beauty has importance in the world. When I sing and especially when I get others to sing, that world reappears, and reasserts itself and its dominion over chaos and squabble.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Marion
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 08:44 AM

Forgive the length of this post, but I felt it was worth it. Here is an article I found in the Ottawa Citizen.

COURAGE DOWN BELOW - A Singing Miner Keeps Hope Alive at the Springhill Mine
Canada's "singing miner" kept the faith and what faith it was. Maurice Ruddick sang Happy Birthday and hymns for eight and a half days to keep the hopes of his fellow miners alive when they were trapped nearly four kilometres underground in the Springhill mining disaster. Ruddick was one of the few black miners employed at the Springhill mine. He and 173 other coal miners were just starting their evening shift of 8pm to 11pm in the Cumberland Pit Shaft Number Two when a small "bump" occurred.

Although the earth may not seem to move beneath our feet, it is constantly shifting. Nowhere is this more apparent then in a mine, where pressure builds up in gaseous pockets causing pressure-releasing shifts called bumps.

An hour after the first bump, a second followed that shook even the surface of the town and created a heart-chilling rumble. It proved to be the most severe bump in North American mining history. Underground, 73 people were killed instantly by a massive cave-in.

Rescue teams mobilized to find survivors. Within 24 hours, more than half the surviving miners made it to the surface. While anxious family members crowded at the pithead, the fabled team of draegermen who were specially trained to assist in such disasters found themselves hampered by communication breakdowns and ventilation problems.

It seemed to be a miracle when, six days later, a voice was heard through a ventilator pipe that stretched over 8000 metres below the surface and 12 more miners were saved.

Eight other miners would wait two and half more days in a metre-high pocket before being discovered in what Maurice Ruddick described as "a dungeon". For one of them, Percy Rector, help would be too late.

As the men waited, wondered, and prayed, Ruddick sang. Although the 46-year old father of 12 had suffered a broken leg, the trauma of crawling over fallen bodies to marginal haven, and the stun of toxic gas, he persisted in rallying his comrades' spirits with jokes and tunes.

"I cried quietly in the darkness, but I made sure nobody else heard me. It might have broken the resolve to live," Ruddick admitted in the aftermath.

When the seven men divided their last sandwich and drank the last of their water on Nov. 1, they also celebrated the birthday of miner Garnet Clarke with a resounding chorus of Happy Birthday, led by Ruddick. To survive, they chewed moist bark from the pitwall props, sucked coal, and even drank their own urine.

When the draegermen finally reached them on Nov. 5, one of the astonished rescuers reported that he found Ruddick "sitting on a stonetack, singing at the top of his lungs."

"Give me a drink of water and I'll sing you a song," he said in greeting, and the long ordeal came to an end.

Ruddick modestly underplayed his inspirational role, but others felt differently.

"If it wasn't for Maurice, they'd have all been dead," the mother of one of the miners told Ruddick's wife. After the disaster, the Springhill mine was closed forever.

The rescue made international headlines and Canada's "singing miner" experienced the spotlight briefly in public tributes. The governer of Georgia, Marvin Griffin, was so taken with the story that he invited the 19 Springhill survivors to recuperate on an all-expense-paid holiday at a swank resort. The gracious invitation changed dramatically when the governor discovered that Ruddick was black. The American south was strictly segregated in those days, and Ruddick's invitation only stood if he agreed to be segregated.

Initially, Ruddick refused the governor's terms. When it became apparent that his fellow miners planned to refuse to go without him, he accepted the invitation, suggesting to them: "We'll all have our holiday, then we'll be together again." In Georgia, he stayed at one of the few hotels that accepted blacks, while the others stayed at a vacation resort for millionaires. He could not attend functions in their honour, but the men he shared that darkened Springhill tomb with were proud to join a "segregated" celebration for Ruddick.

By popular consensus, Ruddick was named 1958's Canadian Citizen of the Year. When he presented the award to Ruddick, Ontario Premier Leslie Frost described him as "an inspiration to all...a man with the divine attribute of common sense." With the grace of a hero, Ruddick accepted the honour "for every miner in the town."


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Diva
Date: 21 Aug 00 - 04:00 PM

Interesting thread. I was once asked this very question,as part of a PHD on Scottish singing style. I think my answer was because I could and there is a buzz you get from singing,alone or in a group. The best answer I heard was from a good friend of mine. For spite,he said. This guy is a mentor and good friend and the most wonderful singer of ballads. Perhaps you have to be cynical and Scottish to appreciate the irony of it. But it made me howl with laughter.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Jake
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 12:21 AM

Marion,

Thanks for the article. Do you know when it was published. Thank you.

Jake


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Crazy Eddie
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 09:58 AM

**I was born a lonely singer, & I'm bound to die the same, But I've got to feed that hunger in my soul. And if I never have a nickel, I won't ever die of shame, 'Cos I don't believe that no one wants to know.** Kris Kristofferson.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Marion
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 01:17 PM

Hi Jake. It was published January 1, 2000, as part of the Ottawa Citizen's collection of moments from Canadian history.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 22 Aug 00 - 07:30 PM

Marion, when I started this thread nearly 2 years ago, I wasn't exactly sure what I was after, but I had a number of things in mind. I wanted us to examine our motives for performing, our motives for singing particular songs. Regardless of why we started, or why we are where we are today with our singing, I wanted to see if people sensed the power of the songs we sing and the tunes we play. It was important to me to get folks to feel the empowerment that doing what we do gives them, and gives others. Your post here, of that story is one of the the best examples of one of the things I was hoping would be accomplished. I knew of that story, but I am very pleased that you made it a part of the permanent record here. Thanks for a great post.

All the best,

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: WyoWoman
Date: 25 Aug 00 - 09:42 PM

That is an absolutely wonderful story. Once again, I bow my head in shame for my country and the idiocy of our apartheid. But what a glorious hero's tale.

I've sometimes wondered if I'd go crazy being incarcerated because I wouldn't be able to remember more than a few words of any given song.

Thanks for sharing that.

WW


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Marion
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 04:39 PM

I think from now on when I sing the Ballad of Springhill, I'm going to sing "Maurice Ruddick, he up and said..." (unless someone can tell me who Caleb Rushton is).

While I'm in the neighbourhood, here's another article about the power of music that Big Mick told me a year ago should go into this thread. Again, sorry about the length, but links to newspaper sites expire.

----------------------------

The inspiring power of music

PoW choir moves man to share freedom of song with the world

Ron Corbett The Ottawa Citizen, September 29

It started with a newspaper story. Little more than a review, really. There had been a choir performance at the Perth Concert Hall in Australia to mark the 75th anniversary of the South Australian Red Cross Society. The date was Aug. 14, 1990.

The performance -- by the Perth Girls' Choir, under the direction of Colin Curtis -- was covered by the Australian newspaper. A small review was published the next day. That story was read by Martin Meader, a recently graduated film student from Melbourne.

"The story just leapt off the page at me," remembers Mr. Meader. "I read the story, then I read it again and I thought, 'this is a beautiful story.' Right away, I needed to know more."

That small review, and the quest to "know more," set off a sequence of events that culminated in 1997 with the release of Paradise Road, a movie starring Glenn Close and Frances McDormand.

It has also brought Mr. Meader to Ottawa this week, where he will be leading a community singing workshop at the Cartier Place Hotel on Sunday.

What the audience in Perth heard that night was the first public performance of songs written in a Japanese PoW camp during the Second World War.

The prisoners in the camp were women. Most were nurses. Many were held captive for nearly four years under brutal conditions, and under such conditions -- with their Japanese guards violently opposed to what they were doing at the outset -- they formed a choir.

The women rehearsed in the camp kitchen while doing chores, and late at night while pretending to sleep in their bunks. Their musical scores were copied from memory into children's workbooks, the workbooks then hidden away.

The choir consisted of 32 members and was set up with a four-part vocal structure. It was classical in both song selection and temperament. Because there were many nationalities in the camp, there were no spoken words.

The effect of all that -- unless you've already seen the movie or heard the score -- is unlike anything you've heard before. Mr. Meader wonders about the effect of the music to this day.

"When I was trying to raise money for the film, I always made sure I had a tape of the Perth concert with me," he says. "Whenever I played the tape, people just started to open up.

"I have seen bankers break down in tears after listening to the tape. There is something cathartic about the music the women created. It might actually be divine. I think that's a possibility."

The story of how that music came to be -- and it is more or less truthfully told in the movie Paradise Road -- is, once again, unlike anything you have heard before.

It all began on Feb. 12, 1942, on the day the Japanese navy broke through the British naval defences around Singapore.

- - -

For all practical purposes, Singapore fell once the British defences were breached. Immediately, there was an attempted mass evacuation of all civilians, many of whom were either European refugees or British residents.

Women and children were herded onto ships and sent away. Many of those ships -- and it remains one of the worst atrocities committed in the war -- were shelled and shot at by the Japanese navy and airforce.

Ships were sunk. Thousands of people drowned. Those who didn't drown either swam or were swept ashore at places like Sumatra or Bangka Island.

The lucky ones were then sent to prisoner of war camps. The unlucky ones were gunned down on beaches as soon as they landed.

The PoW camps were designed, and functioned, to break the spirit of the women who survived. The prisoners were poorly fed, continually beaten and deprived of all rights to associate. Their children could not receive any formal school instruction. Prayer was banned. Any sort of meeting or public gathering was forbidden.

And yet, the women rebelled against all that. Not by planning an escape, or trying to overpower their captors, or by some other grand and aggressive gesture.

They simply formed a choir.

"It is quite inspiring the solution they came up with to survive life in the prison camp," says Cara Kelson, a concert pianist from Australia who has written extensively on the PoW choir. "It was such a graceful solution. Yet so strong."

Initially, and this is shown quite well in Paradise Road, the Japanese guards were adamantly opposed to the choir. The women were beaten whenever they tried to sing. They had their food rations cut. They were harassed and humiliated.

The woman who formed and conducted the choir, Norah Chambers (played by Glenn Close in the movie) even had to beat a dog to death once, for refusing to disband the choir.

After nearly a year of this, however, a strange and unexpected thing happened. One night the Japanese guards broke into the kitchen, where another clandestine choir practice was occurring, but instead of immediately beating the women, they hesitated.

They hesitated, and in a few seconds they started shuffling their feet self-consciously. They lowered their weapons. They listened. Then they left.

The next night the guards returned again. This time they sat on the floor until the end of the rehearsal. Then they left without saying a word.

Although the camp policy against group association never officially changed, the choir was allowed to practice from then on in peace. There were even concerts near the end of the war.

"Think for a moment what these women did," says Mr. Meader. "In the middle of a war, under these hellish conditions, they discovered and found solace from one of the oldest truths we know.

"Music touches everyone. It's as simple as that."

- - -

Betty Jeffrey is 91 this year. She lives in Melbourne today, and when contacted by telephone, she says she can spare only a few moments to talk. She's rather busy.

But the choir, of course she remembers the choir. How could she ever forget it?

"It was Norah who came up with the idea, and she was such a grand conductor," says Ms. Jeffrey. " I don't know how we could have survived without the choir. Everytime I was singing in the choir, I completely forgot where I was. I wasn't in the camp any more. I was free and someplace else."

Ms. Jeffrey is one of the last surviving members of that long-ago choir. Her choir "workbook," which contained not only musical scores, but also diary entries, was published in 1952 and became a best-seller in Australia. The book is now on permanent display at Australia's war museum.

Yet it is the choir, and the never-heard-before-on-the-planet vocal ar-

rangements, that she remembers best about the war.

"There were 32 of us in the choir, and many of us could not even communicate," she remembers. "There were Dutch women and Malaysian women, women from other countries as well.

"For many of us, there were only two things we shared. We were prisoners. And we sang."

In the end, the music was something even the guards shared. Ms. Jeffrey remembers how the guards stopped their harassment of the choir, a change that seemed to occur overnight. In the last year of the war there was even a set, and rather communal, routine to evenings in the camp.

The choir would gather to sing. The guards would gather to listen to the haunting, wordless music. Then everyone, without saying a word, would head off to sleep.

The camp moved frequently during the war -- back and forth from Sumatro to Bangka Island -- before finally being liberated in September 1945. Ms. Jeffrey was so ill at the time of liberation she spent the next two years in hospitals, trying to recover from TB, among other diseases.

The concert in Perth in 1990 was a restaging of the 1944 Christmas concert the choir gave in the PoW camp. The original musical scores were used. Ms. Jeffrey was in attendance.

"I've never experienced anything like that Christmas concert in 1944 ," says Ms. Jeffrey. "We were all in tears by the end of it. What music, what singing, means to me today, it's almost impossible to describe to you.

"That choir changed my life. It changed a great many people's lives."

- - -

Martin Meader is one person whose life was changed by the music that came out of the women's PoW camp.

After hearing an amateur tape of the Perth concert, and then hearing the full story of the choir, he set out to make a movie. He had never made a movie before. Yet somehow the music from the camp opened every door that he needed to have opened.

Australian director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) agreed to direct the movie after Mr. Meader played him the tape from the Perth concert.

A Los Angeles investor, initially skeptical, signed a cheque for $8 million after hearing the tape.

All the actresses in the movie signed on after hearing the tape.

The movie cost $26 million to make and garnered glowing reviews. It also gave Mr. Meader a new calling in life.

"I realized that something powerful was at work here," says Mr. Meader. "There is a huge interest nowadays in community singing, a huge interest in choirs in general.

"I think that's because a lot of us spend our days now in front of televisions and computers, staring at all these little boxes. The feeling you have when you're singing with other people -- the feeling those women must have experienced in the PoW camp -- we're missing that from our lives today."

A trained musician (guitar and saxophone) before he ever read that long-ago news story, Mr. Meader has gone on to form two choirs in Australia and now gives community singing workshops around the world.

He will give a workshop at the Cartier Place Hotel on Sunday. He will also conduct local choirs (Ashbury and the Ottawa-Carleton Police choir) in rehearsals through the week.

"Anyone can sing," says Mr. Meader. "These workshops are for people who have been told they can never sing. If you can speak, you can sing. It's that simple.

"And the feeling you get from singing, there really is no other experience like it. It gives you freedom. Just like it did for those women during the war."

Ms. Jeffrey, at 91, agrees with that assessment.

"I still sing," she tells me with a laugh. "I'm a little croakier than I used to be, but the feeling for me is exactly the same. It has never changed."

I ask her to describe the feeling. She has a one-word answer:

"Joy."


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 06:30 PM

This is an account of what I saw and thought and felt last Thursday evening. I have been trying to see how to share it here, and I was not sure why. Then I saw Mick's thread, back up on the day's choices, and it reminded me what he had said in a PM, when I tried to tell him how hard it is sometimes to write what is in my heart, here. He said something about WHY WE SING.... so here is the stuff that tumbled out from my heart on Thursday. Raw. Some of it looks like I am inviting discussion. I ain't, actually. Just saying how I felt. Then. Not now.

Kelts Dillman died. I was there.

How can the family thank me for being there when I was the one benefiting from the chance to see them in action with each other? When all I was doing was being obedient to God's nudge to go to the hospital tonight? I knew to go there tonight. He died while we were there. I will get to that part.

The family. They are so simply loving towards one another, several generations, and so able to receive it from one another. And so loving toward Kelts, cheering him on, while wishing he could stay too. So... elegant in their movements to get closer to each other, hold each other, lift each other up bodily as grief sagged them.... taking turns doing that, holding and being held, men, women, all of them... grandchildren OUR KIDS' ages who know all about sitting quietly at the bedside just stroking a hand and looking all Sugar Dog, love shining through tears not even noticed by the one shedding them, just loving that man so dearly that to be away at this time would have been silly.

Willing to see and feel all of it to be there, not out of duty... looking all their love, and speaking it, and taking time to hear each other, and always touching Kelts, lying there all shriveled and brown yellow and bruised all over from his body shutting down... talking with us out in the hall while nurses changed Kelts' diapers, twice, because his bowels had shut down yesterday and now were not only out of control but producing what we used to call a bloody flux... we stood there telling real life stories, all of us, about what is really important, looking love at each other, smelling that odor coming through the door, and them not embarrassed we were there, and us not embarrassed either.... so simple, my friends, everything so very simple and clear.

Jesus holds all this up.

And going back into the room, Kelts' son Gary, who has EMT training, thinking they would give another shot of morphine. First Hardi prayed over, anointed, forgave, and released Kelts with lovely prayers inviting the angels to welcome him. There is one prayer he also uses sometimes at the healing Mass, "May whatever good you have done or evil you have endured be unto you for the increase of grace." Or something very close, the end may be wrong, but the good we have done and the evil endured-- I know that part is right.

Kelts was quite out of it during this, I had held his hand for a few minutes and he was so cold already, not gone yet but already going and so cold.... agonal breathing every few seconds, about 12 breaths per minute, very end-time type breathing, and it seemed like no one was there, but I knew he was, deeper than I could sense. Hardi could though, and anointed him and prayed as I described, and there was this deep sigh of release at the end of the prayers, as Kelts somehow heard us all recite the Lord's Prayer, and then the atmosphere in the room spontaneously shifted. No one said a word, but the four family members present at that point all suddenly increased their attention, their intentness, and fixed upon Kelts, whose breaths got slower, more labored, less life-giving, and everyone there, I could tell, knew the time had come and was urging him on. They had already told us, when we arrived, that they had assured Kelts during his last lucid moments that they were all there, everyone had come and was there, they were all fine, they were all taking care of each other, and he was free to go, and that they wished he could stay but that they would let him go easily... to go ahead where he needed to go...

And as I sat there SEEING all of this, suddenly into my head popped Kelts' firm intention, so happy and boyish-- "I gotta go-- there's something I have to go find...." and I mentally prayed, "Go! Go on!" And then, confused, bemused, "But I don't know where to look, how to find..." And then Jesus, "That's all right. Come along, I'll take you." And a gladness from Kelts, two more breaths as family hung on each one (hoping there would not be another)... a little suffing sigh... and then the nurse, who had been waiting to see about another shot, listened to his heart and said he was gone, and started unhooking the O2, and the whole family just came closer to him and to one another.

Claire, his wife, had been kissing his forehead every few moments, and did once more, and then they sort of stepped forward naturally and gladly into their tears, and began circulating around to each other to be held... Hardiman led another prayer, during which time two more grandchildren came back from dinner to learn that Kelts had gone, and more excellence ensued.

Such are the brainwashed people (Christians) some of you fear.

I can't seem to get to the tears just below the surface but they are happy tears at seeing such fineness, and wishing so hard you could have been there. You would have SEEN it all instantly, and it would have made things seem so different. I know you can see. I know you can. I KNOW you can SEE! When you LOOK. There the tears begin, and there goes the spelling as I cannot see clearly. I KNOW YOU CAN SEE. WHY WON'T YOU LOOK.

And I get so mad at myself, for holding back, for being scared to say it all out as big as I feel it, what I think, what I feel, what I see, what I know. At least what I battle to say, here at Mudcat, I can say more clearly now than ever before to others, but I always want more clarity, more flexibility... so I have to keep working on how to say such things, and that makes it easier to tell someone else, and then I try even harder to tell it here-- I think I have it set up so you will never quite hear me as much as I want to say things, so that I will always have a higher place to reach to. I should change that, and maybe I just did.

But I wish you had been there, and here come tears again. Because there was something there for you that was so much simpler than all the fancy words I could ever use to undo the fancy words that came bearing hurt.

Words, you see, are the problem.

I'll tell you one thing. To have Jesus show me, as He does sometimes, how much He loves, and not be able to find words that someone can hear to tell them about it with, is very sad. I understand now why people go around saying, "Jesus loves you!" Which always sounded so incredibly hokey and presumptuous that I could not imagine ever saying it. I know that He loves us all that way, theoretically, but one of these days He is going to show it to me from inside as He has with some of my friends, and I am telling you now that you will hear about it.

It's why I sing.... IT'S WHY I SING!!

Oh Mick. Thank you.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Sep 00 - 11:41 PM

You, my friend, are very welcome. It is why this thread is here. I found your remarks very appropriate, touching and needed. Remember that this thread is personal, it is about what causes us each to sing. Your fears about how it would be recieved were unfounded. Thanks for being here and sharing it with us.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: mousethief
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 03:47 PM

I sing because it feels good to me. But also for the same reason I tell jokes: I want to make poeple happy, and (in spite of my voice) sometimes people tell me that hearing a certain song made them happy.

I'll never make the world a better place by leaving some lasting achievement like a bridge or a dam or something like that. All I have to leave are my kid, my stepkids, my songs, and what little joy I have been able to bring to others through my humor and music. I feel like if I've made somebody laugh today, it's been a worthwhile day for me.

I imagine after I die, and the angels and demons are wrangling over my soul, and the demons trot out all the sins I committed, the angels will point to the people who laughed at my jokes and smiled at the songs I sang. Hopefully that will tip the scales.

O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Lena
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 09:17 PM

Gesu'Gesu',I wanted to write something but Big Mick's message amde me cry and now I'm so confused I can't remember...Ah,yes. It was a stupid dry scientifical thought.i heard one of Chatwin's last hypothesis about human traits around a month ago,it was about our need for storytelling and songs.when we discovered fire,we basically didn't have anything to fear anymore.We didn't have to stay awake all night to fight against big cats to come over in the cave and get us.Or bears.Or whatever(it's likely that children's fear for darkness comes from this anchestral istinct).So we needed to invent something else to fear about.there came dragons,evil wizards,dangers and black magic,stories and stories,to keep our adventurous fear trained...and also,what gets us humans is our capacity of learning.Which is enhanced from our comunication facilities-language,gestures,ets.As you all know,we learn from every story in every song.i learned a lot from Big Mick's story.It made me feel

And besides,I sing because I miss my mother's voice,I sing because I don't have wings,and I sing even if I'm hopless as a singer because often it's not easy to cry for my troubles and I need to make up somehow.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Yum Yum
Date: 08 Sep 00 - 06:11 PM

I was in hospital at the beginning of this year for a month or so and at the time didn't realise how ill I was. I met a man in the same ward as myself who had a heart so full of joy he made everyone around him feel happy when he was in their company. We became close friends and my wife and I visited him when I got out of hospital. He developed a taste for traditional ballads and asked me to sing him a couple. He said, If I could sing like that I'd sing all the time. I don't feel like singing right now as the lump in my throat hurts. I was at his funeral today. His wife gave me a message from him. Keep singing, 'cos your looks wont get you into heaven. (always the joker) But after reading all of this thread I've decided I will keep on singing. Thanks Mick, I guess I just needed to share my feelings. Your stories touched a nerve. I think mudcatters are BIG softies....KEEP SINGING. Yum Yum.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 06:16 AM

It's amazing. I know all about the power of good news and strong stories to bring healing tears. And yet it still feels like a brand-new surpise how the good tears flow upon reading any of these again.

And THAT, dear ones, is why I sing better and better all the time, and more easily, and sometimes without even thinking.

I treasure you all, and every story you have lived.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 09:37 AM

Lena, a universe was contained in your post. Go back and read its paragraphs, and then step back and look at the content of them individually and then as a whole. Keep singing, friend Lena, keep singing. And keep thinking and hearing your mothers voice. There is much more you have to share with us.

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 09:56 AM

Yum Yum, I sincerely hope that you recognize the gift you gave, and the enormity of the gift he gave back. You touched this man to the extent that he sent you a message before he left on the next part of the journey. His spirit recognized yours for what it is. When you have the gift of song, you have an obligation to share it, to use it in an appropriate way. We spend the first part of our lives learning to sing. At some point, if we recognize the depth of our souls, we realize that the gift we have given isn't about making us "famous". It is about sharing and passing on the stories of who and what we are to another generation. Sandy and Caroline Paton discovered this early on and have made a whole life of their sharing. Art Thieme is another example of this. He passes on in so many ways. Ed Trickett is another. So is Dan Milner (Liam's Brother).

You apparently have a gift, my friend. You shared it with your friend and he gave it back in spades. Don't squander it, Yum Yum. Sing...........and pass it on. It makes the lump go away.

All the best,

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Yum Yum
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 07:42 PM

It's some times easier said than done. I have just had another lump in my throat reading your last comment, thanks for your reply. Sometimes we all feel alone and can't share our deepest feelings with anyone, (even our closest) In my part (I hope it was a momentary lapse} I felt by reading your stories, akin! DONT GET THE WRONG IDEA, I'M NOT USUALLY SO SOFT. (this is me being Yum Yum again) being serious, it is good to know that all us trad/folkies have a heart! Thanks again Big Mick. KEEP SINGING. YUM YUM


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: hesperis
Date: 09 Sep 00 - 11:26 PM

Wow.

Beautiful stories.
Thanks, all of you.

I sing because I am music. I have always been music. The music comes through me and touches, opens up human heart to human heart.
Music is one of the things that saved my life, and I need to pass that gift on.

Love,
hesperis


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: KT
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 02:45 AM

For the lady who cries when she hears Danny Boy, cause it reminds her of her son's recent funeral....for the old man who jumps up with a cry of joy at the sound of an old song he hasn't heard in 50 years, "Pack Up Your Troubles"..... for the child who sings along on "Jingle Bells," at the top of her lungs (in mid July)..... for the woman who sits alone, trying to hide the tears while recalling her husband's love for the song, "Red River Valley".....for the couple celebrating 50 years of marriage, holding hands and singing along on "Let Me Call You Sweetheart".....for the child who, though he can't sing along, signs "more" when the Itsy Bitsy Spider goes up the spout again....for these, and so many others........that's why.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Lena
Date: 10 Sep 00 - 07:31 AM


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 03:56 PM

Amos, look what you wrote-- up above in February.

Thanks for getting me to sing. Oh I been singing. But something was missing, especially in my church singing.

Thanks for helping me look for it. (Another reason why I sing.) I think I have started to find it.

~S~

I'm not sure the following song is done yet, but...


I SING BECAUSE...

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free.
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He thinks of me.

I sing because He made us
To praise Him endlessly.
And as He hears each sparrow,
I know He's hearing me.

I sing because He's faithful,
For every lock-- a key.
As the sun calls forth the sparrow,
His kingdom calls to me.

I sing because His mercy
Is more than we can see.
For His bounty feeds the sparrow,
And I know He's planned for me.

I sing because He loves us
How ever we may be
For His love rests on the sparrow,
And His love's redeeming me.

I sing because He's perfect
And loves us perfectly.
And as freely flies the sparrow--
His freedom lives in me!

So, I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free.
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He thinks of me.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: The Celtic Bard
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 06:54 PM

As I have read this thread, I have been touched and brought to tears by all the stories and by how people have poured out their hearts.

Why do I sing? Because I can't hold back the song. I sing because music is life itself and because it helps me to get through life. Music is one of the greatest gifts that I have found in life and it has been such a wonderful blessing that I have such a talent for it. Without it, I truly do not know where I would be. I was taken away from my parents when I was 5 because the school administraters thought that I was being abused. Before finally being returned home, I spent several months in a government institution and then several more in a foster home. By that time, I had become noisy and demanding and my fostor parents didn't like me. I had only two things to hold on to and that was my stuffed dog and my music. I used to hum little songs that I made up to myself all the time. Wherever I was, I was always singing. For me, singing frees the soul. It is a way to "slip the surly bonds of earth and touch the face of God." I know that sounds cheesy but that it how it is for me. When I sing, I can feel something deep vibrating through my whole body, I can feel my soul breaking free of the pain and despair of this world.

Another thing I love about singing is how it touchs people. When I was little, I went caroling with my horseback riding instructor through her neighborhood, riding her horses. We would run up to the house, ring the doorbell like mad, and run back to the group. Often the owner would come out ready to yell at whoever was playing with their doorbell and instead be greeted with a mass of singing children. During those two Christmases, I saw so many hearts melted by the simple melodies of Christmas. Those caroling outing are some of the brightest among my holiday memories. Last year, I was finally able to convince my mom and my sister to go caroling with me and the response was awesome! This year I am organizing a neighborhood-wide carol in memory of my neighbor who died just last month. Bob loved Christmas. I think it was his favorite time of year and he made the rest of the neighborhood love it with him. I think he would love the fact that the neighborhood is coming together at his favorite time.

And it's not just Christmas songs that I have seen touch people. Last spring I had a history class that I had to do a prestentation for. Being part Irish, I decided to do the presentation on Irish history in the 1800s. I also decided that the best way to present Irish history was the way that the Irish do: through song. One of the songs I picked was "Kilkelly," a beautiful heart-wrenching song about a father writing to his son who has emmigrated to America. The letters span 32 years and at the end of each one the father asks when his son will come home. In the end, the father dies without seeing his son. I gave the presentation to my mom and when I finished that song, she was crying. What I had forgotten was that the aniversity of her father's death was coming up. That song had reminded her of her dad. When I sang that song in the class, I watched as this one lady in the front row started crying. She was an adult student taking night classes. When I talked to her after the class, she told me that she had emmigrated from Korea and left her parents behind. That song had reminded her of them.

That is the power of music, to make people laugh, to make people cry, to meet them right where they are and sing out the words that their hearts are dying to say. To allow the singer to forget himself in the moment and release his soul to fly with the song.

That is why I sing.

God bless, Rebecca


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 07:21 PM

I don't sing. Singing is too traumatic for me. I don't know why that is. I laugh. I wonder if that is so very different.

Laughter is a necessary ingredient of life for me. It smoothes out the rough parts of the hard things in life that grind people down.

I like to share my laughter with others. Maybe that's my way of singing them a song.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: The Celtic Bard
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 10:19 PM

We all sing in different ways, Carol. Just keep on laughing. Or should I say, keep on singing.

God bless, Rebecca


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Troll
Date: 03 Dec 00 - 10:50 PM

I sing because I must.My mother says that I could carry a tune at 8mos old and sing at 10 mos.
I have clinical depression and, before I got on medication, sometimes singing was to only thing that kept me going, that kept me alive.
I could no more not sing than not breathe.
I sing before audiences and am told that people like my singing but I would be singing anyway. As I said, I sing because I must.

troll


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 04:50 PM

Was there ever a more poigniant reason to sing? In my life I can't think of a time that I wanted to sing a sad song for all that Wesley and Bretta, at their young age, have had to endure. I cried more tears than a big man should have to admit to for the struggle of young Patrick to live. He, even in infancy, was a noble little warrior. Have I ever wanted to sing a joyful song more in my life? A song dedicated to this family and all that they have taught me of walking through life, full of grace? These young people helped their infant son to live every moment of his very short life. They inspired a worldwide community who smiled and cried with them at every bit of news of the wee lad's wellbeing. And when it was time to let go, and give the brave boy back to the care of the angels, they put a face on how one should face this most difficult trial with grace, love and appreciation. And then they turned to young Brendan, and the task of raising this wee man. I sing for this family for all they have faced and all they have taught. I am in their debt.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 05:11 PM

Still, and again, the thread one comes back to. A friend once said to me, "Why do we sing at such terrible times? I don't know about anyone else, but I sing because it is just too painful to breathe otherwise. When you sing you can push the damn breath in and out of of your body through the choking pain."

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 05:13 PM

We cry more than grown fella's should don't we? Thanks Mick.

Amazing my friend. I was out cooking dinner and thinking of Wesley and Bretta and the lullabyes and all........and this old thread of yours came to mind as it often does in times like these. So I came back to refresh it with a few words. I was amazed to see it already up, though I shouldn't have been.

You have not only beaten me to it, but your words are heartfelt and wonderful and I can but echo what you have said.

Tears, joys, and songs. I too, am in their debt.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 07:01 PM

I sing songs for myself, yes, but singing for an audience is where it's at, for me! I never feel so much alive as when singing for an audience--whether one person or two hundred!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 04:56 PM

Still singing. Because it's the best way to [insert the verb of your choice here], sometimes.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: mousethief
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 05:00 PM

Hmmm. My favorite verb just won't fit into that sentence, Sue, no matter how hard I shove it.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Stevangelist
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 05:59 PM

"I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones of the road would cry out."

I sing because it's one of the things God gave me to do... and I get to sing about BEAUTIFUL stories like those.

Mick, Gracias por su amor para los jovenes pobres. Yo tambien tengo un lugar en mi corazon donde que es necesario ayudar los de estaciones abajos.

Stevangelist


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 10:16 PM

Esteban, mi muy amigo,

No hay necesidad de gracias. Los niños agradecen nos y tolerancia nosotros por su presencia y su amante. Pienso a gente como nosotros ayuda otras porque en hacer así pues, nos ayudamos. La cosa importante es enseña también a nuestros niños y a ésos alrededor de nosotros. Estos niños me enseñaron que mucho más que mí podría enseñarlos siempre.

Todos los la mejores,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: toadfrog
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 11:09 PM

Oh! For the real reason, CLICK HERE. A real and true GOSPEL SONG!! The v. best. But then, for an alternative view, CLIK HERE.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Lyrical Lady
Date: 13 Jun 01 - 11:36 PM

There are so many things I would like to do and can't because I don't have the skills (yet!). I sing because I can!

LL


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 03:24 PM

Marion; I think i read somewhere about an orchestra formed in Ausschwitz; very much like your story


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHY WE SING (Kirk Franklin)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 05:30 PM

This is one of toadfrog's links above. (Toadfrog, we like to post lyrics here as well as giving the link so people searching here later can find it.)

~S~

WHY WE SING
Kirk Franklin
(from album 'Kirk Franklin & The Family' 1993)

Someone asked the question,
"Why do we sing?
When we lift our hands to Jesus
What do we really mean?"

Someone may be wondering
When we sing our song;
At times we may be crying,
And nothing's even wrong.

**I sing because I'm happy
I sing because I'm free
His eye is on the sparrow
That's the reason why I sing.
Glory Hallelujah!
You're the reason why I sing,
Glory Hallelujah,
You're the reason why I sing.**

Someone asked the question,
"Why do we sing?
When we lift our hands to Jesus
What do we really mean?"
Someone may be wondering
When we sing our song;
At times we may be crying
And nothing's even wrong.

Glory Hallelujah
I give the praises to ya
You're the reason why I sing
Glory Hallelujah
You're the reason why I sing

When the song is over,
We've all said, "Amen."
In your heart just keep on singing
And the song will never end.

If somebody asks you,
"Was it just a show?"
Lift your hands and be a witness,
And tell the whole world, "No!"

And when we cross the river
To study war no more
We will sing our song to Jesus,
The One whom we adore.

**repeat**

Glory Hallelujah
I give the praises to ya
You're the reason why I sing
(You're the reason why I sing)
You're the reason why I sing
(You're my melody at midnight, Jesus)
You're the reason why I sing
(You're my song in the stone, Jesus)
You're the reason why I sing
(You're my hymn in my heart, Jesus)
You're the reason why I sing
(You're the reason)
You're the reason why I sing

SH


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Subject: Lyr Add: GOD OF EVERYTHING (W. Gregory Thompson)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 05:38 PM

Here is the other song Toadfrog linked.

GOD OF EVERYTHING
Words and Music ©2000 W. Gregory Thompson/ASCAP
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

He is
The reason why I sing
Heaven's only King
God of everything
He is

Come people; let us sing (Come people, let us sing)
Praises to the Lord, our King (Praises to the Lord, our King)
Celebrate His righteousness (Celebrate His righteousness)
Praise Him for Who. . .

(CHORUS)
He is
The Lord of all creation
He is
The Savior of all nations
He is
The reason why I sing
Heaven's only King
God of everything
He is

Lift high His mighty Name (Lift high His mighty Name)
His greatness now proclaim (His greatness now proclaim)
Worship Him in holiness (Worship Him in holiness)
Give Him praise for Who . . .

(REPEAT CHORUS)

He is
He is
He is
God of everything
He is

SH


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Subject: Lyr Add: AS I ROSE UP AT BREAK OF DAY
From: WickedLad
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 09:14 PM

This is one song I collected a long while ago that i sing when I need to

AS I ROSE UP AT BREAK OF DAY

As I rose up at break of day
All from besides my true love
I heard a blackbird sing it's song
as beautiful as new love.
There's not a court in all the world,
has heard a sound so rich.
and nere a song that has been sung
that has such perfect pitch.
As I walked out this Autumn morn
just as the sun was rising,
and all the world with dew was hung,
and the trees like silver shining.
There's not a court in all the world,
has treasures fair as these,
and nere a diamond shone so bright,
as sunlight through the trees.
And later on this Autumn day,
I saw a tree fire burning,
it's leaves like flame of red and gold.
It set my heart a yearning.
And then I heard another song,
from deep within my heart,
awaiting just one touch of love,
before it gave a start.
After love I ask of life ,
just one simple thing,
pray never let me see the time,
that does not let me sing.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Finny
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 06:49 AM

I enjoy singing. For me it is a way to get totally absorbed or lost in something I love to do. It is an escape, a release. Most of all though, I love to sing for others. To give a part of myself that I don't ususally share and to enchant or spin a story into song.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Willa
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 02:28 PM

Wickedlad
What's the tune for this, please?


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 05:37 PM

Not here, Joe - HEERE!

I love this song! The song title is "The Blackbird" and was written by Dave Webber.

Willa, if you'd like a just-over-1-meg MP3, e-mail me and I'll send it. I (or someone else) may get around to writing down the tune, but it may take a while.


Whoops - somebody posted this song here and it has a birdie. (Also changed the post title so it didn't say "ADD.") --JC


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 08:13 PM

Sorry to interrupt, but...

PLEASE CARRY ON IN PART TWO
.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 07:27 PM

I love to sing because i love to rock... i used to be able to sing all my favorite music (classic rock) before i hit puberty (im 15 now). I still have a great voice but it falls short of the high notes i used to be able to pull off. Now i cant sing what i really want to sing does anyone have any suggestions on how i might be able to get my voice higher?


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Amos
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 09:38 PM

Chinese box-jock, or a capo. Or just practice scales every day; after the initial shock of the testosterone wears off you'll get some of that upper range back. Or, you could practice your falsetto.



A


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 03 - 09:39 PM

My goodness (or badness), I sing because it's there and I ofttimes feel the need for it, particularly for strictly tradiional songs and ballads; takes me to my roots, so I get regrounded there again.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 07:05 PM

My life goes on in endless song
Above Earth's lamentation
I hear the real though far off hymn
That hails a new creation
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Tyke
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 02:59 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: GUEST,Melissa
Date: 11 Feb 08 - 05:47 PM

Why We Sing is a wonderful children's song, it was one of the songs we sang in our chorus class, we will also be having a concert in Lowville, New York, I am not quite sure when. Anyway, I am a big fan of your music and I hope to see many more FANTASTIC songs from you and have a wonderful day. Talk to you tomorrow!

   your fan,
       Melissa


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 12:23 AM

While we're on the subject, here's a blog posted by alanabit on his MySpace page about an experience he had recently.

Click here.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Feb 08 - 03:10 AM

Brilliant thread Mick. Just read it from the start. Congratulations on having started it!


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 May 09 - 06:25 PM

Here is a continuation of THIS POST UPTHREAD.

Today we laid Kelt's wife Claire to rest.

This here is a matriarchal culture. The men are the muscle and sometimes the heart, but the women-- ah, they're the glue.

At Claire's beside a few nights ago that strength of that matriarchy was evident. The matriarchs-in-training of the generation that followed Claire and Kelt... and the "girls" her grand-daughters. Again, family was gathering.... saying last goodbyes of amazing gratitude. Praise for the woman who had helped to raise them all, under a strong, intact umbrella of loving strength. Words of intimate memory and appreciation for all she had given, all she had been. And it was evident how well-suited to their too-soon roles of leadership are the excellent young women, the grand-daughters, whose lives are beginning to bear adult fruit. Breathtakingly fit for assuming Claire's shoes, and not thinking a thing about it yet because this was a time just to wish Claire upon her journey. Such is the privilege of ministry-- to see all this implicate beauty and watch it begin to unfold.

Ah well, so she passed, "surrounded by family" as the sparse obituary language put it. Such wondrous love that it makes 'most any witness want to tell it.

And today, in due course, the funeral. The family spent the morning preparing a gracious and welcoming reception for all Claire's friends and family. And then we all went into the big ole church to say our prayers together.

And inside all the things I did to "work" the "event" as one little molecule among the many molecules that make life happen here in this mountain-town culture, there was another tiny molecule containing all the love there is, this one miniscule glimpse, that held my attention in the middle of the service. The bulletin guiding us through the prayers simply said "Ave Maria, Sherri Bodine, Liszt." BINGO. I guess they call it a "backstory" in today's news-speak.

Sherri is a well-know, well-loved local woman whose roots here are so deep she sometimes has difficulty articulating what it means to be "from here." She's a friend, a parishioner, and the glue that holds a local home-hospice program together. She's a "social worker" whose joy in lay ministry is to go to the homes of the dying and love the dickens out of them, with a waitful, watchful strtength that knows how fine huiman beings really are when the chips are down. She's the lady who drives over and around our crazy-hilly roads in all seasons-- whether they're dry or iced-- to share the rpivilege of allowing death to take its course when the time comes to do that with dignity. She's the one who organizes a Grief Camp for local, equally-inarticulate kids, a place to come togehter to feel and express the inexpressible loss of a parent, a brother, a close young friend. And she sings. She SINGS. She could have left this community at any time in her life to become a world-class opera singer, but she stayed.... and she sings.... from the heart, songs she learns by ear.

Sherri, to make a long story a bit shorter, sang the arrangement the family loves, for Kelts' funeral. So of course she sang it for Claire..... of whom I had had a bedside vision that she was waiting before passing, not only for the 2 grandkids who live farther away, but to "put on her wedding dress" for Kelts. Who, like the lady she was, was getting ready with joy to walk into her life with Kelts. Who had waited thse long years, to do it again, and this time, REALLY forever. Who, in her casket last night at the local funeral hiome where somany families take their turns greeting and being greeted by friends, had the most adorable small smile around her eyes as her earthly remains lay before us.

But back to Sherri. I had wondered, as the service progressed, where the heck she was. I had not seen her before the servoce got iunderway. "OPh LOrd," I worried, what if everyone assume dsoeone else was goiing to call her to ask her to sing, but no one DID?" But my worry was to no avail. At the right time, she snuck up behind the organists' postion, took her place, and sang that Ave Maria the way only she can sing it. And it struckj me then-- for all I knew, she may well have zoomed into the parking lot, miracullously finding a
space open, in between house calls. She may have gonr from one bedise, to church, to the next. She's that immersed in her ministry, and is so well-syuited for it, that she'd be able to do that, completely relaxed, with no worries.

The point is not that she DID do that, but that she so easily COULD. That's the kind of ministry to which I aspire-- that ability to be the right molecule at the right place, at the right time, to be used as God calls someone to be willing to be used.

And THAT, again, is


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Subject: RE: Why we sing-- Claire Dillman
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 May 09 - 06:49 PM

corrected post

Here is a continuation of THIS POST UPTHREAD.

Today we laid Kelts' wife Claire to rest.

This here is a matriarchal culture. The men are the muscle and sometimes the heart, but the women-- ah, now, they're the glue.

At Claire's beside a few nights ago, that strength of a matriarchy was evident. The matriarchs-in-training of the generation that followed Claire and Kelts... gathering the family, including the "girls," Claire's grand-daughters. Again, family gathering.... saying last goodbyes of amazing gratitude: praise for the woman who had helped to raise them all under a strong, intact umbrella of loving strength. Words of intimate memory and appreciation for all she had given, all she had been. Telling her they were strong enough that she could go. Looking forward to seeing her again. Giving her messages for Kelts, till they can see him again, themselves.

And it was evident how well-suited to their too-soon roles of leadership are these excellent young women, the grand-daughters, whose lives are beginning to bear adult fruit. Breathtakingly fit for assuming Claire's shoes, and not thinking a thing about it yet-- focused at that moment upon wishing Claire a good journey.

(Such is the privilege of ministry-- to see all this implicate beauty and watch it begin to unfold.)


Ah well, so later that evening she passed, "surrounded by family" as the sparse obituary language puts it. Such wondrous love that it makes 'most any witness want to TELL it.


And today, in due course, the funeral. The family spent the morning in the parish house, preparing a gracious and welcoming reception for all Claire's friends and family-- all the touches Claire herself would have loved to arrange, and would have arranged without fuss. While they worked, I occupied a nearby room where I could be asked last-minute-help questions, work on music choices for the upcoming Pentecost season of the Saturday Night Service, and think my way through Scripture lessons due for those weeks to make GOOD music choices.

When the time came, we all went into the big ole church to say our prayers together.

And within all the things I did to "work" the "event"-- as one little molecule among the many molecules that make life happen here in this mountain-town culture-- there was another tiny molecule containing all the love there is... this one miniscule glimpse, that held my attention in the middle of the service. The bulletin guiding us through the prayers simply said, "Ave Maria, Sherri Bodine, Liszt." BINGO.

I guess they call it a "backstory" in today's news-speak.

Sherri is a well-known, well-loved local woman whose roots here are so deep that she sometimes has difficulty articulating what it means to be "from here." She's a friend, a parishioner, and the glue that holds a local home-hospice program together. She's a "social worker" whose joy in lay ministry is to go to the homes of the dying. There, she loves the dickens out of them with a wait-ful, watchful strength that knows how fine human beings really can be when the chips are down. She's the lady who drives all over and all around our crazy-hilly roads in any season-- whether the roads are dry or iced-- to share the timely privilege of allowing death to take its course when the time comes to do that with dignity. She's the one who organizes an annual Grief Camp for local, equally-inarticulate kids-- a place to come together to feel and say the inexpressible loss of a parent, a brother, a close young friend. A place where the grief can give way to play and laughter.

And she sings. She SINGS, oh my she sings. She could have left this community at any time in her life to become a world-class opera singer, but she stayed.... and she sings.... from the heart, songs she learns by ear.

Sherri, to make a long story a bit shorter, sang the arrangement the family loves, for Kelts' funeral. They had just talked about it in Claire's room. So of course she sang it for Claire..... of whom I'd had a bedside vision that she was waiting before passing, not only for the 2 grandkids who live farther away, but to "put on her wedding dress" for Kelts. Who, like the lady she was, was getting ready with joy to walk into her life with Kelts as she had once done, years and years ago. Who had waited patiently, these long lonely years, to do it again, and this time, REALLY forever. Who, in her casket last night at the local funeral home where so many families take their turns greeting and being greeted by friends, had the most adorable small smile around her eyes as her earthly remains lay before us.

But back to Sherri. I had wondered, as the service progressed, where the heck she was. I had not seen her before the service got underway. "Oh Lord," I worried, "It would be too funny and too awful if everyone had assumed someone else had called Sherri, to ask her to sing, but no one DID?" But my worry was bootless.... At the right time, she quietly stepped up from behind the organist's position, took her place, and sang that Ave Maria the way only she can sing it.

It struck me then-- for all I knew, she may well have zoomed into the parking lot, miraculously finding a space open, in between house calls. She may have seamlessly gone from one bedside, to church, to the next. ("May she go from strength to strength.") She's that immersed in her ministry, and is so well-suited for it, that she'd be able to do that, completely relaxed, with no worries.

The point is not that she DID do that (I didn't ask), but that she so easily COULD.


That's the kind of ministry to which I aspire-- that ability to be the right molecule at the right place, at the right time, to be used as God calls someone who is willing to be used.

And THAT, once again, is WHY I SING.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 30 May 09 - 11:41 AM

I sing in search of that precious moment when many voices sing as one. It's nice when people sing together, but extraordinary when they sing with one voice. It happens fairly often for me. Each time, it's a wonderful and ever-new experience. I can't think of a better way of bridging the distance between people.
-Joe Offer-


Joe - It is magic isn't it? My Andie also loved the blending of many voices. I like to think she got that from me. I get tingle factor from that lovely listening out for, adjusting your own voice to, that cooperation within a group to make one voice. I really love it when I am not singing, only hearintg.

Susan - what a lovely person Sherri sounds. One nuturing soul so lovingly describes another. Thank you for this picture of Sherri.


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Subject: RE: Why we sing.
From: Amos
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:56 PM

Why We Sing Part II


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