APPLE SEEDS:  Music and Freedom

Choir. Choir. Choir. (FACEBOOK)


APPLE SEEDS:  Music and Freedom


I am married to a journalist, work in media, and for a large part of my day, ingest an inexhaustible (which at times is exhausting) amount of “news” – local and beyond… 

We monitor what people read.  It sounds creepier than it is. is a news site – we need to know what you are interested in, but we don’t actually know who you are

I totally understand why our top stories every day are about what is broken in the world.  I think as a race, humans are wired with an unquenchable lust for the details.  Don Henley wrote about it, newsrooms everywhere revel in it.  ‘Dirty Laundry’ has an undeniable appeal.

There is a definable reason that stories are written to answer who, what, why, when, where and how.  We don’t want holes in our information.   We need to know and, like dirty laundry, we get to sort it.   The ‘whites’ (warm, fuzzy information) gets piled together, but the prolific ‘darks’ (death/destruction) usually win by sheer volume.

After a long day, and a longer week of dwelling in the blackness of the day’s news, inspiration of some sort is usually required. 

What inspires my continued journey to a sunnier disposition?  Well, that depends on the day. 

Chocolate – in a variety of forms – A tootsie roll from the candy dish on my desk is sometimes all it takes.  The need of decadence is increased exponentially by the darkness of the day. Wine pairing is quite often necessary as well.  And by pairing, I mean 2 glasses.

YouTube – at the risk of repeating myself, some days deserve the delight of being sucked into the world of YouTube – where surprising musical covers, how-to-do-it videos, and just brilliant belly laughs are waiting to be explored and experienced.

Games – Although I profess loyalty to the more traditional plethora of gaming available – cribbage, any number of board games – most recently, Ticket To Ride (a delightful combination of strategy, problem solving and downright horseshoe kind of luck), but inertia combined with Gummy Drop or Blossom Blast on my tablet can be tough to beat.

Music – humming, singing along with the radio, or continuing my dalliance as a wanna-be-a-musician, my guitar and microphone at the ready.

I have had the good fortune to experience the freedom of singing in a choir.  When I talk about freedom, I mean that quite literally.

Freedom, by definition, is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.  

It is a unique and uplifting experience when a group of voices are lifted together in song, without judgement or prejudice, and in spite of the fact you, or at least your voice, is an integral part of the final effect, you can hang on to a degree of anonymity. 

Strangely enough, that anonymity breeds confidence. All of a sudden you realize you aren’t cowering behind the diva in front of you and you aren’t glued to the chorister next to you – you are singing.  And it feels good!

Lutherans like to sing – I’m Lutheran.   So that works for me.  My inaugural choir experience, 20 years ago, involved a patient pew partner, who didn’t mind the elimination of personal space for the greater good – which at that time, was one more alto making a total of three in our 10-person choir.

Michael Faulkner, teacher and choir director, twice annually expands his regular choir group, bringing 50-60 people together to make some music and some memories together.  His energy and enthusiasm, coupled with a true gift of leadership and melody, inspires even the timid troubadour to take a big belly breath, and belt it out. 

Choir, Choir, Choir was started in 2011 by two guys, as a weekly “no commitment” drop-in singing event. The public choir began as a social experiment, and now, in the back room of Clinton’s Tavern in Toronto twice a week, you’ll find a group of people who just like to sing.   

In June, Rufus Wainright invited the group to the Luminato Festival at the Hearn Generating Station in Toronto.  More than 1,500 singers were taught the back-up parts for Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. 

As I listened to the voices, and watched the faces of the myriad of people participating, I knew that the chorale experience in any form, was one to be cherished.  (Watch video below)

It has been said that music is our birthright – as is freedom.  The two go well together, wouldn’t you say.

Sing like there is no-one listening. 

Epic Night! Featuring Rufus Wainwright + 1500 Singers sing HALLELUJAH!

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