What better way to grow community than through good food and singing.
Singing not only is fun but also is good for your health.
Many people think that farming or raising chickens , etc., is all that is necessary to get back to the natural laws of life. While it is a start, it is not the end. We have become more and more convinced over the years that it is transforming all aspects of your life (baby steps!). For example, it is obvious that you cannot have a successful harvest if your underlying soil is poor. That is elementary. But what about the missing elements in natural living, some of which we are not even yet aware of? Getting in touch with nature is more than what we think.
By going natural, I do not mean “going green” while maintaining our standard of living we have grown accustomed to. It demands a radical shift in our thinking, much more than some of us are willing to undertake. But that is a story for another time.
Right now, I want to deal with another missing element that I have recently experienced that is vital for a successful, more “natural” lifestyle. That element is music. Although we are surrounded by nature’s “music” — birds singing, the sweetly blowing wind and the soft rustling of the vegetation (if you ignore the freeway sounds for a moment)- there is also the making of, and participating in, music as a community.
Oftentimes, I sit and sing softly to myself or play the guitar with my sister. It is soothing and comforting and can lift my spirits when I need it. But there is a magic that happens when those very acts are done in a sense of community. It is like for a moment in time, everyone around you is immersed in the same rhythms and harmony that are surrounding and moving you. Community singing unites people. Today, too much of our leisure time is spent in solo activities like surfing the internet, watching TV or listening to songs on the radio or YouTube via earplugs by ourselves. But get a group of people together to sing and things change. You change. We strengthen our sense of community by singing songs together and weaving shared memories and emotions into our lives. For a moment in time, we are all on the same page…and it is nice.
What has impressed me about the sing alongs is that the participants’ ages vary from the youngest at 1 year to the oldest around 80, all sitting together and enjoying the same event. Where can you find that today? Not even in most families is that even seen. Most entertainment today is targeted for a specific group and not attractive at all to each individual in a wide range of ages.
Lifting our voices in song lifts our spirits and binds us in a way only music can. I can’t tell you how many times folks have come up or commented how “magical” these evenings are. People can’t sit still in their seats. They end up dancing in the aisles! Like that old song says “Do you believe in magic.” I sure do and it comes in the form of communal singing in a backyard on a cool California night.
Though I haven’t the courage yet to do a solo act on my own, I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity of having met such outstanding musicians who give of their talents and time to help the rest of us blend together in “harmony” if only for a moment. No wonder that old Coke ad of the 60s was so catchy with the iconic lyrics ” I ‘d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Group singing worldwide…in harmony…together for a purpose…. and good health!
(P.S. After writing this article, I found this on the internet and the message reflects my feelings)
Much of this impulse descends from Pete Seeger, who has championed the cause of group-singing for more than 60 years. “No one can prove a damn thing,” Mr. Seeger said in a recent interview, “but I think that singing together gives people some kind of a holy feeling. And it can happen whether they’re atheists, or whoever. You feel like, ‘Gee, we’re all together.’ ”
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