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Why we sing.

Related threads:
Why We Sing, Part III (10)
Why We Sing - Jaime de Angulo (1)
Why We Sing, Part II (90)
More Why We Sing: a POW choir (13)


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
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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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