I was working on the Sing Out! Radio Magazine in the year Pete Seeger was 89 years old. While touring on the east coast in September, I got a call from Mark Moss, editor of Sing Out!, and he informed me that Pete was willing to sit down for an interview in Pete's hometown of Beacon, NY. Needless to say I changed my plans a bit and headed south from Boston. I waited for Pete at the Sloop Club--the meeting place for the hundreds of folks who cleaned up the Hudson river! Pete arrived in his old mini-truck on a misty fall morning and proceeded to gracefully talk about his life in music.
One of the things Pete told me that morning was that it was never his intention to put a song in people's ears--it was always his intention to put the song on their lips. I decided at that moment to do my part to carry on that aspect of Pete's work. A large part of my work now is facilitating, inspiring and leading these sings anywhere and everywhere. Contact me to get one started in your community. What follows is some of the thinking behind the project.
What is a community sing?
This work is dedicated to inspiring and facilitating a tradition of singing in communities and neighborhoods across North America and beyond. The simple act of regularly gathering groups of singers—of all levels—to share songs, is a powerful and even transformational act which, when done properly, will heal your body and feed your soul.
Community singing is not performing
It exists so that all willing singers, at all levels of skill, can experience the power of song and musical participation. Performing choruses and musical groups often spring out of the community singing experience, but that is not the purpose—it’s just a welcomed consequence!
Why do we need it?
Anyone who has experienced community singing will quickly tell you the personal benefits they experienced from participating. As our culture focuses more and more on electronic screens and impersonal forms of communication—like texting and tweeting—the need for real, person to person contact grows stronger. Singing is the perfect excuse to lay down the tablet, laptop, or remote control in order to get back in touch with the healing and nurturing aspects of music and community.
Our Goals in the first year
To start an active blog and website to facilitate and inspire local community sings
To inspire at least 100 organizers to start a community sing in their community
To train at least 100 song leaders
To gather and make available information on existing singing communities