by Marni Levitt March 20, 2018
Today, on the first day of Spring, as I walk in my neighbourhood, planting my footsteps on the soft brown earth, smelling the fresh air and the hint of warmer weather to come, these words are going around in my head: “And I will sing this song/ And I will raise up to the night sky/ And I will sing this song/ I do believe I’m back on solid ground/ I do believe I’m back on solid ground.” I truly feel I am back on solid ground today. I have ‘made it through’ the grind and introspection of winter. The words going around in my heard are from a song we sing together at Sing for Joy, the community choir I am a part of. I have been part of this group for just over a year, but feels like I have been there for much longer. There is a story of how I connected with this group.
I remember sitting in a cafe inside a health food store on Bloor St. last December. I was feeling some sadness and some stress (as we sometimes feel in life), and feeling a little bit alone in it. Then, I turned around, and there was a woman with long dirty blond hair, and bright sparkly blue eyes who asked me “Are you Marni?”. I had never met her before. She recognized me from some of my Facebook posts (I like to meet new people on Facebook, and will often friend my friends’ friends). We had never met before in person. She told me her name was Mila and that she led a community choir in Toronto called “Sing For Joy” that is welcome for anyone to join, regardless of musical background. She liked my posts about the work I was doing helping a community group in Toronto to write a song together. I shared about the music recording project I was undertaking called “Waves of Change”, and mentioned that Jerry Brodey was helping me to produce it…she said “Wow! really? Jerry is in our choir!”. What a synchronistic moment for both of us!
We spoke more about music in the oral tradition (learn by listening not reading music), folk music around the world, and everyday people expressing their voices together. In speaking with her, I could sense how much she believed in the work of building community, using song. She invited me to join the choir. I was 1000% sure I wanted to join! Since then I have come to call this choir and community home, and our paths continue to cross and weave together. I feel I am part of something larger than myself, and that I belong. I sense this is what many people are longing for in our hectic modern lives.
Mila and I are ‘singing together’ in so many different ways. I have been sharing songs from the “Waves of Change: Mindfulness Singalong Songs for Adults and Kids” project with the Sing for Joy choir community. The songs continue to take shape, and grow and expand each time I share. The chorus of voices joining in to sing them with me moves my heart and soul!! People tell me that they really enjoy them – and when I share them with adults and kids at my own Family Singalong events, parents tell me that their kids go home singing the songs in the evening, and long afterwards!! They are songs about gratitude, connection with self and other, tools for coping with stress. I am so grateful to have made that connection with Mila that day, and that our work continues to grow together. I know we are making a difference in our local communities.
Are you back on solid ground today? Can you plant your feet in the earth, and share your voice to the air around you, like the birds? Happy Spring.