This one isn’t really a trick – just something that needs to be recognized by everyone with the courage to sing, and by everyone who encourages others to sing.
Yesterday I was at the Celebration of Life for a great lady who lived a long and full life – the Mom of a number of my singing friends.
I was up at the front with the choir of about 50 singers as we all stood as the family filed in. The family’s pianist friend played a few hymns as the procession continued, but as he began Let There Be Peace on Earth, the choir could no longer contain themselves, and as if by design, everyone began to hum the melody. The result was a warm, rich sound-homage to this wonderful lady’s legacy and an expression of comfort to the grieving family.
Then at the end of the service as everyone was filing out, the pianist (and violist) once again played one hymn after another, and the choir, then the congregation began spontaneously to sing, quietly at first – and then with no holds barred as we finished with Amazing Grace.
The spontaneity of this moment was comforting and powerful and majestic and I will never forget how it felt.
When we teach people to sing we are helping them to have the courage to express intense emotion freely, with the raw humanity that we all so desperately need when times get tough.