Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

04 December 2005

"Heaven Can Wait"

An ok song, but what really made me smile about this one is the challenging and totally not simple parts of the piano accompanyment. You cannot get this kind of quality arrangements from anyone else but Reader's Digest, in the sixties, when some people still played piano.

We had dinner with an older couple this past week, and they talked about how people used to sing more, just casually. I actually find that hard to believe, not that I doubt them, but it is so beyond my understanding. It also sounds fabulous. We probably sing just a little more than average in our house, I'm guessing, but I'm not sure. Do people still sing to their children? I know that people sing along with the radio, but how about without it? I've also read recently about how the existence of the iPod has allowed people to personalize their music to the point where they don't need to listen to the radio, or even a CD, much less sing along with friends or family. Sad, but believable. (I still want an iPod, they're so cool and cute.)

I know that people still sing in church, but I can't bring myself to overcome my dislike of church in general to go just for the singing. And not all churches, even, have the 'everyone sings, in parts, and all the verses' mentality. And that's what I'm looking for. I'm lucky that I do have people in my spiritual community that love singing and music as much as I do, but we can't seem to get together nearly often enough, and we need more of us. I have visions of this commune-like place, where music happens all the time, or like the high school in 'Fame'. Ah!

When I was in choir in college, and we traveled together, we would sing grace before eating. All eighty of us, in four parts. As far as I know, and I was in that choir for five and a half years straight (I took my time in college), no one ever taught anyone that grace. One picked it up from the group, I certainly did. And it was the most beautiful thing to have it seemingly just happen. It's pretty great when 'Happy Birthday' ends up in harmony, for that matter, and goodness knows that's a not-inspiring piece. But it's like we all belong to a secret 'give just a little more beauty here' club.

And singing to me is that extra beauty. It feels so good in my body, breath and sound and effort and ease all mixed up just right. It's joy in the ears that have become my whole skin. It can bring me to tears and I'll have no idea why I'm crying. As my dance can be, it can be a prayer more sure and holy and in the center of my purpose and will, a spell and an offering all in one.


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