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Building Community through the Arts

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Quote of the Day: Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me…let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony. Words we sing together, linking old to young, melody to harmony, lifting up our song of peace. I started playing for a community choir, rehearsals at Northern Lakes Senior Living in Baxter, MN. We gathered on a rainy, gray Monday, a small handful of us, with the promise of more voices in the future, and hope for brighter days. We sang, Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, Shalom Chavarim, Let There Be Peace on Earth, 20160712_093206_resizedand God Bless America. The baritone on the end said, “If only the protesters would sing these songs.” The retired pastor explained the meaning of Shalom, peace and blessings to you, and good health as I greet you. Shalom, my friends, thank you for visiting my blog today.

I’m developing a relationship with the folks at this senior living center. It started with my friendship with Sandy, Activities Director and Music Therapist. She invited me to bring some of my theatre students to Northern Lakes to perform and interact with the residents. We started with a dramatized reading of the play we wrote together in the Play Writing Class this past February. I had my Spring Piano Recital there. Then, I brought in some of the actors, and a couple moms, and we sang songs from The Wizard of Oz, and acted out the main scenes. 20160513_135551_resized

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In June, I brought in my boy Zach to sing. He had about six days between graduation from high school and a choir tour, so I asked him to perform a few songs from Camelot, and his song from Guys and Dolls where he played Nicely Nicely Johnson and sang Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat. A few of my theatre students acted out their fairy tale. We gifted the residents with song and cuteness! The ladies quickly claimed my boy as their own home town son, and when he came to sing with the choir at a local church, “His solo made everyone cry,” said one of his fans. 

 

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Zach singing “If Ever I Would Leave You”

Play off the Page actors at Northern Lakes Senior Living

Play off the Page actors at Northern Lakes Senior Living

Play off the Page performs at Northern Lakes Senior Living

Play off the Page performs at Northern Lakes Senior Living

I believe this will become a regular thing. I enjoy playing for the choir. Sandy is an awesome director to work with. It gives my students a place to share their talents, and the residents seem to enjoy the spirit and enthusiasm we bring. My hope is to work with them in writing their stories and to bring more music and storytelling to them and create it with them.

When I reflect on this broken and hurting world, I rejoice in small things, like making music together, and the hope of brighter days. Our first choir rehearsal ended with shout outs for more songs and an impromptu singing of I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, in perfect harmony…

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What are some of your favorite songs that encourage peace and provide hope, love, and encouragement?

I’ll leave you with one more image/video of hope and healing. My boy singing at Mount Carmel family camp, The Holden Evening Prayer: God of Mercy, Hold us in Love. Listen to the words, For peace between nations, for peace between peoples. 

  1. Great post, Beautiful music. You are doing wonderful things.

  2. The fact that you can bring you to the residents is reason enough to keep going back!

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