In this economic climate we may not be able to afford major concert tickets, but we can sure get out in the community and listen to our talented neighbours.
By Michelle Martin
Published April 21, 2009
Why overthink it? I (like so many others) cried when I watched her, and not because of the triumph-of-the-underdog story contrived by Britain's Got Talent producers. I cried because the sound of beautiful music, and the sight of people responding to it, is moving.
Though it's true that there is plenty about these kinds of contests to skewer, there is something to be said for any event that has everyone from jaded teens to critical grandmothers leaping to their feet to applaud a pretty voice singing a musical theatre classic, or even an unassuming tenor performing Nessun Dorma.
It is now coming out that Susan Boyle was a little bit of a celebrity in her small village, a parish volunteer who sang at local venues. What a wonderful reminder for all of us that, right under our noses, we can find good music to enjoy together. And well we should - the weather's fine, there's no excuse.
Yesterday, about 600 of us enjoyed the Bishop Ryan High School spring concert [PDf link], held at Carmen's. One of my kids sings in the choir, and another plays in the concert band. The BR Expression choir sang a well-executed medley of pop music, and the Celtic Fusion band gave us some tight jazz and blues grooves. I'll admit that tears came to my eyes.
Heck, a raggedy high school band version of "Hang on Sloopy" once made me well up, and there weren't even any of my own kids in the band. It was something just to watch them all up there, working so hard, having fun, while their peers, friends and family responded in kind to their evident enthusiasm.
Last winter my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the Voices in the Night concert held downtown at Centenary United Church (one among many of that season), where we reveled in one lovely voice after another, and where we were first introduced to the hilarious song Taylor the Latte Boy. The singer who performed it gave Kirstin Chenoweth a run for her money, indeed.
A couple of years back, we enjoyed the Dofasco Male Chorus when St. Patrick's parish hosted a performance.
In this economic climate we may not be able to afford major concert tickets, but we can sure get out in the neighbourhood. Go to a high school concert, even if you don't know anyone in high school - or an elementary school event. Get out to those church socials with music, those community theatre productions, that neighbourhood piano recital.
Open your ears to the aspiring professionals and the amateurs, the young and the old - the polished as well as the diamonds in the rough. Sing and clap along when you're invited to. Listen to them hit those high notes, and cheer their hard work and nerve anyway even if they don't quite reach them.
Let yourself be moved.
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