December 1, 2020
Dear Friends, Family and Complete Strangers,
Call me Pollyanna, go ahead, call me naïve, call me too idealistic. You could find other adjectives but no swearing or bad words. I have an idea that could bring people together. Seriously, SINGING!!!! Not just anything, but songs of America. Pull out your Rise Up Singing songbooks, find your old records or, look on You Tube for folk songs, Civil Rights movement songs, songs from WWI and WWII and anti-war songs, songs of the idealized Old West, songs from slavery, songs from union organizing days, songs of Freedom, songs from the military, silly songs and other children’s songs that we all know, or should know. Then, someone who knows how to do this (not me), put it all together for the Great American Sing Along. Find the guitar players, drummers, bugle players, accordionists, piano players, fiddlers and those who know how to play the bones. Have subtitles with the words so we can all sing. Find singers who can lead the songs from all over the current music spectrum. I vote for Bruce Springsteen to be one of them.
I just saw a wonderful program on our Detroit Public Television station: “Peter, Paul and Mommy”. It must be from decades ago because Mary was there too. The audience was composed of young children and parents, all doing their part to clap along, sing along, sway and smile. The mood was contagious, charming and heartfelt. I couldn’t help but sing aloud with “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed the fly, perhaps she’ll die”. When we sang it with grandchildren, we changed the ending to “perhaps she’ll cry”. Peter and Paul sang the verses and hammed it up so that all were giggling. They sang Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty “and I teared up. Mary led a medley of children’s ditties with a chorus of “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring, he bumped his head and went to bed and he couldn’t get up in the morning”. Everyone was smiling.Just imagine everyone sitting around a campfire, or a fireplace, or your living room or wherever the tv is after popping a ton of popcorn and making hot cocoa. Leave a little room for dancing or space to squirm. Let’s end the evening with a rousing “This Land is Your Land”. This could be one of the ways we try and connect with each other and rekindle a spark of unity.
What do you think?