A Song in My Heart

Since it is a good two months before we leave on our trip to the Arctic Ocean, and since we are spending a good deal more time at home due to the coronavirus, I decided to use some of this time to reminisce about my life experiences and the positive things in life.  So, I will start with, what I hope will be, several posts about the songs I have sung over the years, where they came from and why I added them to my repertoire.

Where to start?  Well, I guess at the beginning.  It all started when I was in Grade 8.  Every year, the Grade 8 class in our school in Manitouwadge, Ontario raised money to take a trip to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.  As this was the year that the Expo was being held in Montreal, our class was going to Montreal instead, which is actually where I was born.  Okay, don’t look it up.  I will tell you, even though I am revealing my age, that it was 1967.

One of the events that our school sponsored to raise money was ‘Talorama”.  One of our music teachers held auditions so I tried out and failed because I couldn’t sing soprano.  Of course, all girls who could sing, sang soprano (except me apparently).   But then, in those days, girls couldn’t take woodworking either.

Since it was Canada’s centennial, our English class assignment was to write a poem on this theme.  Our English teacher taught music as well (though he was not the ‘music teacher’) and felt that we could put my poem to music. He was so pleased with our work, that he signed me up to sing in the ‘Talorama’ (much to the music teacher’s chagrin).

My sister said that, when I started to sing, the whole auditorium fell silent.  I doubt it was that I was so good but rather everyone was shocked that I could sing — myself among them!   My teacher had been quite concerned since, during practices, I stumbled and forgot words.  It amazes me to this day how much confidence I seem to muster with lights and a microphone!  I know — it seems it should be the opposite.  I am more nervous singing in front of a dozen people than I am in front of thousands.

Well then, off to Montreal we went.  I was supposed to sing my song again at Expo but I got separated from the group and got lost.  I used this opportunity to leave Expo and visit family who lived in Montreal.  This, I suppose was the start of my rebellious years as well.

Anyway, getting lost had another advantage because it wasn’t long after I realized that I had written what others wanted to hear rather than my own thoughts.  I cringe when I realize that my nationalistic, sucky song could have been recorded and live on to shame me for the rest of my life.

I wish I had written a song more in line with the poem that Joe Wallace wrote called ‘O Lovely Land’ which has since been put to music, and which, I have added to my repertoire.

Here is a photo from my archives of me playing at a music festival — perhaps in 1979 or so.

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