It was cold – 40s – but the sun was out. We left the pavilion shade for the sun beneath the oaks and were warm in no time. Gray showed up with his ukelele and a bunch of new people stopped through. Here are a few tracks from Soundcloud:
It was an overcast day, but enough people came out that we ran out of songbooks (for the first time); people shared. Here’s a new song we tried, Donovan’s There Is A Mountain:
It was a gorgeous day and a gorgeous set of people this morning singing along in Little Stacy Park. Maile made a pot of Chai Tea for everyone, Gray played along on uke, lots of old friends and kiddos showed up, and the weather could not have been nicer.
My printed songbooks seemed to be a vast improvement on the transparency projector… we sat in more of a circle and people could actually read the words! Listen below to a few clips from our singalong set, on Soundcloud.
This morning’s singalong was a great official public debut – at Little Stacy Park, 11am-12pm – and the weather was ideal. So was the crowd of 20 or so friends and a strangers who sat on the stage or laid and played on the grass.
My old-school transparency projector did the job and we almost made it through all 20 of the songs I had printed on film before the hour was up. Kids played and made chalk-art while we sang.
Here is the end of the last song we sang together, the trippy Beatles ending on Revolver, Tomorrow Never Knows, followed by our closing bell.
I began and ended the set with a ring of my new singing bowl and a moment of silence. A few people mentioned they liked the ring of the bowl. I think it added a nice cue for entering and exiting the musical meditation.
Our singalong set (with a few we didn’t to crossed out):
- One Love
- Three Little Birds
- With A Little Help From My Friends
- Take Me Home, Country Roads
- This Land Is Your Land
If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out (With intro and sing verse/chorus)
- Mr. Tambourine Man
I Shall Be Released
- Forever Young
Blowin In The Wind
- Lean On Me
- Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
- Across The Universe
- Let It Be
- Amazing Grace
- Rainbow Connection
- This Land Is Your Land
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking
- Tomorrow Never Knows
I’ve finally started doing something I’ve wanted to do for like the last year: Sundaysong Singalong. The idea is simple: have a singalong instead of church. Put another way, it’s like an old Pete Seeger-style folksong singalong, just with a Sunday-morning sort of setlist: songs of love, beauty, gratitude, wisdom, work, wonder… songs that evoke higher powers, that are sacred without feeling sectarian.
So yesterday I finally gathered a small group to test the concept. A dozen of us gathered in my living room where I projected the lyrics on to a sheet hanging from the hearth. I didn’t snap any pics — the one below of Gray and I playing at the back of the room was by Dan — but I did have my recorder going. Here is a medley of seven of the songs we sang to give you a flavor of the morning’s songs:
Rise Up Singing Songbook
- This Land Is Your Land (p.5)
- Moonshadow (p. 30)
- Big Yellow Taxi (p. 34)
- Day-O (p. 49)
- The Times They Are A’Changin (G)
- The Water Is Wide
- Rivers of Babylon (p. 63)
- Lean On Me (p. 66)
- With A Little Help From My Friends (p. 68)
- Keep On The Sunny Side (p. 87)
- Amazing Grace (p. 92)
- I Shall Be Released (p. 102)
- Blowin In The Wind (D) (p. 115)
- Imagine (C) (p.116)
- Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore (p.62)
- Let It Be (p. 206)
- All You Need Is Love (p. 18)
- Across The Universe (p. 10)
We only made it through #12 before it had been an hour and we called it quits, chatted by the fruit and the donuts, and went our separate Sunday ways. The whole thing was an easy success judging by the effortless joining of strangers in song, the sharing and the smiles.
Last weekend I inaugurated the first Sundaysong Singalong’s touring version, because we were in Houston for the weekend to catch the Magritte exhibit at the Menil. I invited a few Houston friends to join us on the lawn of the Menil for the hour before the museum opened at 11, so at 10 AM, Maile, Anais and I spread our blanket beneath a shade tree and laid out our picnic. Before long Ritiban, Jasmine, and their boy Ian had joined us. Before we were done another mom and her girl had found and joined us.
While Ritiban and I strummed, the kids drew with sidewalk chalk and the mothers watched and talked. (Ian had to be chased down the block several times as he made breaks for it.) It was a wonderful hour after which we all went into the gallery to roam around in the cool surrealism.