Music. It’s one of life’s greatest gifts. Even those who claim they can’t carry a tune in a bucket enjoy hearing a stirring song sung or an intriguing instrumental piece played. Music possesses a persuasive power: it can tickle toes into tapping and hands into clapping. That same power can calm frazzled nerves or stir sagging spirits. What a gift!
Often the words of a favorite hymn or popular song cross our minds. It’s likely that many associations come along for the ride. To this day I can recall certain hits that bellowed from the jukebox at the Pizza Hut where I worked. My 91-year-old mother finds the words to “Bicycle Built for Two” out of the haze of her dementia. Music is a precious gift with persuasive power!
In a few weeks we will welcome among us an extraordinary person who lives the gift of music. Her name is Barbara McAfee. She will come to our cold wintry corner of the world from an even colder Minneapolis, Minnesota. And she will warm our spirits and set our hearts on fire with her passion for music and for creating community. Barbara understands how the beauty of humanity is often badgered by the brutality of humanity. And with music she heals, encourages, liberates, expands the humanity she encounters.
In the third chapter of her book Full Voice; The Art and Practice of Vocal Presence she tackles one of the biggest bullies with which we all contend: fear. She writes about her own battle,
So exactly what was so terrifying about singing in public? Perfectionism and the paralyzing fear of looking foolish were at the heart of it. If what I offered wasn’t flawlessly perfect, it proved once and for all that I was a complete and total failure. Each time I stood up, my entire worth as a person was on the line.
Not everyone sings alone in public but all of us have wrestled in the grip of the fear of failing at what we are attempting. Trying to learn a new skill. Practicing being more patient. Hoping to live through a day with integrity. Dancing to the music that moves us. Check out the “Beating the Winter Blahs” schedule and come be engaged by one of life’s greatest gifts!