This weekend I led a vocal improvisation event at the Canmore Public Library as part of their Strong Woman series. I’d like to thank every brave woman – and one brave man – who attended. Each of you filled my cup and I hope that the good effects of the evening carry through into the weeks and months ahead.
One participant shared two insights with me afterwards. The first is that she had not expected the group to sound so good so early in the evening. Her expectation was that perhaps after three hours of work the sounds would be pleasing, but the reality was that almost as soon as voices started working, there was beauty in the sound. I told her I was not surprised. The other thing she said was that in her estimation, the work we did Saturday night will have a lasting impact on those who were there.
I am grateful for both of those thoughts and for the other things that were shared through and after the workshop. If you weren’t able to be there, I’d like to share with you two key points around which I built the evening’s plan, such as it was. It was an evening of improvising, after all.
Each of us with a working voice can sing. Each of our voices is 100% unique and nobody in the world has the same capability to make the sounds only we can make. Because of that, voice is a vulnerable thing; the soft underbelly that many of us fear to expose to the world. But it is through sharing this vulnerability, this form of expressing our deepest unique selves that leads to strength – strength as individuals and strength in community. Each voice is valid, and each needs to be heard – and through sharing voices together we build a stronger community. So let’s roar.
Many creation stories across a range of cultures begin with voice. The world, spoken into existence. As parts of creation, as guardians of this beautiful world, we were voiced into life. In The Magician’s Nephew, the first of the Narnia Chronicles by C. S. Lewis, Aslan, the great lion, sings the world into being. His unique voice giving life and vibrancy to the darkness.
Not only are you part of that song of creation, but your unique song also has the power to shed light into this world. So in this week of solstice – the longest light – I tell you in the words of Rumi: You are a wished for song.
So shine on, my friends, and don’t fear the roar within.
If you want to share voices this July through acapella improvisation, sign up here.