Blog post 3 – January 6, 2016 by Marley Giunta
They just kept rolling in, I have never seen so many walkers. I guess by the fourth week the word had got out about Tuesday night music jams. I was scrambling to find more chairs and places for people to sit. It was Christmas time and everyone was excited to sing carols for the second week in a row.
The week before was energetic and joyous, we went around the circle choosing our favourite carols to sing and helping each other remember the words while ringing our jingle bells and tapping our drums. At first, it seemed a bit silly to me that they wanted to sing all those carols. They wanted to sing every carol I had ever heard of… seemingly every Christmas carol in existence!
At one point though, looking around the room, it dawned on me that these wonderful elders had a deep and sincere yearning for these holiday songs, and I thought about how powerful these songs must be for them; bringing back emotions or memories from their lives. One of the participants, Eileen (who has reached the impressive age of 99) told us about how every Sunday afternoon growing up, her family and friends would gather around the piano and sing songs together. She said the singalongs at Christmas time were her favourite; she waited all year for them.
This week was the week before Christmas, but it was special for another reason as well… I had the inspiration to invite my sister Wallis and her husband John to the session as they were home for the holidays from Europe and just happened to be amazingly talented professional opera singers. Everyone thought this was a grand idea!
Some of the participants are often a bit shy or sometimes tell me “oh, I can’t sing really, I love music but I’m no good at singing” but that day, everyone was singing.
We were a big group and we raised our voices loud. It was wonderful to all be in the same room, holding space and singing together, singing with my family and my friends around the piano… The carols no longer seemed silly, they felt like the most sacred songs I had ever heard. I’m sure most of the participants had strong memories attached to those tunes, as most closed their eyes while singing. I felt deeply moved witnessing this. I felt grateful for everything that had come together so that I could be there. What a gift.
Marley is a passionate musician and performing artist, as well as an award-winning songwriter. She continues to compose for guitar and voice, as well as explore other art forms that inspire her and enrich her musical world.