Let’s sing a new tune for June.

Hello, and welcome to our June Blog.

It’s been a difficult few weeks hasn’t it? Each day I wake up and almost dread turning on the news for fear of hearing another tragic story.  It can feel like a lonely, scary world at the moment can’t it?

The Manchester tragedy was a hard hitting blow to me as a musician.  Live music and concerts are a place of celebration. A place where everyday people come together and share something magical and memorable.  I can recall my very first concert back in the 1980s. I was scared, I was inspired, I was shocked, I was elated, I sang, I danced, I laughed, I stayed up late with my big sister and I came home to my safe warm bed and I have those memories captured forever.  Sadly, for many young people, what should have been a joyous occasion turned into a nightmare at the Ariana Grande concert. How amazing then, that she would return to sing at the same arena at the tribute concert. Music defying the face of fear.

Just a short time later, I woke up to the tragic news of the Borough Market attack. I was away on a teachers vocal retreat and felt very far away from my family and loved ones when receiving the news.  I felt isolated and scared. I wanted to be with my children and to get home quickly. My journey would involve travelling through Paddington station later than day which made me feel anxious. Whilst I couldn’t be with my loved ones for another few hours, I found great comfort in being with fellow musicians. Strangers at the beginning of our 3 day vocal retreat, our passion for the voice and music had allowed for an intimacy and inexplicable camaraderie. We helped one another through a difficult day.  Music allowing for shared emotion.

Waking up to the vision of the Grenfell Tower on fire was a shock. Lives so utterly destroyed in just a few hours. Loved ones separated, home vanished. I could hardly bear to tell my children that there was more bad news.  Once again, the power of music to heal and bring communities together has revealed itself.  The beautiful song “bridge over troubled water” is sung by members of the Grenfell community, led by Gareth Malone. The Grenfell Tower Charity Single. Music allows us grieve without the need for words.  Watching the accompanying film to the song, brings a stark reminder of how communities can come together. Music bringing healing to a community torn apart.

My work this week at the choirs I lead has given me great hope during a difficult time.  At my adult evening choir 60 people sang together and had the opportunity to share some extraordinary insights on an extraordinarily hot night. The newly formed 60 strong children’s choir I lead had a moment like no other today. One of the teachers told me that she had overheard some boys saying “yesssss – it’s Thursday”. It fills me with such pride to understand that I am respected and valued in my community and that I can bring joy, happiness, and a sense of belonging to so many.  There’s not many jobs where you can work with 8 – 80 year olds and feel understood, connected and authentic.  A place where strangers have a common goal, a place where children feel safe and adults feel heard, valued and brave. Music bringing a common goal across the generations.

So, rather than reflect on June as a bleak and sad month, let’s sing a new tune for June. A tune of joy, of understanding, of kindness, of compassion, of community, of music across the generations.  Music has the power to heal, to share, to unite. 

Thank you for reading my June blog. 

Written with love for a happier, kinder more respectful world.

Mary xxx