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.