I couldn’t help it. The carols were swirling around in my head and I had to sing. I was standing at a crowded bus stop surrounded by holiday shoppers. I knew they had probably been hearing some weird distortions of Christmas carols in their various shopping venues, and some might not want to hear any more carols in public space, but I couldn’t hold back, because my antidote to all that weirdness is the reassurance of my own voice singing traditional carols “straight-up.”
I sang, quietly, Angels We Have Heard On High. A few people turned their heads but no one joined in at that point. No one told me to shut up, though, so when I got on the bus I was emboldened to engage the two girls near me in a discussion of their favourite carols. When I heard that they had been learning French ones at school I sang Un Flambeau, Jeannette Isabelle and I can still see the delighted smiles on those girls’ faces as they listened. It turned out they didn’t know it but they said they liked it so I did the second verse.
Their mom suggested that they would know Christmas Song, and so I launched into that one, after insisting that the mom sing it with me. Then I noticed a strong voice on my other side, as another woman joined us, and little by little the young ones joined as bits of it came back to them. It was beautiful!
I moved to sit next to the one who had joined us, as an older woman with a walker needed my seat, so we started talking about singing in choirs and recreationally, and the joy we both get from the experience, and just as I was thinking we should do another one, I heard two small voices singing and looked over to see the girls singing (and dancing in their seats) a piece from the musical Seussical. It was brilliant! At our urging they did an encore from the show, which they are rehearsing for a school production.
I am pretty sure those girls would not have felt so free to sing on the bus if I hadn’t started it, so I felt really good to have inspired them to do that. We all felt better for it.
So if you feel your voice welling up inside of you and wanting to burst out on the bus or a crowded street corner, do it! No one will hurt you and someone may be inspired to sing with you.