It's 2018 and tomorrow is our first gathering of the year. There really is something about the New Year that can cause us to assess and reflect upon priorities and goals. This year is no exception for me, especially as it relates to this gathering.
On September 27 of 2015 I gathered friends and strangers to kick-off what I hoped would be a new singing community. I had just returned from the Omega Institute in Rhineback, NY where I had learned about and participated in improvisational singing with 180 other singers under the leadership of Bobby McFerrin. That adventure was transformational for me, not only as a singer but as a human being. I left that time longing to create something similar at home. A place for anyone and everyone with a desire to sing to be able to gather in community and grow. The community would be welcoming and appropriate for both beginners and experienced singers alike, but would ultimately just use singing as a means for gathering and growth.
Since then, we have gathered for eight months out of each year with as many as 25 singers and as few as four. We are routinely diverse in age, gender and race and experience levels vary quite extremely. No matter how many of us or how few, I seem to always walk away with the feeling that the right people were there and the music made was perfectly imperfect. Although I feel pleased with what has emerged, if I'm truly honest, I still long for more and my vision still has room to grow.
In an effort to move further in my intended direction, I'm excited to offer some new opportunities for this community to engage. These are small, but slow and steady wins the race, eh?
First, we will be gathering twice a month. Same time, same place, but more routinely in an effort to create greater continuity. So much of what we do only improves upon repetition, so my hope more routine gathering will help us to create greater bonds and improve our skills.
Second, we will be committing the first hour of every gathering to skill building. Choosing a theme that feels relevant to the improvised singing experience and digging into it more deeply. These will not necessarily be sequential, but all will be relevant. That is to say, if you miss a gathering you won't necessarily find yourself behind, but the more routinely you are able to attend the more rich your tool box for creating. In the future, my hope would be to bring in outside experts to help us expand our palette and create with more diversity as a community.
Finally, my hope is to help engage new leaders from within so as to help take our experience beyond the four walls of my studio. Circle Singing is a method of improvised singing that can truly be used in any group of people. I know this first hand through our gatherings, my company VOXUS, and as a participant. It can quickly and profoundly take individuals and groups into a transcendent experience of themselves and their voice. Further, it taps into what connects us to greater humanity. That's why it is my goal to "spread the gospel," so to speak. I believe it matters.
So, will you join me? I need your help in fulfilling this vision. Really, all you have to do is show up with an open heart and sing. I'll take care of the rest... at first. :)