I am writing this while enjoying the annual Roundup of Songmakers, a Southern California group of musicians (of all experience levels) who gather in homes or similar locations to make music together. It was begun back in the 1940s during the McCarthy era when many musicians in the recording and entertainment industries were blacklisted. This became a great organization for those wanting to try out their music but also to have some moral support from others in a similar situation. So, here we are, so many years later, still supporting each other and sharing music together.
Getting together has suffered during the pandemic, but has also been expanded, if that makes sense. No, we can’t all hear each other at the same time when we do our music, but we do get a chance to hear and, after a fashion, even sing along with people of all musical experience from all around the world. I miss getting together with folks in person (yes, many have returned to the in-person gatherings, keeping a certain level of distance between each other, but I tend to avoid most indoor gatherings).
Whether folks are joining together in song circles, hoots, informal & formal gatherings/concerts, campouts for music around the campfire, or just to listen and enjoy a variety of music, these experiences can be considered ways of keeping people connected. So, for today’s singalong, do you have a favorite singalong song? Whether it’s something like “We Shall Overcome,” or something less serious like “There’s a Hole in the Bucket,” these musical breaks in everyday life can help to make that life more enjoyable. And it’s OK to sing off key or forget the tune . . . just grab a song and join in!
My selection: Well, here I go, back to my friend Tom Paxton, who has written group songs for over 50 years, many that folks around the world sing together, and in a variety of languages. I think one of my most favorites, and still (and forever?) sending a worthwhile message (more today than ever?): "Peace Will Come." A song written in the early 1970s, also performed in the late 1980s, the mid-1990s, or the mid 2010s . . . the message is the same, but the environment keeps changing. Or does it?