Hear My Song! (Day 32)

From deep, deep within me, a song begins to grow.
My feelings fight to find a voice.
I sing because I have no choice.
Hear my song.

I spoke from the heart when I wrote this lyric. Indeed, I find that writing songs gives me a reliable way to speak from my heart, a way to find a voice for my feelings. Last night, a dozen of my friends gathered at my home to celebrate the successful first month of Project 194, and I sang four of my songs for them.

Their enthusiasm and their support was wonderful, the most nourishing sort of praise, and I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude as I think about how they opened not just their ears but their hearts to me.

But the most inspiring part of the evening, as I think back on it, was when they sang for me. In planning the evening, it seemed important to have a participatory moment, which made me think of a round I had composed years ago. Years earlier, I had sat in a Unitarian church service one Sunday morning singing a round, feeling deeply stirred by the experience of singing my part and hearing the sound of my own voice mingling with the other voices in the congregation, over and over in a meditative loop. I eventually composed a round like that, a sort of singing meditation with a meaningful text. and having written it, I took it into my performance classes and it turned out to be an inspiring warm-up exercise that provided wonderful opportunities for exploration and personalization.

From deep, deep within me, a song begins to grow.
My feelings fight to find a voice.
I sing because I have no choice.
Hear my song!

I think this lyric is anchored in an important truth: the best singing has urgency. It is animated by a need to communicate, to express one’s thoughts and feelings – especially one’s feelings. Listening to my friends sing these words last night, and thinking back on the experience this morning, I was reminded of something important: EVERYONE has a song to sing, everyone has feelings fighting to get out, and even if they can’t write or sing their own songs, everyone responds to songs because they give voice to feelings that we recognize as OURS. “Hear my song!” is an urgent cry – if our song goes unheard, then somehow, our presence in the world is felt less, our connection with those around us is diminished.

Last night, talking with one of my friends afterwards, I flippantly tossed out the idea that if I could get people all over the world to sing this tune, and if they recorded themselves selfie-style on video while they did it, I could edit the clips together to make a big round, a big sound, a grand composition or mosaic of sound and image. Today, in the sober light of the morning after, I think this is a fabulous idea. I think it gets right to the heart of Project 194, the reason why I feel it’s important to share my songs.

In another song (“Just Known,” from Leading Lady, which is featured in Day 33’s post), I put these words into the mouth of Mae Desmond:

I want to be heard
I want to be seen
I want to be noticed
Do you know what I mean?
I want to be known.
Known for my skill
Known for my craft
Known for my art, my heart –
Do you think that it’s daft
That I want to be known?

Of course Mary Callahan, the gamine from the slums of South Philadelphia who grew up to become the famous actress Mae Desmond, wanted “to be known” – to be unknown, to live in anonymity, is to not live at all in the eyes of the world. And just like her, I want to be “known for my art, my heart,” but this is an impulse that is shared by more people than just me and Mary Callahan – it’s a universal desire. “Hear my song!”

So here’s what I’m picturing – this round, my short tune digitally woven into a larger composition, with many different voices from different places coming together in a harmonious, orderly chorus.

Here’s where you come in, beloved reader!

What are the feelings in you that “fight to find a voice?” Use your phone to record yourself (video or just audio) singing along with the tune I’ve posted. Sing it however it suits you to sing it, with whatever voice and feelings you have. I’ve posted a how-to video and some additional suggestions on this page. Email your recording to me and I’ll make a big composition out of it, one that I’ll share here on the blog as it takes shape and then premiere as a live interactive event at the birthday concert on July 13. If you want, Instagram it to share it using the hashtags #project194 and #hearmysong. It would be even more amazing if you told your friends to do it too. Let’s make something together!

Here’s the tune:

Hear My Song music

If you missed them, these are the songs already posted on Project 194. Want to receive daily songs delivered direct to your inbox? Sign up here!

3 thoughts on “Hear My Song! (Day 32)

  1. Darko

    From the Kitchen Quartet, it’s great to hear all the sound that poured forward. What a fun, fun evening it was, Charlie, hearing just a small sample of all of your offerings. A most memorable evening.

  2. admin Post author

    Yes, I’ve seen and heard this piece, on a TED talk, I think, and I think it’s very successful. I’m obviously gonna have to up my video editing skills since that sets a pretty high standard!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *