Soul Food

Soul Food – An Open Voices Tradition

Each week at rehearsal, before the “serious stuff” starts, one of the members shares some “soul food” with the choir. This helps us move from the business (or busyness?) of daily life into a more focused awareness, it helps us to celebrate the creative forces of the universe and it helps us to come together in a unity of purpose. Every voice, conducting gesture or tinkling of the keyboard has been nourished by this soul food.

We have had some wonderful and moving Soul Food this term. Here is a collection of some of our many remarkable contributions. More will be added over time.

Kathy Coulson

May 7, 2014 Steve has been asking me for a while now to present something for soul food. Finally, I said ok and then asked myself now what am I going to share? I used to have a zillion stories sent to me by colleagues and friends with a point to make, a humorous slant … Continue reading "Kathy Coulson"

Soul Dancing

Soul Dancing  by Shirley Wildenbeest Good vibrations and energy to me, draw near, No need to hide behind worry or fear. For unique is each voice that is brought to this song, Adding colour and texture to make our sound strong. Our voices uncover this incredible trove, An expression of life together is wove. A … Continue reading "Soul Dancing"

Verily, I say, 'tis what it’s all about

By Jeff Brechlin; Contributed by: Craig Jones The following is from the Washington Post Style Invitational contest that asks readers to submit “instructions” for something (anything) but written in the style of a famous person. The winning entry was: The Hokey Pokey – by William Shakespeare O proud left foot, that ventures quick within Then … Continue reading "Verily, I say, ’tis what it’s all about"

A Celtic Blessing

Read from: O’Donohue, John “Eternal Echos.” p 143. Contributed by: Sue Lyon May you listen to your longing to be free. May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul. May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart that something good is going … Continue reading "A Celtic Blessing"

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee

Contributed by: Kathy Coulson You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again! A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She … Continue reading "A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee"

A Friend

Contributed by Mike Olive A girl asked a guy if he thought she was pretty, He said…no. She asked him if he would want to be with her forever…and he said no. She then asked him if she were to leave would he cry, and once again he replied with a no. She had heard … Continue reading "A Friend"

An Everyday Miracle

Submitted by: Dave Best An everyday miracle happened right here in Open Voices choir. Well, actually it didn’t happen right here… it was at Andy’s Music Theory Workshop at McArthur Hall during the November 17th session. I was seated in the middle of the back row beside Diana, so I had a great view of … Continue reading "An Everyday Miracle"

Always SING!

Contributed by: Kathy Reinke Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, … Continue reading "Always SING!"

A New Choir Season's Spiritual Resolutions

Contributed by: Henry Clarke Adapted from the Wiccan Tradition Live in the moment. Do not dwell on the past; do not worry about the future. Focus on what you are doing, as you are doing it. You will be less likely to have regrets, or to experience anxiety over what is to come. Be fully … Continue reading "A New Choir Season’s Spiritual Resolutions"

A Nurturing Song

By Alan Cohen; Contributed by: Colleen LaHaise When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its … Continue reading "A Nurturing Song"

A prayer for the world

Contributed by: Barb Perry By: Rabbi Harold S. Kushner Let the rain come and wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds held and nurtured over generations. Let the rain wash away the memory of the hurt, the neglect. Then let the sun come out and fill the sky with rainbows. Let the warmth of … Continue reading "A prayer for the world"

Attitude

By Charles Swindoll; Contributed by: Louise Bark “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important that failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. … Continue reading "Attitude"

Buttprints in the Sand

By: Sam Glen Contributed by: Elaine Brown One night I had a wondrous dream. One set of footprints there was seen, the footprints of my precious Lord, but mine were not along the shore. But then some stranger prints appeared and I asked the Lord. “What have we here? Those prints are large and round … Continue reading "Buttprints in the Sand"

By David Francey

I had a new musical experience on the weekend just past. It took place in Kingston Ontario and involved 94 or 50 other performers. In case you are imagining David Francey and his extraordinarily Large Band, a la Lyle Lovett, I should rush to clarify. Dave Clarke and I had the honour of singing and … Continue reading "By David Francey"

Committment

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one … Continue reading "Committment"

"Common Voices" - It was Amazing

Submitted by: Marilyn Parks Here are some comments sent in by email from our choir on our concert in Kingston and the experience singing with Open Voices: “We felt instantly welcomed by total strangers, starting with the wonderful greeting by Open Voices singing Mulumele Shangwe and continued with their hospitality throughout the weekend” “What a … Continue reading "“Common Voices” – It was Amazing"

Connections are Made Slowly

Contributed by: Valerie Colgan Connections are made slowly, Sometimes they grow underground. You cannot tell always by looking what is happening. More than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet. Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet. Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree, Spread … Continue reading "Connections are Made Slowly"

Don't Quit

Contributed by: Dorval Card When things go wrong, As they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, But you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit Rest if you must, But Don’t You … Continue reading "Don’t Quit"

Do You Know Any Crack(ed) Pots?

Contributed by Joyce Dendy An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, hung on opposite ends of a pole she carried across her shoulders. Each day she carried the pots to a nearby stream to draw water for the day’s tasks. One pot was perfect, but the other had a crack that made it incapable … Continue reading "Do You Know Any Crack(ed) Pots?"

Excerpt From the Prophet Faulkner

By: Larry Levinger in the Atlantic Monthly June 2000 Contributed by: Jim Hill William Faulker was born in 1897 and died in 1962. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1950. Some 1,300 books have been written about him. The main question behind the article was “what was it about this guy?” Why so … Continue reading "Excerpt From the Prophet Faulkner"

Feeling Old

Submitted by: Linda Williams Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, ‘surely I can’t look that old.’ Well, I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. I notices his DDS Diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, … Continue reading "Feeling Old"

Exuberance is Beauty sayeth William Blake

OPEN VOICES in Concert #2 By Michael Hurley You feel the buzz as you step out of your car into the slipstream of parking-lot revellers bound for glory and a good seat in the Garden of Song. You surf the buzz as the lights dim, the last folks in braille their way to some cozy … Continue reading "Exuberance is Beauty sayeth William Blake"

Forrest Gump

Contributed by: Kat Hatt The day finally arrived; Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. However, the gates are closed and Forrest approaches the Gatekeeper. St. Peter says, “Well, Forrest, it’s certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I … Continue reading "Forrest Gump"

45 Life Lessons

Regina Brett is a journalist in Cleveland, who wrote “45 Life Lessons”. Here are a few. Submitted by Dave Best Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. When in doubt, just take the next small step. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. Pay off your credit cards every month. You don’t have … Continue reading "45 Life Lessons"

Genders and Their Differences

Contributed by: Fred Jones For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong, there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable. For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence. For every … Continue reading "Genders and Their Differences"

God and Lawn Care

Delivered as a skit by: Steve Crafts (as God) and Jim Hill (as St. Francis) GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in Canada? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and the stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden … Continue reading "God and Lawn Care"

Grandma's Apron

Contributed by: Elaine Brown The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a holder for removing hot pans from the oven; when company came those old aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids; those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent … Continue reading "Grandma’s Apron"

Healing Journey

By Anne Mortifee; Contributed by: Nicola Oddy Heathe This is a healing journey This is a sacred path A path that leads us inward To dance the sacred dance This is a healing journey We walk it one by one Each woman and each man alone To the sound of the distant Drum This is … Continue reading "Healing Journey"

Holes

Taken from the Ontario Farmer, Feb 10, 2004 Contributed by: Diane Dowling Dear son: Everything you need to know about this world, you can learn from holding on to this shovel. With this shovel, you can learn the mysteries of the world and the humans who inhabit it. Since I’ve been hole-making for many years, … Continue reading "Holes"

How Long?

Contributed by: Doug Forde How long have You waited by my window, playing Your celestial flute? Long before the winds wailed an echo of Your tune. Long before the stars wrote their score above the moon. Long before time woke my slumber, and awakened me to You. What power there is, in Your magical flute, … Continue reading "How Long?"

How to Build Global Community

Contributed by: Barb Perry Text by: The members of Syracuse Cultural Workers (SCW) Think of no one as “them” Don’t confuse your comfort with your safety Talk to strangers Imagine other cultures through their poetry and novels Listen to music you don’t understand – Dance to it Act locally Notice the workings of power & … Continue reading "How to Build Global Community"

How to Sing Your Way to Happiness

Contributed by: David Craig When I returned from my vacation, I was delighted to find the wonderful article by Hans Boldt (Happy Strummer In the City, Whig-Standard, June 16). I began playing and singing with the “Uke” (ukulele) when I was in high school and when I came to Queen’s , I found it was … Continue reading "How to Sing Your Way to Happiness"

In Flanders Fields - The History

History Contributed by: Claudette Llovelace Flanders Fields is one of the most memorable war poems ever written. Yes – not written as a song, but thoughts of a young Canadian medical officer named John McCrae born in Guelph, Ontario. The lines were written in a daze as he and his comrades were being bombarded by … Continue reading "In Flanders Fields – The History"

Installing Love

Tech Support: Yes, how can I help you? Customer: Well, after much consideration, I’ve decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process? Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed? Customer: Well, I’m not very technical, but I think I’m ready. What do I do first? Tech Support: … Continue reading "Installing Love"

If you can...

Contributed by: Phil Ibbotson If you can start the day without caffeine, If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains, If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles, If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it, If you can understand when your loved ones … Continue reading "If you can…"

It's The World We live In

Contributed by: Joyce Dendy The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways but narrower viewpoints. We spend more but have less, we buy more but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences but less time. We have more degrees but less … Continue reading "It’s The World We live In"

Johnny

By: Martin Luther King Jr. We are challenged on every hand to work untiring to achieve excellence in our lifework. Not all men are called to specialized or professional jobs; even fewer rise to the heights of genius in the arts and sciences; many are called to be laborers in factories, fields, and streets. But … Continue reading "Johnny"

Joining Together

Contributed by Wendy Workman We join with the earth and with each other. To bring new life to the land To restore the waters To refresh the air. We join with the earth and with each other. To renew the forests To care for the planets To protect the creatures We join with the earth … Continue reading "Joining Together"

Letting Go

Contributed by: Kathy Coulson It could apply to lovers as well as mothers To Let Go Takes Love To let go does not mean to stop caring It means I cannot do it for someone else. To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. To let go is to … Continue reading "Letting Go"

Mulumele Shangwe

Contributed by Steve Yates We have been singing Mulumele Shangwe now for quite a few years but it is easy to forget what this piece of music means, so read along and hopefully I can bring the meaning to light. The words of Mulumele Shangwe translated literally don’t make much sense… “ I great you … Continue reading "Mulumele Shangwe"

Music: An Ode

By: Algernon Charles Swinburne Contributed by: Craig Jones WAS it light that spake from the darkness, or music that shone from the word, When the night was enkindled with sound of the sun or the first-born bird? Souls enthralled and entrammelled in bondage of seasons that fall and rise, Bound fast round with the fetters … Continue reading "Music: An Ode"

Music As Therapy

By: Sarah Ban Breathnach. Contributed by: Sherry Aylesworth I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go without effort, when I am filled with music.- George Eliot You already know … Continue reading "Music As Therapy"

My Paint Brush

Contributed by: Henry Clarke Written by: Bettie B. Youngs I keep my paint brush with me Wherever I may go, In case I need to cover up So the real me doesn’t show. I’m so afraid to show you me, Afraid of what you’ll do – that You might laugh or say mean things, I’m … Continue reading "My Paint Brush"

Notes to Myself

(My struggle to become a person) By Hugh Prather Contributed by Bill Hatt If I had only… Forgotten future greatness And looked at the green things and the buildings And reached out to those around me And smelled the air And ignored the forms and the self-styled obligations And heard the rain on the roof … Continue reading "Notes to Myself"

Poem by Native American Healer

Contributed by: Colleen LaHaise It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing It doesn’t interest me how old you are I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love … Continue reading "Poem by Native American Healer"

Port Shoem

By: Speverent Rooner Contributed by: Tim Aylesworth I’ve a Gouse and Harden in the country An ace I call my plown, A treat I can replace to When I beed to knee alone. Catterfly and butterpillar Perch on beefy lough And I listen to the dats and cogs As they mark and they beow. Yes … Continue reading "Port Shoem"

Priceless

Contributed by: Linda Williams-Erdahl A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you, but first, let me do this.” He proceeded … Continue reading "Priceless"

Quote from, "A Return to Love"

Written by : Marianne Williamson; Contributed by: Margaret Sutherland (Question frequently asked by students after missing a class) Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here we sat with-our hands folded on our desks in silence, for the full two hours Everything, I gave an exam worth 40% of the grade for this term and assigned … Continue reading "Quote from, “A Return to Love”"

Recipe For Living

Contributed by Louise Bark 1 full cup love 1/2 lb pride, cut into small portions 1/4 cup will power, packed firm 3 oz. determination a dash of flexibility 1 large head understanding a few leaves of awareness (fresh, if possible) 1 lb humility a sprinkling of common sense a pinch of adventure 1 full (8 … Continue reading "Recipe For Living"

Resting Dreams

Contributed by: Henry Clarke Written by: Joyce Rupp It doesn’t take much to hold the tiny weight of a song sparrow, any little twig will do, or a sturdy weed in a field. Why do I think my fledgling ideas have to wait for a thick branch or a secure landing place before I set … Continue reading "Resting Dreams"

Rhythm & Genes

Quoted from, “Keep that Candle Burning Bright & Other Poems” by Bronwen Wallace Contributed by: Anne Chiareli The Dedication (an excerpt) …These poems are for Emmylou Harris, to say thanks for the songs, for how they sing of hot summer nights on the highway and wine and falling in love and Jesus and the light … Continue reading "Rhythm & Genes"

Risk

Contributed by: Linda Williams-Erdahl To laugh is to risk appearing the fool To weep is to risk appearing sentimental To reach out for another is to risk involvement To expose feeling is to risk exposing your true self To love is to risk not being loved in return To live is to risk dying To … Continue reading "Risk"

Serenity

Contributed by: Diane Dowling Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, “How old was your husband?” ““98,” she replied. “Two years older than me.” “So you’re 96,” the undertaker commented. She responded. “Hardly worth going home, is it?” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman. “And what … Continue reading "Serenity"

Seven Blunders of the World That Lead to Violence

Submitted by: Linda Williams Wealth without work Pleasure without conscience Knowledge without character Commerce without morality Science without humanity Worship without sacrifice Politics without principle. Mahatmas Ghandhi (1869-1948) Print PDF

Silence

Contributed by: Dave Best Flowing silence is love Shared silence is friendship Silence seen is infinity Vibrating silence is creation Expressed silence is beauty Maintained silence is strength Allowed silence is rest Received silence is joy Perceived silence is knowledge Silence alone is being Silence alone is being A poem by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who … Continue reading "Silence"

Spin and Counter Spin

Author: Jon Contorines Contributed by: Gerry Gregory Satan rose from his seat, approached the microphone, and gave his Sunday sermon: What… of miracles? We pin our hopes on miracles because we base our lives on faith. Is walking on water more wondrous than the flight of birds? the glory of a rainbow? the rising and … Continue reading "Spin and Counter Spin"

Stress Management

Contributed by: Kathy Coulson A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 20 g. to 500 g. The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. … Continue reading "Stress Management"

The Basket

Contributed by Ruth Morrow This story comes from the continent of Africa. Once, there was a man who lived by himself in a small village. One day a beautiful woman came to him and said, “I will stay with you. I will be your wife, but you must promise me one thing: that you never … Continue reading "The Basket"

The Myth of Failure

By: Dr. Wayne Dyer – From his book, “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace” Contributed by: Dave Best This may come as a surprise to you, but failure is an illusion. No one ever fails at anything. Everything you do produces a result. If you’re trying to learn how to catch a football and … Continue reading "The Myth of Failure"

The Night Spirit And The Dawn Air

Credits: Excerpt edited from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, By Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk & Mystic Contributed by: Henry Clarke How the valley awakes. At two-fifteen there are no sounds except in the monastery… outside, nothing, except perhaps a bullfrog saying “Om” in the creek or in the guesthouse pond. Some nights he is in … Continue reading "The Night Spirit And The Dawn Air"

The Paradox of Choice

From an interview with Barry Schwartz Contributed by: Louise Mallory Since the first term of this choir, I have been appreciating the way the different choices of Soul Food give us glimpses of the different choir members. I’ve always wanted to do Soul Food, but I wanted to find the perfect excerpt that would show … Continue reading "The Paradox of Choice"

The Sense of a Goose

Contributed by: Barb Perry Next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately … Continue reading "The Sense of a Goose"

The Wisdom in Hot Chocolate

Contributed by: Louise bark A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were discussing their lives at a class reunion. They decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired, who was always an inspiration to them. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work, lives and relationships. … Continue reading "The Wisdom in Hot Chocolate"

The Wonder of it All

By: Ralph Marston. Contributed by: Elaine Brown Do you ever wonder At the wonder of it all? Do you ever stand in awe of the tiniest things and how perfectly they work together? Do you ever stop to think about all the possibilities and how even though they have no limit they grow in number … Continue reading "The Wonder of it All"

Time Management

Contributed by: Ron Wilkinson A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2″ in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? … Continue reading "Time Management"

Tommy's Tangerine Tree

By Ruth Hilton Hatfield Contributed by Lorne Carmichael When Tommy, our youngest son, was a little boy, he loved tangerines. At Christmas, when they came on the market, I always kept a plentiful supply especially for him. He ate them for breakfast and supper, and there were always lots of them in his lunch box. … Continue reading "Tommy’s Tangerine Tree"

Unknown Title

Contributed by Colleen LaHaise We have been telling the people that this is the 11th hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the hour. And there are things to be considered. Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in the right relations? … Continue reading "Unknown Title"

Vajra Song

By: Ven. Gendun Rinpoche of the Buddhist tradition Contributed by: Henry Clarke Happiness cannot be found through great effort and willpower, but is already present, in open relaxation and letting go. Don’t strain yourself, there is nothing to do nor undo. Whatever momentarily arises in the body mind has no real importance at all, has … Continue reading "Vajra Song"

Warriors of the Rainbow

When the earth is sick and all the animals have disappeared there will come a tribe of people from all cultures that believe in deeds not words; who will restore the earth to its former beauty. This tribe will be called ‘warriors of the rainbow’ I was given this quote several years ago and put … Continue reading "Warriors of the Rainbow"

Wendy - in memory of Bill Peruniak

Yesterday was the 1st anniversary of my husband’s death. Some of you know Bill Peruniak. He sang with the choir for a few terms, and sang as long as he could. he truly loved the choir and finding his singing voice. Even when he was not able to make it, Andy came to the house … Continue reading "Wendy – in memory of Bill Peruniak"

What Is Success?

By Ralph Waldo Emerson To laugh often and love much; To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; To earn the approval of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To give of one’s self without the slightest thought of … Continue reading "What Is Success?"

What's Important

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. “Not very long,” answered the Mexican. “But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American. The Mexican explained that … Continue reading "What’s Important"

Words and Song

By: E. Harburg. Contributed by: Martin Kandler “Words make you think a thought” “Music makes you feel a feeling” “A song makes you feel a thought” Print PDF

Zen Sarcasm

Contributed by: John Rosseel Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone. Never test the depth of the water with both feet. Always remember that you’re unique. Just … Continue reading "Zen Sarcasm"