Friday, 6 May 2022

Spring, Renewal, Rebirth: Songs of My Season

My name means reborn: Renate, from re-natus/re-nata. So, spring is my season. 

I was born in February and I love snow, but I'm an Easter baby according to my name. I was a wondrous "rainbow baby", born after a tragic stillbirth. According to my mother, I was named after her favourite cousin, who had a sunny and good-natured disposition. But, I can't help but think that my name represents a rainbow and sunshine after a dark time. It's about rebirth and renewal, rising again. Renate is also related to baptism, and I do really love the water. 

So, if spring is my season, I should have a spring theme song. What spring music do I like, though? What is the sound of spring and rebirth, Renate?

Vivaldi's Spring (link to video) from his Four Seasons is pretty, but it makes me think of furniture or eyeglasses, advertisements. 

Andr√© Rieu has a spring offering: Spring Symphony.  You can follow that link to a YouTube video, but you might not want to. To me, it doesn't say spring as much as it says "shoot those birds". It's supposed to be peaceful, relaxing music with charming birdsong. But, the chirping of the birds is just annoying. Birdsong in real life makes me happy. I'm happy to hear the real thing in the trees around my house.

The very best spring song has to be the Beatles', Here Comes the SunIt starts with "It's been a long cold lonely winter". We acknowledge the darkness. Spring is a bit of a struggle for us where I live in Canada. Just because the calendar says it's spring, doesn't mean it's instantly all sunshine and flowers.  Some days we have snow, rain, hail, and warm sunshine in one day.  "I feel that ice is slowly melting" is really how spring feels most of the time. "It's alright." We're happy because know that summer is on its way. "Sun, sun, sun, here it comes!" That might work for a Renate theme song.

Every spring is full of music for me. From January to May, every year, I'm preparing my choir (YRCC) for a spring concert, except for the past two years, during the pandemic. For our Post-COVID Spring Season, which was supposed to be Spring 2022, we wanted to have as much uplifting music as possible. The pandemic was so depressing for us! Singing is the best (worst) way to transmit the virus and lots of choirs had outbreaks and deaths. Singing became associated with the word "superspreader". We could only meet by Zoom. It was better than nothing, but it was not choir. We finally started meeting in person at the end of February 2022. But, things are not quite safe yet, and we're not all comfortable with it. We're not quite ready for a big concert with the pandemic lingering still after Easter 2022. So 2023 will be our big return, revival, resurgence. 

We sing a wonderful arrangement of the song We Rise Again, so that is our main theme. We want to express the certainty that we will be together again, that the pandemic will come to an end, and that we are confidently returning to life and singing. 

We Rise Again captures the feeling of spring well. "As sure as the sunrise" everything is going to continue, to keep cycling, and it will be alright. 

Here Comes the Sun is our sub-theme. I've been working on creating my own arrangement of a Here Comes the Sun medley. It will also include Stevie Wonder's Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing and Let the Sunshine In from Hair. Here comes the sun, so don't you worry about a thing, and let the sunshine in! I'm looking forward to performing that, sharing it will everyone. It might become my theme song. 

Here is a very Canadian production of We Rise Again (as always, I think the YRCC version is the best): 

We rise again in the faces
Of our children
We rise again in the voices of our song
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean
And then we rise again

Here are some more of the songs we are enjoying this spring as we prepare for next spring's We Rise Again concert:

I Can See Clearly Now
Blue Skies
Walking on Sunshine
What a Wonderful World
You'll Never Walk Alone

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