Loving your voice is a choice.
“I don’t want to die with music inside of me.”
I think that’s a feeling we’ve all been able to relate to at some time or other. Sure, you might want to replace the word “songs” with “poems”, “stories”, “words”, or even just “emotions” but the overwhelming feeling is the same — the desire for release, the need to be heard, the urge to connect your environment and your community to your inner world.
For the inimitable Carole Marie Downing, the realization that she had too many songs pent up inside her came as she awoke from anesthesia after hip surgery.
For you, it might have been triggered by your own personal struggles, or from the trauma of watching the events of the last year and a half unfold around you.
Whatever your personal reason, I want you to know that you’ve found the right place — that there is an outlet.
Introducing : Songs of Sustenance.
If you haven’t taken part in this life-affirming class before, let me tell you a little about it.
Working with my wonderful singers during the pandemic, connecting with you all over Zoom, I could see that you needed something deeper than our usual choir experience. I could see that you needed an opportunity to talk about your feelings, to combine song with poetry, with writing, with reflection.
I could see that you needed songs of sustenance.
Led by Carole Marie Downing.
I first met Carole Marie when she came to the Portland Peace Choir. Her husband, the love of her life, was battling cancer, which he later succumbed to, and singing was Carole Marie’s way of coping with the worry and the grief. I could see her spirits lift with every song she sang.
Despite having a doctorate in nursing and a successful career in healthcare, she knows that her talents — and her passions — lie in helping people in her role as wellness coach and in teaching guitar and ukulele to beginners.
She finds joy through helping others find their voice, helping them find a more meaningful connection with the music in their lives.
When she later decided to come to my improv classes, I knew I had found someone truly special. I could see the lightness she carries within her, and how she shares that lightness with everyone she meets.
So I can think of no better person to lead the Songs of Sustenance class!
Each week Carole Marie introduces a new theme for her soothing, restorative repertoire of songs and gives her singers a writing prompt. It might center on joy, surrender, leadership, self-care, balance, or heart opening.
But whatever the focus, people just love it.
Often singers share a few words of their own writing and then marvel as Carole Marie helps them turn it into a song right then and there — improvised and composed together. It’s a delight.
Of course, there’s never any pressure to sing, write, or share but many do find themselves compelled to do so; compelled to open up about how they’re feeling and about how the weekly theme or the music applies to their life in that moment. It isn’t quite therapy but it is a uniquely bonding experience, a healing experience, a wonderfully uplifting experience.
And it’s an experience we’d love to share with you.
As with all of our classes there’s no audition, no previous singing experience required, and absolutely no pressure — and Carole Marie would love to see you there.
Songs of Sustenance takes place every Tuesday, 7-8 pm PDT via Zoom. Book your spot now.
And Carole Marie Downing is our very special guest teacher for our CORO members Monday August 23rd, 2021. Sign up for CORO here.