One post I forgot to schedule before the end of last year was a “Songs of the Year” post. So here it is.
2016 was a big year for me musically. I joined my uni choir (finally!); I performed in a few concerts; and music once again spoke to me when emotional times – good or bad – occurred. Overall, 2016 was a good year for me. Below is a list of songs that spoke to me this year. They weren’t the only songs that did so, but they were the more important ones.
Brave (Sara Bareilles): This song is about having the courage to speak up for and be true to yourself.
Fight Song (Rachel Patten): This one’s about following your dreams and believing in yourself.
Both of these songs have become mini-anthems for me. They’re part of a list I put on when I want to pump myself up. They act as reminders and goals.
Three Little Birds (Bob Marley):
This song has been on my playlist for a while. As part of the Windrush performance, I learnt a four-part arrangement of it. It’s by itself on the list instead of with the others below because our first time of learning the arrangement in rehearsal was just after the whole British EU referendum kerfuffle. Some of us had spent time pre-rehearsal congregating and asking each other, “What the heck??” So learning the song was a reminder for me to take a deep breath and look forward.
“Into the Night” CIV Performance Songs (Parry, Chapman, Winikoff, Bruckner): See the link for a full list of the songs in a Review of our concert.
Ah, CIV – 67th Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival in Canberra 2016. It was a very fun time and I enjoyed myself immensely, making new friends and socialising, rehearsing intensely and then performing in the concert at the end. Such a blast. The 68th Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival 2017, is happening right now in Perth and while I’m only able to participate virtually this time, its coming has brought back a bunch of memories. CIV16 was a highlight of the year for me.
IV/AICSA Songbook Songs: These songs I also learnt because of CIV. They’re songs that are standard songs throughout the IV movement, the sort that are pulled out at campfire nights and social IV-chorister gatherings. Some are quite risqué, while others are not (but even those ones often have risqué versions!). I’ve listed some of my favourites below.
Laudate Nomen Domini (Christopher Tye): The “anthem” of the intervarsity choral movement. I learnt this song before CIV but didn’t understand why it was so special until I heard & saw what it being an anthem meant, at the actual IV. There’s something special about a song that everyone in that group (of people from uni choirs across Australia) can sing (with actions) at the drop of a hat – or rather, at the calling of “one, two” and humming/being given your starting notes. My knowledge of Laudate is irrevocably tied to those first experiences at CIV. Magic!
Pastyme with Good Companye (Henry VIII): No special feelings attached to this song exactly, I just like it. It’s got a good tune and good words too.
Since First I Saw Your Face (Thomas Ford) and Come Again (John Dowland): I like these songs not so much for their tunes (though they’re nice) or lyrics but because of the memories attached to them. Hee hee. 😀
Windrush songs – especially The Boat, Dynamite (both original compositions by Geoffrey Williams) and more. The songs were set in the 1950s-60s but are applicable to today in various ways.
The Boat is a story of migration; travelling far away from home on a one-way trip, leaving behind all the narrator knows to start afresh in a new and strange place.
Dynamite tells of some of the hardships of being a new immigrant, especially when one is young and black Caribbean, coming “face-to-face-to-face” with prejudice from the police and others in the 1960s.
The Longshot (Megson): “You take a long shot, if that’s all there is. Put it in a very safe place, where your doubt can’t get to it. ‘Cause once you’re that certain all hope is gone, a long shot is better than none.” That’s the chorus of the song. I found the song when I was a bit pissed (off) and searching for musical distraction on US election day. It helped re-centre me. It’s such a beautiful song.
There Shall A Star (Felix Mendelssohn), Fantasia Christmas Carols (Vaughan Williams), and other “Little Bit Like Christmas” songs. I loved singing in that concert – as well as the camp before it and so on. It was a great way to round out the year.