MAry Poppins singing

Mary Poppins loves to laugh… Ha Ha Ha!

Laughter is wonderful and marvellous… yet, it’s a moment that dissipates quickly like steam clouds from a kettle. Like snowflakes on your tongue. Like a shooting star in an inky sky. Like losing my virginity. Gone…

But singing … yes, Mary Poppins loves to sing too!

Singing is a lasting memento that lingers and meanders and harmonizes … like a light tongue lick across your soft shoulder skin that tingles and teases and melts down through your body to the nether regions of dark deliciousness.

Sorry, where was I?

Kids love to sing. Dogs and coyotes love to sing.

I love to sing… I’ll bet you do too…

People just love to sing…

I sing by myself in the car … I sing in the shower … I sing solo at Open Mics … I sing in duets on various stages here in the Okanagan Valley. I’ll sing anywhere.

Sometimes people listen, sometimes they don’t. Doesn’t matter (I lied, it does!). Singing transcends ego.


Me, Nancy and Jimmy in Yellowknife’s Hoist Room. 1978.

In Yellowknife, I sang Valdy and CSN songs with Jimmy and Nancy and Steve in the Arctic bars; in William’s Lake I sang Dylan songs in Cowboy Country coffeehouses with John; today I sing Civil Wars and Willie Nelson songs with Marie and David.

My earliest memories of singing were in Grade 6 at Glen Brae Middle School in Hamilton, Ontario.

I sang in Mrs. Laing’s class choir… my friend Danny and I both loved harmonizing- at lunch break we’d rush over to the Millionaire Drive-Inn (best Vanilla milk shakes ever!) and buy a root beer and a 25¢ burger wrapped in tin foil, before running back to practice with the group. We sang Love Is Blue (L’Amour Est Bleu). Simple harmony parts but it was beautiful.

I wonder if Danny still sings somewhere out there today?

My daughter went out to sing last night … Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre was jammed with 1,000 enthusiastic strangers filled like feathers in a pillow to the peak of the balcony … every single person there singing their hearts out for one night … belting out DANCING QUEEN young and sweet, only seventeen …oooooo oooooooo.


choir choir choir vancouver

In a few months my sister in Ontario will be having the same CHOIR! CHOIR! CHOIR! experience (except a different song I’m sure). Communal singing in sheer joy.

My daughter and sister aren’t unusual.

It used to be that adult choirs were typically associated with churchgoers. That’s still true to a certain extent but general community choirs are rising like fervent yeast in a warm cozy kitchen. Everyone loves to sing and harmonize.

Singing is the like the mellowing effects of legal cannabis, an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.

Endorphins and oxytocin don’t only emanate from the runner’s high that carried the Boomers through the ’70’s and ’80’s.

Singing releases these “feel good” hormones too. That explains why a number of studies have found that singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness.

The great thing about choir singing is you can really suck at it and no one knows. My wife, who could be described as lacking “perfect pitch” but charged with lots of vocal enthusiasm, joined a Sweet Adelines chorus years ago and her voice became subsumed and absorbed into the blender of voices. What is better than that?

All sorts of people with terrible voices sing at Karaoke bars because … well… it’s fun, it’s merry, it’s joyous – to use an old expression… it’s gay … even without 10 B-52 shooters on board.

Singing is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and less sweat inducing than working out.

Singing immerses us in the waters of our past with small tidal fragments of memories, ripples of happiness and melancholy … all the things that make us real and human.

Yes, singing is the one thing in life where feeling better is pretty much guaranteed … where darkness is shaded out by light, depression pushed down and away, smiles made brighter and broader…

… and Mary Poppin’s kites fly higher and higher in the sweet gentle air of endorphins.

water memories