I love when Garrison Keillor sings, but I don't think he's got a very good voice. He keeps in tune but his voice is thin and breathy and especially sounds lacking when he sings with guests like Alison Krauss. But I love listening to him sing because he so obviously enjoys himself; his pleasure is audible.
I'm not a very good singer (Garrison could teach me a thing or two about being in tune) but I enjoy singing, too. That's why I joined the Newton Family Singers. (Plus, I get to sing with people who sing like Alison Krauss.)
Because Newton Family Singers demands a fairly big commitment -- a dozen rehearsals -- we know not everyone is going to join the group. So we came up with the idea of occasional community sing-alongs for people to drop in for an hour or two and sing together.
In January, we had a couple of dozen people request their favorite songs and make some fun and beautiful music. We mostly picked songs from Rise Up Singing so that people had access to lyrics. Some of us had generated a list of songs before the sing-along, but we also took requests and learned some new songs, which was great! (Requests made beforehand will give others a chance to learn your favorite tune.) We also had people bring violins, guitars and a ukulele and join the "band."
Our next sing-along will be on Sunday, April 17, at 4:30pm following an informal NFS rehearsal. Come 10 minutes early if you want to hear a preview of our Spring setlist.
Here's the official announcement (feel free to repost it to your singing group or school mailing lists):
The Newton Family Singers invites singers of all ages and abilities to a Community SingAlong. Come and sing with us on Sunday April 17, from 4:30 to 5:45 pm at the WabanLibrary. No rehearsals, no performance, no pressure — just join us in singing because it’s fun! Our main source of lyrics will be the folk song collection Rise Up Singing, so make sure to bring it if it’s on your bookshelf (don’t worry if it’s not). And if you e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and suggest a song, artist or genre, we’ll do our best to accommodate you! Acoustic instruments are welcome.
Many thanks to the Waban Library Center for hosting this event. Suggested donation to the library: $10 per family or $5 for individuals. The WLC is located at 1608 Beacon Street.
Jack Cheng directs the Clemente Course in Dorchester, excavates in the Middle East, and writes in Waban, MA.