Putting my personal music philosophy into words, US radio personality Devon O'Day terms it "a service business". There are opportunities to be seen and heard all around you and you just need to uncover them. Devon O’Day says singers should look for ways to engage [your] gifts through community service.
“One of the most important areas that singers, songwriters, and artists often miss, is the service aspect of what they do,” O’Day said. “There are organizations that meet weekly, that need inspiration, motivation, and your music.”
She suggests that singers work solo or as a group to create an inspiring presentation framed with a topic. This is what my accompanist Elaine Swanney and I have done in our small rural town. Our topics have included "The War Years" and Irish or Scottish celebrations which we share at old folks homes and activity programs. I have a stack of music folders labelled with themes such as "Follow Your Dreams" or "Hope" which I look forward to lodging in a public program.
In addition, I seek occasions to sing whenever we have guests in our home. I may ask for their thoughts on the latest song I've written, or I may sense as they leave that there is a need for a blessing or positive focus. (Have you noticed that conversation frequently centers on the negatives of our world?)
My favourite song to sing on these occasions is "My Child" by Carolyn Ballinger Sjostrom. Whenever I share this beautiful song (for which Carolyn has provided me with a piano backing track), it ministers deeply to our guests and I am rewarded through being able to give them such a gift.
On one occasion after hearing the song, a grandmother asked if I had a recording of it so she could share the blessing with her family. A few months later she repeated her request, hopeful of gifts for Christmas, and was very sorry when I again had to say no.
I will keep studying on how to solve my recording dilemma, and meanwhile, challenge you to join me in sharing your gift with those around you, where you are now. You may be surprised at the rewards it brings.