Healing power of music

There are many examples of outstanding individuals and groups bettering themselves and others in this community.

There are many examples of outstanding individuals and groups bettering themselves and others in this community.

Joel West is one of these many people who has found a new life for himself through music and is using his talent to help his fellow man.

You can read about Joel on page 14 in this edition of the Lakes District News.

Music has been a healing part of people’s lives since the beginning.

Plato spoke of music influencing the character of an individual while Aristotle claimed song as a power that cleanses people’s emotions.

The biblical story of David states he played the harp to rid King Saul of a bad spirit.

At the end of the first and second world wars musicians performed for wounded soldiers at United Kingdom hospitals to take their mind off the physical and mental trauma they had just endured.

The song John Henry came from the true story of a man versus a machine that occurred during the building of the Eastern railroads in the late 1800s.

It could be used to protest the Enbridge pipeline here in town and also lift up the spirits of those in the fight against it like it helped the people in opposition to the railroad.

When people sing for justice and equality a rendition of We Shall Overcome is heard.

The political protest song was originally a Baptist hymn before being brought into the labour movement in the 1930s and popularized among civil rights workers in the 1950s.

In 1963 Joan Baez led a crowd of 300,000 in singing We Shall Overcome at the Lincoln Memorial during the civil rights March on Washington.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recited the words from We Shall Overcome in his final sermon delivered in Memphis on March 31, 1968.

Chereen Patrick told me in an interview last week that one of the most memorable moments she experienced at the ‘Am I Next’ rally she attended on Sept. 14 in Prince George was when the participants gathered together to drum and sing the woman’s warrior song.

You can also read more about Chereen and the ‘Am I Next’ movement on page 8 in this edition of the Lakes District News.

And on a much lighter note, I remember hearing about a report of a man waking from a coma when someone put on a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but since Tom Petty rules I have to assume it is.

The thing I’m trying to get at here is there should be more music in our lives.

Everyone should pick up a guitar or sit at a piano or bang some drums or blow a horn and maybe we’ll all be happier and enjoy a better society for it.

Chereen’s dream is to live in a society where women going missing along the Highway of Tears is not the norm.

She indicated the Sisters in Spirit will try and raise awareness about the need for change in a rally here in Burns Lake early next month.

I hope to hear the woman’s warrior song at this rally.

Joel’s dream is to record his first album and he’s well on his way.

He left the interview I conducted with him last Wednesday with a pledge that he’ll continue to work on making his dream come true.