Each Friday my kids’ elementary school has what they call Community Circle, in which the whole student body assembles to sing songs, and to recognize accomplishments and other good behavior from the students. It’s super adorable. Even just being there would be a high point of my week by itself—but I also get to bring my accordion and play along on the songs. I’ve been doing this when possible for the past year and a half.
It’s been a really great experience for me: I get to play accordion alongside other musicians, in a very casual and totally nonjudgmental context, with an enthusiastic audience. Everyone around here knows I love doing it, but really, they don’t know the half of it.
So I wrote a little song for Community Circle. It’s called “Gather Up, My Friends,” and it’s just basically about what Community Circle is. It’s short and sweet; I tried to keep it relatively easy to remember. I liked it well enough to share it with the music teacher and other parent musicians, and they all liked it well enough that it’s in our standard repertoire now. And today we all sang it together, with the kids, for the first time.
Oh man. What an incredible feeling! I’m getting a little choked up even now, thinking about all those voices singing along with me on it. There’s nothing else like it. I will never forget today.
Here’s the phone demo I made just to teach the song to the other musicians there: [Gather Up, My Friends] It’s just me on the uke and singing. But this pales in comparison to the full sound from today. I really need to get a recording of that eventually, if they’ll let me.