Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine!" ~ Harry Dixon Loes

This past weekend found me returning with family members to The Old Songs Festival.  I wrote about this festival last year, and included a multitude of photos.  This year, I left the camera at home and just enjoyed each moment through my own eyes rather than a lens.  I did however, use my phone to record a segment of Shape Note Singing.  There are no words to describe the beautiful harmonies that are produced.  I gave a shot at singing along, though a woman next to me kept glancing my way and I got the feeling that she dearly wanted to ask me to stop!  I wish that I had recorded horizontally rather than vertically, but there is no mistaking the beauty of the music.  Please go directly to my blog if the videos do not come through via e-mail..

I attended a number of presentations, from fiddle music, to songs from Australia, but the one that struck me the most was the workshop on Gospel singing.  I hadn't realized when I attended it, that the audience was going to learn to sing Gospel music.  I thought it was going to be a concert presentation.  The woman leading the workshop was Lea Gilmore.

"Lea Gilmore is a blues, gospel and jazz singing civic activist who has lent her voice, literally and 
figuratively, to advocacy for the underserved of the world and made a huge difference."

I would say that there were about 150 people in attendance, and we were divided into three groups.  Lea taught us several different songs - easy to learn because of the repetition of words and melody.  She then guided us through the songs, incorporating harmony and singing in rounds.  It was an amazing experience. At one point, the beauty of the music just overwhelmed me, and I found myself singing through tears.  Now, those who know me well know that moving me to tears is not an out-of-the-ordinary event - I have always cried easily.  I must say though, that I was by no means the only one who was singing with tears streaming down their face.  As I said before, it was an amazing experience.

I did not record any of this (I was too busy singing and mopping up my cheeks), but I have included a clip below of Lea leading a choir and audience in singing "This Little Light of Mine".  I got to sing this with her twice - once at the Gospel workshop - and a second time at the Songs of Freedom presentation.  I think you will see why she is so inspiring.

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday - just wonderful!


  1. I always enjoy hearing about your weekend at The Old Songs Festival. Watching the video of Lea Gilmore (singing one of my personal all-time favorites!) was an experience, but surely doesn't compare to being with her in person. You are a lover of life, Tracy. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. As one lover of life to another - Thank you!

  2. It was a wonderful weekend indeed! I smile when I think of you telingl your experience of the Gospel sing ( : Oh I am sorry I missed it....Next year!!!

    1. It was wonderful! I am so happy that you and Mom broughtOld Songs into my life!