What music do you listen to? What music makes you jump up and dance, or wiggle in your seat, or move your head? What music asks you to sing along?
Lots of music does these things for me, and the music we share at WES is high on my list. There are songs we’ve sung together, like “Blue Boat Home,” and songs WES Chorus has presented, including “Brave.” Thinking about this, I recently decided I wanted to hear the songs, and see how having them in my daily life felt.
So off I went to search on Spotify, an online music sharing source; think of it like your own guided radio station, complete with ad breaks if you use it for free. You can search for songs, artists, or styles of music, and Spotify will find it for you, allowing you to build your own library of favorites, and being exposed to new ones.
As I searched for WES songs, in one instance I couldn’t find the version of the song I could hear in my head (“Let the River Run,” from the movie Working Girl.) Carly Simon, the songwriter, has stated that she wanted to write a hymn to New York, but with a contemporary beat, and without any particular religious or political overtones. The one I was seeking (found on YouTube, not Spotify) sounds like this.
My search did kick up a version recorded by the St. Thomas School Choir of Men and Boys, and I remembered the choir recording the song while my brother was attending school there (his voice had already changed, sadly, so he is not on the recording.) Listening to the song performed in a completely different style helped me hear the poetry differently, and in some ways more deeply.
Later, when I listened to it again as part of my now forming WES playlist, I found myself crying over the idea of a “new Jerusalem,” particularly given the ongoing strife in Israel. The next song that came up was “Nothing More,” our song for Intention this past January. Hearing it just then only intensified my experience of both songs, and the vitality of the line, “We are how we treat each other, and nothing more.” Music can do this, help us see ourselves and the world as more deeply connected. I definitely experienced that, and I was “just” listening to songs while folding laundry.
Of course, I’ve thought of even more songs I could have included, songs we sing together, songs presented by the WES Chorus, and by guest musicians: I Wish I Knew How, We Know the Way, Thanksgiving Eve, and more. You can find the playlist I made on Spotify here. Making it got me thinking, singing, dancing, and feeling connected to all of you. What would go on your WES playlist?
-Bailey Whiteman, Music Director