By Jan C. Gomersall
We live in very uncertain times as the news headlines scream war, TV programs literally ram violence down viewers’ throats, and we are left wondering, “Is this all there is?”
If you were to type into Google “Landfill Philharmonic” you would discover something else. There is a hunger, not so much for food, but that too would probably be more than welcome, but for music, and, in my dreams I think that if every child was given a musical instrument to play at the earliest possible age instead of make-believe guns, etc.,
we would surely have peace in our world.
Here on Prince Edward Island we are indeed very rich as our schools give students the opportunity to play music in school bands, string programmes and through the classroom music curriculum, but then what?
When public school days are ended, for so many, music playing also ends. Why? Is it because no one knows about the musical groups that are actually quite prevalent on the Island? Some groups have formed specifically to allow people to continue playing together and even learn an instrument whilst playing with the group.
Definitely Not The Symphony has room for string players who perhaps played in the school string programme but then had nowhere else to play their instrument, and it also welcomes other somewhat non-conventional orchestral instruments.
Likewise, the Second Chances Band was formed on the same premise for people who had always wanted to learn an instrument or who had nowhere to play after leaving their school band programme. Those interested in piping but not able to attend the college, might check out the Belfast Pipe and Drum Band, and for others, there is SMUG — for those who always wanted to play ukuleles.
There are other groups I am sure, catering to the needs of Islanders, some of whom have waited a lifetime for the opportunity to learn and instrument and play in a group. Playing in a group is so much more satisfying and encouraging than just playing for oneself. Most, if not all of these groups, have website to help you find one that would meet your needs.
Many young people play sports of one kind or another, and that is a good thing, and very important to their physical well-being, but so often their team-sporting days end for one reason or another — injury, age, etc. and this is very sad because it often leaves a void.
Beginning again to play the instrument they perhaps played in their school band/string programme, or even having the courage and discipline to begin learning an instrument, could fill that void and give so much enjoyment to themselves and others, not just into middle age but beyond, and for the rest of their lives.
I personally have been playing my instrument for over 60 years, and I know quite a number of others who are still playing their instruments for others’ enjoyment into quite advanced old
Of course, I have only written about instruments, but we all have a built-in instrument all our own — our voice. Check out all the opportunities and groups where you can share your vocal talents and you will be glad you did.
“Is this (i.e. war and violence) all there is to life?” No, there’s always music! Think about it. Check out the local music group websites and act.
Jan C. Gomersall of Stratford taught school music
for 32 years. Now retired, she directs the Oak Tree Singers,
a seniors’ choir that meets at the Seniors’ Active Living Centre every Friday morning.