How to Let Your Heart Sing


I have always loved singing in harmony and have sung in several choirs in the past. When I moved to Victoria, I was looking for a small vocal ensemble to sing with. In my search for a small community choir, I stumbled upon one of the biggest choirs I have ever listened to: The Gettin’ Higher Choir.

The best way to get to know a choir, is to attend a performance. As I listened to the more than 300 voices on stage, I loved every minute of the concert. I was delighted to see every single singer of this choir fully engaged, singing with joy.

Before the intermission Shivon Robinsong, one of the choir leaders, explained that anyone could join the choir. One didn’t even need to be able to read music in order to join. She especially welcomed people who thought of themselves as non-singers, people who had been told their voices sounded awful and that they were singing out of tune.

The choir sounded absolutely wonderful! Since I had just learned that many of the singers didn’t have a musical education or any confidence in their voices when they joined the choir, I gathered that they received exactly what they needed to bring out their most beautiful singing voices. Even though I know how to read music and am confident in my ability to sing, I felt drawn to become part of this choir.

When I joined The Getting’ Higher Choir in the fall of 2011, my already high expectations were by far exceeded. It was very liberating to let go of sheet music and learn songs by listening rather than reading. The two gifted leaders, Dennis Donelly and Shivon Robinsong, inspire all of us to connect deeply with the meaning of the songs we sing and feel the beautiful harmonies we create together. There is no pressure to perform, rather an invitation to sing for the joy of singing, and as we do, our ability to listen and the range of our voices naturally grows.

What a joy to sing in harmony with so many voices! Each choir practice I feel my heart opening and expanding as we sing together. The love and joy I experience at choir naturally spills over into the rest of my life. I often find myself singing a song as I walk along the shore, while I am cooking or doing the dishes. While singing is one of my treasured passions, there are many ways to connect with joy. I hope my story inspires you to ask yourself the following questions:

What makes my heart sing?

What is it, that deeply resonates with me?

What lifts me up above my worries?

While you may not have the answers to these questions right now, I wholeheartedly encourage you to open yourself to receiving your answers over time. My quest for a small singing ensemble lead me to join a huge choir. Equally, your quest may lead to something different from what you first imagined.

You may have had glimpses of expansive open-hearted feelings in your life. Begin by remembering the times when you received these glimpses. If these glimpses could be your guides, where would they point you?

Enjoy this exploration!

Julia James, CPCC, PCC, M.Sc. is a multi-lingual certified life coach, award-winning author and international speaker. She helps busy professionals around the world achieve balance in their lives through individual life coaching and workshops. Author of the book, The Mini-Retreat Solution and the audio CD series, Guided Mini-Retreats for Busy People, she provides tools to manage stress effectively and to relax and re-energize quickly. Julia has been featured on Joy TV, CBC News, as well as in The Globe & Mail, Glow Magazine, BC Business Magazine and The Vancouver Observer.

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