Listen. Can you hear it?

I attended a choir trainer’s workshop today and we worked through repertoire that we are going to teach our students this year for a state-wide music festival. There were many nostalgic selections and beautiful tunes but one in particular stood out for me. It was a standout because it was a beautiful composition and it was written from the perspective of a Deaf person. It’s a song called ‘Can you hear me?’ composed by Bob Chilcott.

Photo: Jakub Gaudasinski

As I listened to a YouTube clip featuring the Birralee Singers, and followed along with the score, I couldn’t help but be moved by the notion that I can hear this. I can hear because my hearing is intact. As a musician, this is evidently precious, however, like all of my senses, it is something I too often take for granted.

“Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.”

– Walt Whitman

I love music. I love the sound of the birds. I love the crashing of waves. I love the sound of my husband’s voice. I love the laughter of my students. There are many sounds I don’t love too, but I am grateful that I can hear them.

I can’t imagine how I would feel if I lost my hearing. I think about the thousands of melodies I have learned in my lifetime thus far and I am grateful that I can hear them in my head and sing them back. To never have had this privilege of hearing melody is something difficult to fathom, and that is one of the reasons the song ‘Can you hear me?’ moved me so much.

Photo: Jakub Gaudasinski

The old adage states, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’. Joni Mitchell was onto something and if I heed her good advice I would take scrupulous note of the many blessings I have in my life at present. I will remind myself here and now that I have much to be grateful for, at the very least my senses…though there are days when sense goes astray. Mostly, when I’m low on caffeine…..haha.

Recommended: Watch the Birralee Singers perform “Can you hear me?”


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