“We’re the ones to make the magic And we’ve only just begun. Sing along and just imagine How the world can be as one.” – Ode to Song (WSD 2018 Song of the Year)
Each year for World Singing Day we have at least one song that we invite people to sing together, to promote a sense of global unity. People send in their videos to create global montage videos of people from around the world singing the same song.
The challenge is finding, or writing, a song that people in many different countries can sing easily. What language do you write it in? What musical genre? What should the message be? Then there’s the issue of copyright if you use a song not in the public domain.
One of the most well-known melodies around the world is the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Symphony #9, “Ode to Joy.” Millions of people know the melody but not as many know the German lyrics. What if we changed the lyrics to something more people would be familiar with. And why not take phrases from popular songs and write a coherent lyric that’s in line with the spirit of World Singing Day?
That’s what we did for this year’s WSD Song of the Year, “Ode to Song,” which is a tribute to the power and magic of song. Can you identify the 20 song references?
We invite you to listen, learn, and sing “Ode to Song” with others on, or leading up to, World Singing Day, the third Saturday in October. Film and share it on social media using #worldsingingday and #odetosong.
“Sing along and just imagine how the world can be as one.”
Hundreds of people are gathering in the streets and pubs to sing together in cities around Australia. Beer choirs are springing up across the United States. Thousands of people are coming together to sing songs in Canada and Israel. Mass karaoke is breaking out in the United Kingdom. Over 200,000 Belgians gather in cities each summer to belt out songs from ABBA to The Beatles. And every year on the third Saturday in October people around the globe are coming together to sing and celebrate their common humanity on World Singing Day.
There’s a musical movement happening but it has nothing to do with competition or performance. It’s a joyful celebration springing up around the world through the simple act of singing together as a community. It’s a singalong revolution.
Peter Sharp and The Liberators from Perth, Australia, leaders in creating public events of authentic human connection, have organized a number of public singalong events, from people singing a Bob Marley song on the way to work in dozens of countries to inviting unsuspecting shoppers to sing along to classic pop and rock songs in the streets of Perth.
Massaoke (for mass-karaoke) is a live band singalong clubbing sensation that’s sweeping the UK, from the Glastonbury Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival to London and Liverpool.
In Toronto, Choir!Choir!Choir! is a weekly drop-in singalong event that began in 2011. It is equal parts singing, comedy and community building. People get a lyric sheet at the door, are taught the vocal arrangements, and then sing in a video. Everyone has a ball and goes home feeling great. Here’s the group singing “Hallelujah” with Rufus Wainwright.
Koolulam is a social-musical initiative aimed at bringing together people from all corners of the diverse, multi-cultural Israeli society. The idea is to stop everything for a few hours and just sing – together. The project enables its participants to enjoy the feeling of togetherness through a deep communal experience – their sounds and voices coming together to create a social choir, full of hope and optimism. Here’s what 3,000 people with an hour of learning the song can create: “One Day”
Australia’s Pub Choir believes music belongs to everyone and that everyone can sing. They pack hundreds of strangers into a pub, teach a song in 3-part harmony in 90 minutes, and then film themselves perform it.
Beer Choir, from the US, is about making the world a little better by singing and drinking together. As their theme song says “The Beer Choir is the choir that sings while drinking beer. So bottoms up, cheers, let’s sing while drinking beer.”
And perhaps the biggest and longest running singalong event in the world is Belgium’s Vlaanderen Zingt (Flanders Sings) which, for over 20 years, has been gathering people in town squares in the Flemish part of Belgium during the summer and singing everything from ABBA to the Beatles. Over 200,000 people gather each year in dozens of cities to sing their hearts out.
There’s nothing quite like singing together to bond people quickly and to soothe the soul. Imagine the millions of people who already love to sing, gathering on the same day each year and encouraging their friends and neighbors to join them in singing together. What a global celebration that would be.
There’s a singalong revolution happening. And World Singing Day is leading the way.