The Power of Music – Toronto Markham Catholic Wedding Funeral Singer

From the tender age of 7, I was attending a school that was training me to not only be a chorister, but also a cantor. The school I attended was far from anything ordinary as St. Michael’s Choir School consisted of a 6 day school week which included 45 minutes of choral singing Monday to Friday and choir duties on either Saturday or Sunday to cover one of the 4 weekend masses.

Although it seemed like such a burden at the time to have to attend daily choir practice, little did I realize that this would be the foundation for my success as a singer and become such an integral part of me. During my years at the school, we would not only sing at funerals and weddings at St. Michael’s Cathedral, but we would also travel in either our choirmaster’s car or via the TTC to different parishes in the Toronto area to perform at these services. This was especially fun in the grade 7 and 8 year as there were occasions when we would be pulled from class (hooray!!) to sing at an event.

Performing at such a young age also helped to teach me the power and impact that music can have on the lives of people. The school was very good at giving back to the community and I vividly remember in my grade 8 year when a group of us (sopranos at the time) attended Providence Healthcare in Scarborough to sing some Christmas carols for the residents. I remember how excited many of the residents were to have us there and how a number of them were moved to tears after our performance. We sang at a number of senior residences and it was amazing to see how appreciative and moved everyone was during and after our performances. We would literally have strangers coming up to us giving us hugs and kisses. Again, this helped me realize how powerful music is and how it can break down barriers and unite people.

Another unique offering that the school provided was that we toured twice a year; at the beginning of December and the week after Easter. The Christmas tour would generally be to remote parts or Ontario while the Easter tour would see us travel for 2 weeks and travel across Canada or to different parts of the States. We would be billeted out to different families who were congregants of the church/parish where our concerts would be hosted. Many times we were given the red carpet treatment by the communities, especially if it was a smaller town. We would role into the town as rock starts and by the end of the concerts, we were walking on water in the eyes of the community members. Again, the power of music was quite evident and it was amazing to see how the human voice can have such an impact on other human beings.

I’ve been very fortunate as a singer to be given feedback from either parishioners, clients, audience members or whoever may be at the event where I am singing, that my voice has either moved them or “given them shivers.” As much as I love singing, I also love being able to see an audience member smile or interacting with them afterwards about how I was able to put a new twist on their favourite song. I am aware of the power of music and for each and every performance, I try to ensure whether it be the musicians I work with or the songs that I select for a performance, that I am able to have an impact and leave an impression with those who hear me sing. Feel free to check out my website at www.musicbyjohn.ca to sample my music. Hopefully I’ll make a new fan!

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