Saturday, 5 October 2013

National Anthem: Why sing it when you can ping it?

Singing is passé. Talk of amending the words of the anthem sounds strange when anthem-singing itself has become a rare beast. It's time for a Canadian Plan B.

I grew up singing God Save the Queen every school morning and singing Christmas carols in assembly, in church, in the snow and just to pass the time of day. My first wife grew up singing four-part harmony in a church congregation. Why were there seventeen Canadian manufacturers at one time? (Our home piano was from Belleville, Ontario). People got the latest songs on sheet music and played them live in the days before radio. Radio came before TV. TV came before MP3 came before iTunes and music in the cloud. Now we don’t do our own singing and are accustomed to hearing what we want when we want it by pushing a button or just talking to our smart devices.

Most young people have little experience singing with their community and expect music to come from something plugged in. Singing the national anthem in assembly is a strange experience, not the commonplace it once was.
A contemporary update will have people in the audience ping their support for a digital performance, with the number of parts and voices in the digital version matching the number of supporting pings from the audience. This is silly but it reflects how we communicate in other spheres now, doesn’t it?

Is there a Plan B and will it use the Social Media? What can we affirm about our Canada in public that doesn’t depend on the lost art of singing?
An unappealing picture of the new normal.
It's like people doing the twist, each in their own world.

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