On a cold Saturday morning I was on my way to work at Music Plus. I was tired, probably a bit cranky and I really wasn't ready for the day. I was standing waiting at my bus stop when a father and his young daughter came and waited next to me. They looked far keener than I did at 8:30 in the morning. Her father was smiling gently and talking to her quietly. Clutched tightly to her chest was a book I quickly recognized, a piano method book. I thought it odd to see a girl going to a piano lesson so early in the morning. When I was her age you could guarantee I would not go to a lesson at 9:00am and be happy about it. She looked delighted, excited and exuberant. As we trundled down King Street I waited to see where they got off, but I got off at my stop and they continued on their way.
I made my way into 5 Michael St. to meet with the Community Music School to help them start their day. I was chatting away and slowly waking up when I saw a familiar father and daughter walk into the school. Then it clicked, she was a Community Music School student! Suddenly a complete rush of joy came over me. Knowing what I do every day and what the amazing people of Community Music School do around the clock had brought this daughter and father joy, it was an incredible. As we have gone farther and worked harder for the community music school we see this more and more, we hear it in the students and even the teachers.
It’s an amazing thing when the work you do is impactful and it brings experiences and knowledge to a person. That is what we do at Lyrical Lines every day. It’s actually part of our mandate if you want to get technical "Lyrical Lines Education Network Inc. builds community through the support and facilitation of accessible music experiences in Waterloo Region." What is even more amazing is when in the process of doing that for others you find joy in yourself. It’s a total win-win situation. Now that I’m working with Lyrical Lines in this capacity it is sometimes harder to remember the time when I was a recipient. The irony is I would not be here writing this today if it wasn't for the work that Lyrical Lines did for me.
It was the Choral Festival and the Symposium workshops that ignited my love for choral music. It was working with students across the region that gave me bonds I share today. It was seeing, learning and working with these clinicians and teachers that gave me lifelong connections. It was through all the events like Symposium and other workshops that I met so many of my future university professors. I met fellow Board Member and professor, Dr. Gerard Yun when he conducted the Waterloo Region Choral Festival, and he somehow picked me from the mob of 700 high school students. Since then we have had an amazing education and professional collaborative relationship. I met Dr. Lee Willingham at LLEN events as well and he has been my guide in philosophies on music education and choral leadership, molding and guiding me every step of the way. Those are just the top of the list, it can continue: Nancy Kidd, Dr. Julia Davids, Dr. Hillary Apfelstadt, Dr. Leonard Enns... It taught me not only about creating beautiful music, it really taught me about collaboration. It taught me that working together is stronger than working alone and it’s a lot more fun in the process.
Now I am here. I work to give Lyrical Lines a broader image, I try to connect all the pieces and keep everyone together. Sometimes in the day to day you get stuck on the details and can sometimes lose sight of what you are working for. I think that was why seeing that girl on that Saturday was so impactful for me. I got to see the work in progress; I got to see the benefit of what we do. Even though I facilitate and provide work that helps the charity to thrive, I am still in the same position as that young girl. I am still learning and seeing and collaborating and I can guarantee that I am not the only one. The beautiful thing about what Lyrical Lines does is the win-win. I get to give what I receive.
Rebecca McKay is the Communication Coordinator for Lyrical Lines Education Network. She is also completing her Bachelor's degree at WLU and is a lover of all things choral.