Thursday, April 26, 2018

God’s Plan in My Gift of Singing: Part 4 - Life in Edmonton

Written by  Garth Horn

Phase 7

After my One Dark Night, my attitude to life changed and I became more focused on prayer to God for peace and guidance. I phoned my good friend Lorne to give him the good news. His Mom said Lorne had moved to Edmonton to attend a 2 year Certificate Music Program to train as a vocalist (singer). With no hesitation, I asked for Lorne’s phone number in Edmonton. After speaking with Lorne, I drove to Edmonton to get more information and get a tour of the Grant MacEwan Performing Arts College. I picked up an application form and planned to attend the Program.

In September 1979, I packed up my Mustang Cobra 11 and headed to Edmonton. I was accepted into the 2 year Performing Arts Program at Grant MacEwan College. I could choose between a focus in music and dance. I chose music and my principal instrument of study was my voice. As a singer, I mainly studied Pop music but I also learned and performed Folk, Classical, Jazz and Musical Theatre songs.

Shortly after I got settled in an apartment, I looked in the yellow pages for the closest Roman Catholic Church to attend. The following Sunday, I attended St. John the Evangelist Parish. I knew God was with me on my journey and I needed to go to Church and pray for continued guidance.

In my first year of study I rented a locker for my stuff. My locker number was 26. I knew it was going to be a good year because I was 26 years of age on January 26 and I had locker 26.

Phase 8

It was an eye opener attending the School of Performing Arts. The cafeteria was an interesting place to hang out and have lunch - standing in the lunch line was especially interesting, with its eclectic mix of male and female dance students in black tights and artsy looking music students. There was I, a prairie boy from a small farming community.

I fully immersed myself into my music studies– I gave it all I had. My eyes were being opened on a daily basis as we learned music theory, rhythms, ear training, composition and the diverse styles of music. As a singer, I was required to learn, memorize and perform a new song a week and perform it with a piano accompanist in front of the class of singers.

One time, folk music was the style of music of the week. I was required to learn and perform a folk song. This was a new area of music for me. My upbringing with music was Rock and Roll. I went to the library to choose a folk song. The song which jumped out for me to learn was “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream” by Pete Seger.

This folk song was an eye-opening, heart-warming message to me about my Christian Mission of believing and practicing the message of peace and love. I am concluding this chapter of my life with these song lyrics:

Last Night I had the Strangest Dream - by Pete Seger

      Last night I had the strangest dream I ever dreamed before
      I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war.
      I dreamed I saw a mighty room and the room was full of people
      And a paper they were signing said they’d never fight again.

      And when the paper was all signed and a million copies made
      They all joined hands and bowed their heads and grateful prayer was prayed.
      And the people in the streets below were dancing round and round
      While swords and guns and uniforms were lying on the ground.

      Last night I had the strangest dream I ever dreamed before
      I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war.

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