The Healing Power of Music


By Todd Camp

Our nation has faced a number of difficult challenges lately. Anyone who has turned on the nightly news in the last few weeks can relate to the notion that sometimes the pain faced by others can be overwhelming.

No anniversary brings that point home more than the somber annual remembrance of the national pain we all experienced after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Thankfully, music can often be a soothing salve for troubling times, and its healing powers are in high demand these days.

We reached out to a few Chorale members to find out what songs culled from the group’s 35-year history still have the power to uplift the soul while healing the spirit.

For 21-year Chorale veteran Jamie Rawson, his unforgettable song came from the 2006 TCC collection of American music, Songs of Our Nation.

“In the later 19th century, almost every well-appointed American home had a piano or a pump organ. And the people sang. Gentle, popular ballads were the Gold and Platinum records of the era,” Jamie says. “Yes, they were sentimental, but the country needed time to heal and to treasure the peace and rising prosperity they had found.”

“The music of this period brought them all together. Regardless of geographical location, the simple beauty of these tunes made the American people one,” he continues. One of the best of those, was the traditional American folk song “Shenandoah.” “The simple, haunting melody has remained a favorite to this day. I loved singing this for my nephew at his bedtime when he was quite young.”

For 17-year Chorale veteran Doug Mitchell, the song “Loving Kindness,” from the 2007 TCC recording Serenade, hits home the best.

“The text, based on a Buddhist scripture, is simple and beautiful: Put away all your hindrances, let your mind full of love pervade one quarter of the world, and so, too, the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, altogether continue to pervade with love-filled thought, abounding, sublime, beyond measure, free from hatred and ill will.”

Doug says those words have always resonated with him, “but, in retrospect, the closest I have ever come to feeling them as a reality was in the few days immediately after the tragedy on Sept. 11,” he recalls. “For a few days, it seemed as if the world was united in sorrow. And within that sorrow, there was a genuine outpouring of love-filled thought, free from hatred and ill will.”

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