The Gifts a Concert Brings

We have an opportunity to do something very unique and wonderful with our next concert, “In the Steps of the Lion”. Although based in form on our popular “Road To Freedom” concert, the difference between the two is striking. “Road To Freedom” is designed to honour the people who came to live in Canada by way of the Underground Railroad and all who descended from them. By implication, the concert is about the value of freedom worldwide—a very present concern.

“In the Steps of the Lion” is also about honouring. But it’s subject, the people of Africa (the issues are same across the continent), are alive now, vital, struggling, in need, and grateful for every handhold we, who have set the world standard, can give them to help them establish their own life and take their place in the world.

The world needs this concert. I am not being dramatic. It’s one thing to think these thoughts alone by ourselves, or even in small groups of three, ten, or twenty people on a committee, and quite another thing to think and be engaged in this issue as part of hundreds of people experiencing the same messages and emotions at a live concert. There are few of us, I would venture to say, that do not believe what goes around, comes around. That the ripples we initiate by our music, our voices, our faces (remember the mirror neurons at the back of our eyes), and our all-important intention spread far and wide where we cannot see.

What can we do to make the world a better place? —to give back? —to do something concrete and meaningful that will without a doubt make a difference in the world? I suggest that the answer is more than simply give money, although that is hugely important. I suggest that the most important thing we can do as an artistic musical ensemble is to take our passion for singing and put it in the service of the greater good for the benefit of the world, which is what we are embarking on with this concert. We can move the hearts of hundreds of people in ways they’ve never experienced to help people half way around the world who have no other hope. We can sing with vitality and commitment to the dream, and by doing so, make it our dream and their dream.

I visited South Sudan in 2013 as part of a mission team and I know first-hand from being there how much every single goat and chicken means to the people who receive them. It’s not a cute moneymaking ploy. It’s life and death. It’s food or starvation. It’s feeding your children for another day. And that’s just goats and chickens. How much more the bigger things like clean water?

The Jewish people have a wonderful saying that I learned from a rabbi I heard lecture on Judaism,

“If not me, who? If not now, when?”

This leads to the crux of why KSS exists. We exist because every concert we do is done to the best of our ability to lead to a transformative experience for the listener (and ourselves along the way). We did that with the Brahms. We did that with “Voices of Light”—just to name two, and not mentioning all the others or our big concerts that we take on the road.

This is not to say that other performance organizations don’t perform beautifully with the best of intentions and love for the music. But our premise is different; our aim is different. I am passionate to share the depth, and the richness, and the transformative potential of every concert we do with our audience. For me, if it doesn’t do that, I would just go back to playing the organ for myself. That’s why I’m in this. That’s why I started a choir (to perform “Missa Gaia”).

That’s also why in KSS we do all types of music—to reach everybody regardless of the musical style they love. We do Beatles, et al, to lead people into a live choral concert experience so they will return and partake of the richness of the rest of what we offer. And we do Beatles to become better singers ourselves, so that when we perform “In the Steps of the Lion” we know how to make an impact. We know how to put it across. We know how to connect in a vital way with the people who came because they want to be moved! After all, what are the alternatives for one’s evening that can offer an impact far beyond ourselves?

“In the Steps of the Lion” can be a light in the darkness for so many people—people like us who want to make a difference in the world and are wondering how to best be effective, and for the millions of people in Africa who look to us to give them the tools and support they need to better their lives and rebuild their country into a place with food and freedom for all.

Together, we can make these things happen.

In the Steps of the Lion: music to celebrate and honour the courage and caring of the people of Africa and South Sudan.
Saturday, May 31, 2014, 8 pm, Wesley-Knox United Church, 91 Askin St, London, Ontario.

Tickets available online at

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