May I See Beauty Too


19thSeason IMCC Community Choir Concert – December, 2017

Call and Response:
We may know call and response best as a form of some African American songs. In our choir it is a way for all singers, experienced and new, to learn new music. We repeat the pitches and the words of our director. Call and response is the base of our singing together but also our relationships with one another. We listen to one another’s original songs, ideas about the meanings of the songs we sing together, and plans for our performances and the future of our choir, and we respond.

The writing component of our choir is part of this practice of call and response. John Schondelmeyer, assisted by Mary Trachsel, has provided us writing prompts this fall. Inside and outside singers have answered those prompts and shared their responses. This newsletter provides just a few excerpts from that call and response that enriches our communal choir experience. We hope you can feel the rhythm of our community conversation in these bits and pieces of our writing life together.
Consider how the interaction of insiders and outsiders sheds a new light on the prospect of people returning to communities.

Consider how the interaction of insiders and outsiders sheds a new light on the prospect of people returning to communities.
The interaction between insiders and outsiders can shed new light on insiders’ “re-entry” by showing others that not all incarcerated people are monsters. They are most times misguided, confused, mentally and emotionally challenged, or even just unlucky. But, most importantly, people incarcerated or not, are still just people.

     Shane Kendrick

Volunteering at Oakdale in the choir and writing workshop has caused me to see inmates in a different light and has expanded my sense of community to include, at a local level, the Oakdale inmates as part of my community …. It isn’t that I wouldn’t have accepted these same views before volunteering at Oakdale. It’s that I wouldn’t have thought of them in the first place.

     Mary Trachsel

The influence of the volunteers here has inspired me to be better, not only for myself, but for this community. It/they have also given me insight into what a community can mean.
     J. Lüsch

The song Feliz Navidad suggests that lots of presents can make you happy. Is this true for you? What makes you happy?

A deep night’s rest, connecting with people individually, fun travel, learning new things, accomplishing things, Oakdale Community Choir, a caring husband.
     Mary Cohen

Animals make me happy …. Some of my favorite nonhuman companion animals are parrots, dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, horses, cattle and chickens …. lt also makes me happy to see wildlife of all kinds-especially deer, beaver, raccoons, frogs, and turtles. There are too many to enumerate …. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that the natural world makes me happy. I want to be outside every day, at least for a little bit, no matter what the weather.

     Mary Trachsel

I grew up outdoors and miss being able to walk the meandering pathways in the woods. It’s sad that the natural world is suffering because of our mistakes. One way to fix it is to make every one experience it firsthand.

     J. Lüsch

How do you imagine you can make the holiday season and next year more
“prosperous” for others around you?

To become more prosperous to me means not necessarily having more “stuff” but having more in my life: more experiences, more chances to go, be, or do. To help others become more prosperous then means to do what I can to open doors and create opportunities for others to enlarge their lives.

     Colleen Higgins

I agree …. I liked the phrase “enlarge their lives.” Enlarge their experiences, freedoms, friendships, understanding of others, that makes them a fuller human being.

     Joel Conard

Light is often contrasted with various opposing concepts: light/dark; on/off; light/heavy; easy/difficult. How can we think of light in ways that represent changes that are good for community?

Using the metaphor of the light always following the dark in the cycle of each day helps me see hope and options and “lightness” in times of need. I also recognize that we wouldn’t appreciate the stars or a full moon without the dark.

     John Schondelmeyer

One singer’s vision of “The Light that Shines Within” imagines the song as accompanying a person’s journey through the maze of life, especially as represented by the image of monks chant-singing the song in a monastery. The singer wanders. This is your darkest hour. You wonder where you should turn. What will be your next step in your maze of life?

How do you imagine this song? Describe the pictures it conjures in your mind or tell the story it suggests. The words in this song are full of positive and hopeful expressions. How has the light shining within you given you comfort, and how have you continued to draw sustenance from your own reserves of hope and positivity?

If, like the light of ONE candle, all was cured by music, arts, knowledge and care of all people, the universe would be a safer place to live.


What do you recall about the end of the film The Grinch that Stole Christmas when Mr. Grinch’s heart grew and grew and grew? What life experiences have you had or seen (or stories read) similar to what happened to Mr. Grinch?

Singing a musical version of A Christmas Carol: The moral of the story (A Christmas Carol), as with the Grinch, is that money and possessions aren’t what give life meaning. We must have other people to love (and hopefully to be loved by) for our lives to be worth living . . . .A s I heard once on the TV show Fantasy Island, it’s not money that’s the root of all evil, it’s fear of the lack of it.

     Colleen Higgins

I also think of the shift in Mr. Scrooge after he is visited by the three spirits of past, present, and future. As I think of these stories, it fascinates me how our moods and energies seem to influence or have the power to influence those with whom we come in contact.

     Mary Cohen

In the song/poem “May I See Beauty Too,” how do you understand the words,”Let it be a lesson” and “let it be a blessing”?

The person in Josh’s lyrics is making “a journey on a dark road,” with “no love in sight,” “alone.” But from the beginning of the song the person-each of us-is told there is something shining within us that can be “a friend and guide.” So, well, we’re not alone after all. We have this blessed light within …. But I don’t think the lesson is that we don’t need other people. The song tells us to “use our light” “for others.” … “Be a blessing,” says the song.

     Barbara Eckstein

To me, these words describe the ways we can learn from other people’s examples. When we see other people performing acts of kindness and consideration to others, we should regard those people as role models to emulate ….When we’re the recipient of these kindnesses, we can see that although the world’s problems are still with us, we experience a sense of personal uplift. This should show us that even small things count on a personal level.

     Mary Trachsel

An artist looks at shadow and light to make pictures come together as 3- dimensional images. How has seeing things in a new and different light changed your life for the better?

If we slow down, we can watch the world rekindle with pastels of yellow, green, and light blue; spring forth the full colors of life. Only if we slow down to notice!

     John Schondelmeyer

If every member of the choir is a single candle, how much brightness can the entire choir transmit, and how far does our illumination reach on a dark night? This is a math question, so “explain your thinking.”

When every person can shine to cause 10 others to care, the size grows by powers of 10. So if the choir is 60 people, that means the initial group is 600 times brighter; another times 10 is 60,000. So at 3 rings out this is a huge effect on the world of care. CARE!

     John Schondelmeyer

Can you illustrate in a picture or poem the meaning the song “May I See Beauty Too” has for you?


A little kindness;
“Good morning.” with the sun.
A little care;
“How are you?” listen to the answer.
A little light;
“Sweet dreams. ” before eyes shut tight.

Just a little of each can bring happiness.
Just a little of each can bring comfort.
Just a little of each can bring peace.

     J. Lüsch