Cosmic Prose

Natasha Regehr

Month: September 2014

Singing On

Joyce Barrett was known to thousands as a physician, author, and social justice activist; but to 100 of her closest friends, Joyce was known most intimately and laudably as a singer.

After twenty-five years of capable and impassioned service in the field of obstetrics, Joyce retired in 1997 and revived a lifelong interest in choral music. She had devotedly taken her young children and grandchildren to performances of Handel’s Messiah every Christmas, and finally decided that it was her turn to sing this immortal work. She joined the Peterborough Singers with her daughter, Liza, in 1999.

Fourteen years later, dozens of Joyce’s fellow choristers slipped out of the concert hall and flocked to her bedside to join her in her final “Amen Chorus”. . .

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I had a Cheers moment last night. It was fantastic. I walked into a bar, and heard a joyful chorus of, “Hey, Norm!”

Well, to be precise, the exclamation sounded more like, “Hi Natasha!” and the bar was Syd Birrell’s back porch. But the sentiment was the same. Quiet little Natasha, who never speaks unless she must, still managed to find herself a roomful of friends.

Everyone was happy to see me. Everyone conversed with me. Everyone asked me questions, and was interested in my answers. I could barely sit down, I was so busy being everyone’s friend. Indeed, I was one of the last to leave. Me. Staying longer than necessary at a social event. Imagine!

What unprecedented alignment of stars and planets could make such a thing happen? What mysterious forces intervened to thrust me so effortlessly into everyone else’s collective orbit? Was it my birthday? My convocation? My wedding? My retirement?

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