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Remembering Aretha Franklin and the joy of singing

-A reflection by Cantor Bev Jedynak

My phone beeped with a news alert. The “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin had died from pancreatic cancer. Of course, I’m a news junkie so, I checked my Twitter feed to read reactions to the news. The tributes were as beautiful and heartfelt as one would expect.

Her obituary reminded us that her life wasn’t an easy one; that she was a gifted singer – and pianist — who started singing in church; and her rendition of “Respect” became the music of justice issues such as equal rights and women’s rights.

My favorite memory is her rendition of “A Natural Woman” from the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony for Carole King. And who can forget “Think” from “Blues Brothers?” What a singer!

This week, running through my head alongside the soulful music of Aretha Franklin, is a song recorded by The Carpenters years ago. It’s reminding me of the happiness in singing with you and how music is a gift for all of us.

Singing is something we all do – some may be good at it while others may think they’re not – but all of us can sing. Think back to childhood games: “Ring around the Rosy,” “London Bridges”. Is there anyone who can’t sing “Happy Birthday”?

“Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to people so that they should proclaim the Word of God through music.” -Martin Luther

Sing, sing a song

Sing out loud

Sing out strong….

You can enjoy the whole thing – including the wonderful fashions of the 70’s here…

One of my greatest joys is leading the people’s song which means I get the joy of coordinating with all of you. Perhaps you play an instrument, sing, or would like to try your hand at the djembe. Please talk to me on a Sunday or send me an email:


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