“To create a spiritual community, even if for a little while, is a magnificent thing”.
By the end of the Spring Forum weekend, I witnessed a most exquisite spiritual community formed by sacred song. Then, like a sound mandala, we dispersed into the wind.
~ quote from a participant
The event opened Friday evening with MC Maureen Wild welcoming the participants and inviting us to reflect upon and share experiences of our spirits being lifted on this particular day.
Recognition was given to those experiencing major loss, honoring those who came in need of a little more “lifting of the Spirit” knowing that music, song, and chant can reach into the deepest fibers of our being and have a magical and healing effect.
Gabriola Women’s Gregorian Choir – Friday,May 4-2018- Christ Church
Before the simple monastic supper of homemade soups and local bread, Hiromi Bradshaw and her angelic choir gifted us with chants from 3 liturgical seasons-Advent, Lent, Pentecost and various Marion devotions.
“It was a clear manifestation of the Divine – where our diverse personhoods merge into a collective – united by experience and purpose”.
59 people gathered for this event, a continual flow of people through the door, and the dining room overflowing.
Audience participation led by Hiromi filled the church with joy and harmony. In Hiromi’s sparkling and gifted manner she also taught us much of the history of Gregorian chanting.
Silence prevailed in the church after the choir departed, a major tribute to the depth of experience of all gathered, with the sun streaming in through the stain glassed windows. Truly a magical, deeply spiritual experience.
Saturday May 5 2018 – The Netloft
This flow continued into Saturday where the gathering was in the meditative and beautiful setting of the Netloft with the sparkling Degnan Bay in the background.
Day two of Lifting our Spirits – Do it by Chants began as Pandit Tejomaya, introduced us to the spiritual path of devotion while soulfully playing his sitar, all the while sharing short teachings and guiding group chanting from the Vedic Tradition.
“I never expected Hindu chants to be so spiritually uplifting. The words had so many layers of meaning….really prepared one for meditation.
What could be nicer than sitting out here in this wonderful setting, eating and sharing together?
The magic continued into Saturday afternoon with Leah Hokanson, Allannah Dow and Tina Jones.
Each with their own style of chanting – Allannah, with her playful and creative spirit used her cello and her voice to guide us into graceful movement with joyful chanting opening us to experience how music and movement amplifies receptivity to the Divine. Followed by Leah, enthusiastically chanting in the Taize tradition, playing the piano and inspiring full participation of all.
Our hearts were touched by radiant joy and at times flowing of tears as well. One chant, ‘Close your eyes, feel the love’ was particularly meaningful to many.
And for the finale, Tina Jones joined the group and “Trio Sayso” continued with these three amazing voices blended with the piano, cello, trumpet and banjo bringing forth full participation and truly ‘Lifting the Spirit’ of all.
The Trio were amazing, their warmth and enthusiasm filled one with life and love. Really touched our heart centre – so emotional.
The “Lifting our Spirit, Do it by Chants” weekend afforded us the opportunity to engage in mutual soulful resonance. Ancient spiritual modalities opened our hearts, fresh creative offerings inspired healing and joy. Heartfelt gratitude for this exquisite expression of community radiance.
With deep gratitude, one participant thanked the Gabriola Ecumenical Society for bringing the light of love and for being a bridge by providing a place of sanctuary and connection for so many souls here on Gabriola.
A special thank you to the Gabriola Ecumenical Societies Program Committee members and all the volunteers and performers who put together such a special weekend for us to enjoy.