On Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. in the town plaza, I will be officially inducted on to the Living Peace Wall. I am proud and honored by this recognition. My name will join the likes of Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Daniel Ellsberg, Dolores Huerta and my long time Love Choir friend, Linda Sartor. All of these folks have put their hearts, souls and bodies on the line in the cause of creating peace and justice in the world. To be included in this group, along with the others currently on the wall, is an honor that touches me deeply. I thank Michael Gillotti and his committee for selecting me for this honor.
But what have I done to deserve such a distinction? I try to answer that question without any false humility or “Aw shucks, I don’t deserve this.” What I come up with is that through living my life deeply involved with music, I have followed my bliss and had the fortunate opportunity to affect others with this beautiful invisible force that is life itself. As Mr. Music I was privileged to bring musical appreciation to thousands of school kids in kindergarten through third grade. Music is a “joy maker,” and kids of that age responded with joy and love. As a result I got to experience first hand the power of a song to bring a classroom together, as their happy voices sang Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star, or they “swung their partner” during the barn dance. All the while, I was the lucky one to play the guitar and lead the singing and dancing.
Of course, I have played in many bands over the years in bars and nightclubs, for weddings, backyard parties, life celebrations and festivals of all kinds. What I always noticed during these events was that music transforms the environment. Those vibrations, whether subtle songs or a loud driving beat, affected everyone. It could bring out tears, laughter and dancing. When people dance or sing — or even listen to music — they enter into the vibrations of love, and it feels really good.
The best thing I have done with music, and what I am most proud of, is creating the Love Choir. This group officially began in 1997, with a dozen friends who gathered to sing at the Apple Blossom Festival and has since grown to a whole bunch of folks who show up every week, simply to be fed by the music. We have rescued many who were told, and believed, they could not and should not sing. When they were thrown into the choir and given permission to make whatever sound came out of their voice, they were tuned up and loved by the music itself. Every week we vibrate our hearts together with this divine gift from the gods, and from that we have created a loving community that exists in cooperation and without a hierarchy. We celebrate birthdays, go on road trips together, grieve over the loss of too many Lovees and hold each other dearly in a loving community. It is the music that binds us. I am blessed to have been the instigator of this marvelous clan.
And now I am the promoter of the Peacetown Summer Concert Series, which brings quality bands to Ives Park every Wednesday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. I do get lots of accolades for this, but the success of Peacetown is everyone showing up with a loving vibe and letting the music move you. So I guess in all of my gigs, I have been the guy that brings the music. Music is the invisible vibrations that exist in everything we see down to the atoms themselves. So if that brings peace to the world, I proudly accept my place on the wall.
But I am certainly not unique, and nothing I have done is exceptional or was even dangerous, but there is a quote by Aung San Suu Kyt on the Living Peace Wall that says it best, “Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution. Let us join hands to try to create a peaceful world where we can sleep in security and wake in happiness.” I truly believe we can all do this together. Let’s make some beautiful music!
Jim Corbett, aka Mr. Music, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.