Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank you, Veterans

As a singer, there are many songs I think are beautiful and I want to sing, but there are a handful of songs that have been recorded so perfectly that I just cannot imagine any other singer's version being as beautiful or capturing the lyrics and music so well. I would never want to perform "Over the Rainbow," for instance, because Judy Garland's version is perfection. Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" was, for years, another one of those songs for me -- his version is so heart-wrenching that I could not imagine it ever sung by anyone else.

This segment on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday proved me wrong. Performed by Musicorps, "Hallelujah" is a performance that makes me want to tune out the world and listen to it at full volume again and again.

Musicorps is a great program that works with wounded soldiers, using music in their recovery. They are the band that performed for Stand up for Heroes recently, and LCpl Tim Donley is the singer of this version. His performance perfectly captures the beautiful and heartbreaking lyrics, which he said he finally understood after loosing both his legs and his right arm to an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan. Remembering that moment must be why his version has such powerful emotion in it. If you have not yet heard it, here is the YouTube video of the performance from this summer, which I find very moving.

On this Veteran's Day, I am not taking advantage of any sales, but instead, I am making a small donation to Musicorps. If you'd like to read more about what they do, or make a donation, take a look at Musicorps' website.

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-Kurt Vonnegut