World Singing Day was celebrated at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in St. John's. The Bella Nova choir and the Black Heritage NL choir, came together to sing, accompanied by pianist Bill Brennan. (Arlette Lazarenko/CBC)
At a church in St. John's on Saturday morning, a crowd of old and young, families and individuals, gathered to sing together.
Heavy rain outside forced celebrations for World Singing Day inside, into the Divine Mercy Parish in St. Paul's Church.
"World Singing Day has been created in order to bring people around the world, everywhere, together," said Monika Behr, one of the singers.
"To do that one thing that binds us in a language that can't be confused, the language of music."
Behr, along with a dozen other women, stood in front of the crowd as part of the Bella Nova Choir. The choir was led by director Elizabeth Brennan, who frequently encouraged those gathered there to sing along.
"I got overcome with emotion, especially when we know there's so much hurt in the world as we speak," Brennan said.
Across the world, communities come together every year on the third Saturday in October for World Singing Day, and to unite and bring a little bit of connection and happiness during challenging times.
In St. John's, they sang a number of favourites, along with the chosen song from this year's World Singing Day — Lean On Me by Bill Withers.
Elizabeth Brennan directed the Bella Nova choir and often turned back to the crowd warmly, encouraging them to sing. (Arlette Lazarenko/CBC)
In line with the message of uniting people, Brennan reached out to other choirs in the community to join them in their song.
The Black Heritage N.L. choir responded to the call and found a space between the Bella Nova choir. They sang with a different feeling, performing gospel music. People could be seen clapping and dancing in their seats.
"It was great to come together in a time where there is war and all that, but this is a time where I personally, and our group, hold on to God more," said Geraldine Ankrah, the leader of the choir.
The Black Heritage N.L. Choir performed Gospel music and later joined the Bella Nova choir. From left to right: Kudakwashe Muvevi, Chelsea Chukwu, Beatrix Abdul Azeez, Racquel Campbell-Thomas, Geraldine Ankrah and Nita Badaiki. (Submitted by Geraldine Ankrah)
"We're really grateful to them for giving us the opportunity to sing with them. And today, we learned some new songs that everyone in Newfoundland seems to know, but we did not know. So we're going to go back and try to learn, especially the old anthem of Newfoundland."
Brennan said she agrees and was delighted by the reaction from the crowd, many of whom are members of the church.
"For this performance, I mean, you needed to hear them. You need to hear their spirit. You need to hear their expertise, love, and emotional singing," she said. "I'm really, really delighted that we collaborated."
Marion Davis was one of the attendees and said she enjoyed the show and was happy to sing along, especially when music has a way to 'touch the soul.' (Arlette Lazarenko/CBC)
Marion Davis was sitting on the church's benches, singing along. She comes from a musical background and said there isn't a day where music isn't in her life.
"I appreciate it being here and just listening. And sometimes we got to sing too, which I love, I felt so glad that I came." Davis said.
"No matter what's going on in the world, we have to remember that there is love and peace is possible."