Community sing-along hits high note with residents

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 15, 2013 

About 30 Los Banosans spent Sunday afternoon singing songs from eras gone-by just for the fun of it.

"When I was growing up, we'd go up to the mountains and there was a high school teacher from Fresno who would come every Sunday and we would sing," event organizer Cyndi Roelofs said. "My friends and I were talking, and we thought it's so good for people to sing and remember the old songs."

Roelofs and her friends created a song book with lyrics of 95 songs, mostly recorded between the 1930s and 1970s, and invited the public to the community sing-along at the Ted Falasco Arts Center.

Los Banos High School music director Tom Faria played instruments and led the chorus.

Faria, who admitted to knowing less than one-third of the song list, sometimes relied on the crowd to guide him on tempo and melody.

"Some of the songs I hadn't played at all. You sing, I'll follow," Faria said. "Music holds everybody together."

The audience called out songs by number, forcing Faria to commit the requests to memory as different numbers were shouted out simultaneously.

Freshly popped popcorn and candy added to the festive atmosphere.

Songs played during the event included Beatles classics like "Yesterday" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand," as well as older ditties like "Ain't She Sweet," "My Darlin' Clementine" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Children's songs like "Three Blind Mice" and "Old MacDonald had a Farm" were also part of the program.

Faria relied on his teaching background to introduce some songs. Before launching into "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" he told of the Negro spiritual's origins directing slaves along the Underground Railroad.

He said some genres of music interconnect.

"Rock'n'roll came from gospel music, which is kind of funny because if you think about it, the preachers were screaming that rock 'n' roll was ruining the country," Faria said.

After the sing-along, participants thanked Faria. Roelofs said she believes everyone had a good time and she will consider holding a second sing-along.

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