Stories and thoughts from day to day life in the Bullard Family

Singing to an Infant: Spirituals June 16, 2011

Filed under: Songs — parentsong @ 9:24 am
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When our first child was born, my husband and I had just quit the choir.We were still in choral music mode and much of what we sang to her was from our choir repertoire.

Interestingly, this tended to be spirituals. Nothing felt better while walking a little baby around, dead tired and completely out of our depths, than a little Swing Low, Sweet Chariot or Going Down That Lonesome Road.

There is something about the Spiritual that embraces the feeling of having all your resources taken from you, yet wanting nothing more than to press on. Ah, parenting. The music is simply beautiful. Lilting melodies, repetitive strains, and if you have someone to sing with you, the potential for some fantastic harmonies.

Spirituals were often used as codes by slaves who were trying to reach freedom. This is not to imply that I feel parenting is anything one needs to escape or that it is like being a slave (well, maybe it is a little like being a voluntary slave). I’m simply focusing on the music here. The inspiration and motivation embedded in the music lives on through these songs, and I can feel it whenever I sing it. Hopefully, our baby can feel it, too.