Page:Essentials in Conducting.djvu/99

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ring to the effect of the first "Song and Light Festival" in New York City, a well-known artist remarked:[1]

The movement illustrates plainly to me the coming forth of a new consciousness. Outside the park, strikes, sedition, anarchy, hatred, malice, envy; within, beauty, peace, the sense of brotherhood and harmony.… Community singing is teaching men to find themselves, and to do it in unity and brotherly love.

This same sort of an effect has been noted by us and by innumerable others in many other places, and various testimonies to the beneficial social effect of community singing, neighborhood bands, school orchestras, children's concerts, and similar types of musical activity have come from all parts of the country since the inception of the movement.

The impulse to bring music into the lives of all the people is not a fad, but is the result of the working out of a deep-seated and tremendously significant innate tendency—the instinct for self-expression; the same instinct which in another form is making us all feel that democracy is the only sure road to ultimate satisfaction and happiness. It behooves the musician, therefore, to study the underlying bases of the community music movement, and to use this new tool that has been thus providentially thrown into his hands for the advancement of art appreciation, rather than to stand aloof and scoff at certain imperfections and crudities which inevitably are only too evident in the present phase of the movement.

QUALITIES OF THE COMMUNITY SONG LEADERIf the social benefit referred to above,—viz., the growth of group feeling and of neighborly interest in one's fellows, is to result from our community singing, we must first of all have leaders who are able to make people feel cheerful and at ease. The community song
  1. Kitty Cheatham, Musical America, October 7, 1916.