Let Me Be Strong (again)


I shared this song by Barbara Baig a couple of years ago in a blog post.

Today I found myself thinking about it a lot.

Many people in the USA are very happy today.

I honor their sense of excitement and accomplishment.

Many people in the USA are very surprised and scared and shocked today, too.

I honor these feelings as well.

I don’t know what comes next, but I am pretty sure that the effects of yesterday’s election will ripple for weeks and months and years to come — not just here in the US but all over our planet.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

I dearly hope that the horrible coincidence of learning the results of our election with the anniversary of Kristallnacht is just that…a horrible coincidence and not an uncanny foreshadowing of what may lie ahead in our not-very-united-states.

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It is very sobering to read about Kristallnacht in Wikipedia.

As soon as we start viewing — and scapegoating — fellow human beings as “other,” we are heading down a very unhappy and slippery slope…

I was very glad that jazz pianist Joe Reid and I were booked to perform our hour-long program of songs co-written by Harold Arlen this afternoon at a retirement community in Newton.

We all needed to sing together — beautiful, timeless songs which touched our hearts and connected us with each other.

Not surprisingly, one song moved us to tears — “Over the Rainbow,” which Mr. Arlen wrote with Yip Harburg in 1938 for MGM’s masterpiece, The Wizard of Oz.

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Filming for The Wizard Of Oz began on October 13 1938.

A month later Kristallnacht occurred in Germany, Austria and parts of Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic.

The emotional resonance of “Over The Rainbow” — written by two American-born, fully assimilated Jewish songwriters for a movie produced by a Jewish-owned film company — cannot have gone un-noticed at the time.

No wonder so many of us are still moved to tears by it, almost 80 years after it was written.

I love “Let Me Be Strong,” too.

Barbara Baig wrote it when she lived in Somerville, MA and was an active member of the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists (BACA).

I recorded it many years ago with Doug Hammer on piano at his wonderful Dreamworld studio in Lynn, MA, plus Gene Roma on drums and Chris Rathbun on bass.

Thank you, Barbara, for writing this song.

May all of our hearts remain open in the days and weeks to come… as we move through our joys and our fears here on planet earth.

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Let us be strong.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

Thank you to Pixabay for the photos.

And thank you to anyone who reads and listens to this blog post!

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10 thoughts on “Let Me Be Strong (again)

  1. I volunteer with refugees. They have suffered so much. And all the ones I’ve met seem like wonderful people that anyone would love to have building America. My vote will always go to the Lady with the torch who resides in New York Harbor.

  2. This is a wonderful post. I’ve been finding comfort in music, to some extent, too. A friend showed me a video yesterday, of a 3-year-old boy trying to cheer his parents up, as they reacted to election results–he sang, perfectly, “It’s a Wonderful World.” Naive? Yes. But still moving. My own musical tastes are “old folkie” so I’ve had Pete Seeger and the Weavers in my head all week . . .

    • Hurrah for the “old folkies” ! They understood how music and political action and singing truth to power could all harmonize in one song. I aspire to that level of engagement and community.

  3. Thank you for sharing this beautiful song again. So appropriate – “Let my heart be open, let love inside” – when the easy, weak thing to do, in a world with which I feel increasingly out of step, would be to close down

    • Yes. Let us not shut down. I am still not sure how the folks who choose patience and forgiveness and compassion and giving-others-the-benefit-of-the-doubt have any hope of succeeding or making progress or triumphing or successfully re-balancing energies which seem to be falling further and further out of kilter when interacting with the folks who encourage fear and hatred and violence in pursuit of power and money… But maybe this is where Gandhi/MLK Jr. inspired non-violent protest becomes essential? THANK YOU for listening to and reading yet another blog post. It is lovely to be in communication with a kindred soul on another continent who is also grappling with challenges of consumption, compassion, justice, and much more…

  4. This is such a beautiful song, and sung so wonderfully by you. I hope that you are finding comfort in its words right now, too.

    • Thank you, JDS!!! The main thing that’s giving me comfort and hope these days is music — Barbara’s song, holiday songs written or co-written by Jewish composers and lyricists, Music Together songs, etc. As I wrote in my group email, let’s all keep humming and singing!

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