Pilgrimage: It’s about the journey and coming home

What journey are you on?  What do you consider home?   On June 9, 2019 I will sing the the song Pelgrimsgebed by Amanda Strydom at the Pinksterpelgrimreis service at the Hoogelandse Kerk, Leiden accompanied by Willeke Smits.  The song is written in Africans and the lyrics have touched me deeply.   Here is a translation of the chorus:

All pilgrims return home
Every wanderer comes home again
I still get lost on your highway
Looking for your boarding house

In addition to performing I teach private singing lessons and lately,  many of my students have been singing songs about home. The other day,  I went to a friends house and she had a painting on the wall with one word, home.  There seems to be a theme lately which  has me reflecting on my own journey, purpose, home …    

10 years ago, I was an American living with my husband in Hackney, London.  There are many artists and immigrants living in that area and together with an artist friend of mine and a team of people we created an art gallery show, Hackney Transients Art Project.   We interviewed people from the area who were immigrants and then asked transient artists to respond by creating something.  I wrote the song SOME PEOPLE SAY as my response.  The lyrics of the song are comprised of the answers from the interviewees.  

Little did I know that my world would change before the gallery opened as I had been cast in the UK’s 1st National Tour of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast as Mrs. Potts.  At the same time my husband transferred jobs to the Netherlands while I was on contract and we gave up our home in Hackney. The question of “What is home?” while being transient was emphasized.    While on tour I asked David Raybone, to help me with the music to the song and some members of the Beauty and the Beast orchestra to play on the recording. 

After completing the tour I joined my husband in Leiden, The Netherlands. ( Some of you may already know, but the pilgrims lived here before leaving to America on the Mayflower. )  I feel very connected to the Leiden community.  10 years after my arrival,  a great compliment has been given by being asked to sing on June 30, 2019 in the Leids Grachtenconcert on the Rapenburg. A celebration of Minerva, studentverenigning,  205 year anniversary.   I will be singing a duet with the beautiful and talented Gerlinde Vliegenhart with Sempre Crescendoa, a 150 piece orchestra, led by Guido Marchena.  All the artists performing that night have a connection to Leiden… either being born here, having gone to school here or calling Leiden home.  

Het Leids Grachtenconcert
30 June 2019
Rapenburg Canal, between Nonnenburg en de Kaiserstraat
19:00 – 22:00
Entrance is free 

  ” For a Pilgrim the journey is actually the goal.”  

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