Singing can 'take us places' with the spirit

May 16, 2011

WINNIPEG — We are to sing for each other, says Paul's Letter to the Colossians.

According to a Los Angeles-based Gospel singer and recording artist, the Bible commands us to sing a total of 122 times.

"Even if you don't have a great voice, you are supposed to sing," said ValLimar Jansen, a presenter at a Theology on Tap evening April 28.

Jansen is known especially for her work with Gospel, Christian and Gospel/jazz styles.

"When we sing, first we breathe; we all take a sip of the same air. Breathing and singing together is an intimate thing to do. Singing creates unity and intimacy," said Jansen.

"Music has a way of transporting us with our imaginations; music has a way of taking us places," Jansen said.

"Imagine a world without it. Our lives would be forever changed and that is the power of music. Music elicits an emotional response."

Jansen told a story of a man suffering from Alzheimer's disease who no longer knew his wife and daughter. "But when I started singing How Great Thou Art, he sang with me; he knew all the words."

The mother and daughter felt it was a miracle, she said. "He had no memory of their lives together, but he knew that music."

Jansen said music has the power to make people move. When she performs people might clap along, even dance. "I didn't do it, the Holy Spirit did it. When the Holy Spirit comes on us, we know who we are.

"We can't see the wind but we see the effects of the wind. We might not be able to say we see the Holy Spirit but in music we see the effects of the Holy Spirit."