I Am Happy

$3.50

“I am Happy” is a joyful, boisterous setting of the responses generated when the homeless members of the Springfield Street Choir were asked to fill in the blank, “I am ___.” The responses are unexpected, poignant, and moving, and the lively musical setting makes this a favorite among the choir.

This piece is part of the Forgotten Voices song cycle, and can be purchased as a stand-alone piece, or with the song cycle.

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Description

Listen & Peruse

I am Happy

based on the responses of the Springfield Street Choir to the prompt “I am ___” 

I am grateful, I am learning,
I’m a child of God
I am kind and I’m outgoing
I’m a child of God
I am strong and I’m brave
I’m a survivor
I’m a good person
I’m a member of the choir
And I am happy
A child of God
Happy
I am awesome and I’m blessed
A child of God
I am confident and capable
A child of God
I am alive
I am a warrior
I am forgiven
I am beautiful
And I am happy
A child of God
Happy

This song was very much a surprise to me. After a Street Choir rehearsal in December of 2019, I asked all our singers to turn over their attendance slips and write “I am…” and then finish the sentence however they liked. I gave them no prompts or coaching, encouraged them to write whatever they wanted, didn’t explain why I was asking, nothing that would bias the responses. And when I looked through the papers, I have to confess, I was shocked. Winter is a hard time to be homeless, tempers are short, everyone’s tired and cranky. And I really expected a lot of answers along the lines of “I am forgotten” or something like that. I got one: “I am sad and depressed.” Instead, they were overwhelmingly positive. (There were also a few that were hilarious, like one that said “I am Ralph”… from a guy named Mike.) 

I do not wish for anyone to overgeneralize from this song that homelessness is a bucket of laughs. It is not. It is crushingly traumatic in almost every aspect. But the awful baseline of day to day homeless life renders good experiences borderline-euphoric. And far be it for me to censor their honest responses because they were too positive for my agenda. I asked, they answered. After all, our friends had just done one of their very favorite things — singing in the choir, in a place where they felt safe and loved. Thus, they indeed told the truth. In that moment, they were happy.” – Katie Kring