Citizen Action Monitor

Toronto Choir’s farewell to David Bowie packs an emotional wallop

Goodbye, Star Man – An anthem for activists? Maybe.

No 1574 Posted by fw, January 24, 2016

“Led by Choir! Choir! Choir! (the open-to-the-public group) … 500 people gathered at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to perform Bowie’s “Space Oddity” to stunning effect. The impromptu event that “broke the [AGO’s] website” when tickets went on sale ($10 for members; $12 for non-members), resulted in a video that depicts people of all ages and singing skill levels coming together with this one song.”Rebecca Zamon

Never been what you might call a ‘devoted fan’ of David Bowie, but this Choir! Choir! Choir! performance drained my tear ducts. Could it be an anthem for citizen activists? Check out the SEE ALSO link at the end of this post for one person’s interpretation of the lyrics. Perhaps activists are ‘oddities’ of a special breed — those who may know “there’s nothing I can do” to make a difference, but never give up trying.

Below is a repost of Rebecca’s article, including an embedded video of the performance. To access the original piece, including the video, accompanying text, and 11 photos of “David Bowie’s Personas Through the Years”, click on the following linked title.

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Toronto Choir Performs Stunning Tribute To David Bowie At AGO by Rebecca Zamon, The Huffington Post Canada, January18, 2016

Since the news of David Bowie’s death broke last week, tributes to the musician have appeared all around the world.

And call us biased, but we think one of the best ones was performed right here in Toronto.

Led by Choir! Choir! Choir! (the open-to-the-public group who recently did an excellent rendition of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry”), 500 people gathered at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to perform Bowie’s “Space Oddity” to stunning effect.

The impromptu event that “broke the [AGO’s] website” when tickets went on sale ($10 for members; $12 for non-members), resulted in a video that depicts people of all ages and singing skill levels coming together with this one song.

The space was especially poignant, given that the gallery hosted an exhibit honouring the musician and artist less than two years ago, drawing massive crowds and demonstrating just how far the love for Bowie spread.

As senior editor Joshua Ostroff wrote at the time, “The thing about Bowie is he manages to be a cult and massively popular at the same time, which is quite a difficult thing to pull off, so we think we’re in a very select club, but actually we’re in an enormous club.”

According to the AGO, the group did three takes of the song — and we’re sure they would have been happy to do more.

SEE ALSO

Song Meaning (by jman) http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/13035/

This song is about alienation and distancing yourself away from people by getting so lost in your mind that you’re high up above everyone else. It’s about becoming cynical and seeing the world as a sad place but being unable to communicate with anyone about it. “Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do” – he realizes there’s nothing he can do about all of the problems he sees in the world.

“Can you hear me Major Tom? Can you hear me Major Tom? – He’s lost communication with those on the ground (i.e. in reality). “The papers want to know whose shirts you wear” – something small and insignificant normal people would worry about seems so small and unimportant to this man metaphorically up in space looking down on the world. “The stars look very different today” – the more you spend time in your mind thinking about things, the more your perception of everything will change.

Start to understand this principle of intuition, this is what a majority of the greatest songs are about. It’s not about literal interpretation. This is what poetry is — the soul.

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This entry was posted on January 24, 2016 by in creative protest and tagged .
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