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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guest Post: Angela Morrison and the Amabile Festival!

Today Angela Morrison is at The Hiding Spot, celebrating the release of her new novel, SING ME TO SLEEP! Angela is currently in London, Ontario at the Amabile Festival - a place and event that had a huge impact on the novel.

To celebrate SING ME TO SLEEP's debut, I decided to return to London, Ontario where the people who inspired me are. I flew up to Detroit Friday evening--and drove through a snowstorm to get here. The highway was even closed. It took me five hours, instead of three, but I made it! Phew!!

Saturday I spent the whole day at the Amabile Festival practice signing the very first copies of SING ME TO SLEEP to be sold to the public. I signed over 100 books! Books sales in London all this week will benefit the Amabile 25th Anniversary Fund in the name of the Matt Quaife Leadership Award.

It was so much fun to have the girls and guys stop buy and say, "Hello," when they got breaks. They were preparing an beautiful mass accompanied by a full orchestra and featuring a guest tenor and soprano. Gosh it was beautiful. And a lot of hard work. Even the youngest choristers in the training choirs had parts. Joyce, Matt's mom, came--and it was so great to give her a long-delayed hug.

We got to sit in on some of the practice, and when the older choirs were massed, Carol Beynon, who has been conducting the male side of Amabile--four choirs that span from 8 years old to adults--introduced me and let me speak to them. I confessed I was pretty foolish to think I could capture the miracle of the Amabile choral family in the pages of a book. I think I got slivers. But even slivers, are enough to light my work in an incredible way. I also thanked them for letting me share their tenderest moments with the world.

And then they practiced "Beth's Song," and I got to meet petite and lovely Shayna Follington from the Amabile Youth Singers who sings the solo. I can't really describe how amazing it was to hear those lyrics, that are so pivotal to the story, performed so beautifully, while I sat by Matt's mom. I managed not to fall apart emotionally.

Sunday evening was the main event. The choristers were in their gowns and concert black. Canada won the hockey gold about an hour before the concert started. Promptly at 7:30 PM all the choristers filed on stage--350 singers! One of the tallest guys in back brought in a big Canadian flag on a pole and started waving it. The crowd of over 1200 went wild. And then the guest conductor and the pianist came out wearing hockey jerseys (the guys all have Canada red and white jerseys with musical notes built into a Maple leaf) and led the entire audience in, "Oh Canada!" It was so much fun to see Canadians get patriotic!

Then the concert began, and we were all mesmerized. The Mayor of London read a citation, a representative from the province also had praise, and Amabile was even inducted into the London Musical Hall of Fame. Carol Beynon told a beautiful story about Matt and then introduced SING ME TO SLEEP and me. I said a few words--mostly thanking the choirs for letting me fill the holes in my art with the joy of theirs, and Joyce for graciously accepting this tribute to her beautiful boy, Matt.

Then I took my seat and, "Beth's Song" had its live debut. Shayna had on her long cream-colored satin AYS gown and the guys were all in black tuxes. It was beautiful.

The scene at the book signing table during intermission was WILD!! The line went out the door. I couldn't sign books fast enough. But I got to see so many old friends and new ones who helped me get the launch ready.

I got back to my seat just as the mass was starting. Oh, it was exquisite. Those pure children's voices blended with mature and maturing sounds of the older youth and adult choristers and the orchestra was mesmerizing. So peaceful. And such a huge achievement for the choristers and conductors.

Crazy book signing again after the concert. And then it was all over. A night I will always be grateful for and forever remember.

This week I've got a packed schedule of London area schools to visit. I even get to visit Matt's high school and grade school. And meet the teacher who introduced him to Amabile.

 Plus a local TV interview on Thursday. More unforgettable moments.

I'll stop by this evening and give you an update!

All best, Angela


  1. Hi, Juju . . . it was amazingly cool!

    Thanks, Sara! Beautiful job with the post.

  2. That sounds so beautiful. I would have loved to have seen the choir and hear "Beths Song". I can not wait to read sing me to sleep.

  3. I can't wait for Sing Me To Sleep! AWESOME guest post!

  4. Oh wow. That's incredible. Thanks for sharing that with us!

  5. that's was so nice to take te time to share this with us. Sing m to sleep sees like such a great book i can't wait to get a chance to read it

  6. Hi Angela! I would like to win your loved novel but I don't know if the contest is international. I've shared the book trailer on my blog anyway.
    Greetings from Spain :)

  7. I bet she got a hand cramp..after signing all those books. Thanks for taking the time to share with us, what a journey it will for you

  8. Fun post! A line out the door for signing! Wow! :D

  9. That sounds like it was soooo cool to hear!

  10. Thanks, everybody! It's been so much fun to share with you. I'm home now, facing mounds of laundry, and a honey-do list from my hubby, and it is all a surreal memory, but sharing with you keeps it real.

  11. I really want to read this book! It sounds soooooooo good!

  12. Wow, how sweet to support the community like that. I can't wait to read Sing Me to Sleep!

  13. Sounds like a wonderful event. The community support sounds amazing.

  14. Hey all! Me again. I thought you might like to know that "Beth's Song" is NOW ON iTUNES!!!!!!

    Here's the link:

  15. AWESOME POST! I've been dying to read Sing Me to Sleep.
    Oh, and that song is absolutely gorgeous!

    Much love,

  16. This sounds incredible. I wish I had been there to hear it :)

  17. Ringofire,
    It was so cool. Thanks for commenting. I wish the whole world could have been there. But you can get the song on iTunes! You will love it. A hundred of the best male choristers in the world singing, "Will you be the girl who rescues me? Will you be the girl who makes me sing?" And Shayna, the soloist who sings Beth's part is incredible. Great to hear from you.

  18. Sounds like you had an awesome and incredible day! Congrats!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net


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