Solo or with her Joy Machine Parody Song group, Barbara takes issues—mouse plagues, moving house, crashing computers—and gives them a silly slant by inserting new words to familiar tunes. Example: “Home On the Range” becomes “Phones Out of Range”. There are plenty of audience singalongs.
At Women’s, Government, Medical, and other conferences and retreats, Barbara Brewster offers opportunities for anyone to say YES! to participating as a ‘Platelet’ in the evening entertainment—no practice necessary.
Why Groups Love the Silly Singing
Silly Songs cover anything from spoofing office workers, (Am I not Busy Enough? – tune: Am I not Pretty Enough?), to moving house, to constipation (for special groups!). Flood-related songs are currently extremely relevant for many folks (Row, Row, Row Your Car --), (I Keep A Close Watch on My Clothes Line – tune: I Watch the Line), (My Painting Sits in the Old Gum Tree) and more.
Rural communities especially appreciate songs such as (Phones Out of Range – tune: Home on the Range), the mouse plague song (When the Mice Come Marching In).
There are universally appreciated songs such as You’re Too Good To Be True about loving your mobile phone, and one particular song (I Enjoy Being Flamboyant – Tune: (I Enjoy Being A Girl) which when I perform it, contains a big surprise, has a meaningful message, AND people are laughing.
Along with sheer fun and enjoyment, there are some rather profound outcomes to sharing silly songs. INCLUSION and PERMISSION.
The songs enjoyably parody issues and circumstances that everyone in the group wrestles or identifies with.
Most of the songs have familiar tunes and memorable verses which lend themselves to people readily singing along.
I love eliciting volunteers to join me as backers. Instead of The Platters, I call them “The Platelets.” The audience loves seeing one or some of their own willing to show up in front of them performing with virtually no practice. The silliness quotient goes right off the scale. At the DERM retreat, the Bunya QWRN Retreat and the Vibrance Laughter Conference, for example, it was especially delightful to have some of the event principles being “Platelets.” Inclusion, and this type of spontaneity, is a warm, old-fashioned form of joining people through spontaneous expression--which today is sadly lost, but which many yearn to experience.
PERMISSION --TO SING AS YOU ARE When I or the Join Machine group show up in all our off-key, out-of-sync glory, we are conveying a powerful message: It’s OK to be imperfect! Not only is it OK, it’s enjoyable to sing, anywhere—on or off-key! There is such a modern focus on celebrity and on perfection, on believing that only people who have ‘a voice’, who practice for hours a day, or who are on TV, are allowed to sing. This results in countless people, usually early in life, giving up on expressing the singing that’s throbbing within them. I observe that as silly singers, demonstrating having fun being publicly imperfect, I and Joy Machine give others permission and encouragement to connect with and express their own exuberance.