So I recently posted this cover of one of my favourite songs – Song Of Hope by Jim Strathdee – on my new YouTube channel Spirit And Voice. It’s one of those songs that’s kind of a musical manifesto for me because I feel like it really captures the values, politics and spirit I find in Phantom! You can listen to it here:

It’s been mentioned to me, though, that the words can be a bit hard to hear. I hope not, though sorry about that if they are! So I thought I’d post the lyrics here just in case, so folks can read along if that’s helpful. Hope so!

Note: the lyrics below are significantly rewritten from Strathdee’s original. Don’t get me wrong, I love the original and the sentiments it expresses. But unfortunately, a lot of the imagery it uses is really ableist! Gender-binaried, too. And as a Disabled, Gender-fluid musician, I just wasn’t comfortable with that. So I took the liberty of rewriting portions of the words to hopefully express the same sentiments but without the heterosexism and ableism! I hope I’ve succeeded. (There also some other, minor rewrites as well that expand the song from its original anti-war context.) Also, the tune that I use is not quite Strathdee’s original either. I sing the tune the way I learned it in an awesome liturgical band I used to sing in called the Fallen Angles!

“When there’s darkness all around us overwhelming heart and mind,
when all roads lead to confusion and hope’s impossible to find,
free our – free our minds for dreaming of the day when hate and war shall cease!
Free our – free our dreams to lead us onward to the ways of peace.

When the sounds of destruction seem to freeze our very breath,
when our songs and laughter vanish in terror at the sounds of death,
free our – free our hearts for loving this life, so precious and so dear!
Free our – free our voices for singing the songs that overcome our fear!

When, in weary isolation, we’ve lost the courage to care,
when our captive spirits languish in the bondage of despair,
free us to reach for one another in whatever ways we can!
Free us to work boldly together to restore hope to this land!

When our kindred are in slavery, when our neighbours are in need,
when the cost is untold misery for the 1-percent’s power and greed,
when the – when the ties are broken, when it seems we’ve lost our soul,
free our lives for service to make the human family whole!”

(Note: in Strathdee’s original version there’s one more verse that I don’t do. For one thing, the four verses above make the song quite long already! But also, I find it more powerful to leave it where I have above.)

Anyway, I hope folks enjoy that/find it meaningful/inspirational. And of course, merry Christmas and happy new year!!

Writer and musician exploring Phantom of the Opera as trauma-magic for humanity in crisis. Also, host of the In This Labyrinth: Justice From the Heart of The Phantom Of The Opera podcast.