Thursday, June 29, 2017

Butterfly: my most memorable musical experience

A friend's blog post yesterday about the significance of music got me thinking about my most memorable musical experience -- so I thought I'd share that here.

Five years ago there was a young woman named Rachel on my worship team at church. She was a Queen's student, and she told us about a campus fashion show she was participating in to raise money for charity. I decided to buy two tickets, and Allison and I went to the show. This was March of 2012.

What a spectacle it was! Music, dancing, student models strutting the runway in student-designed fashions -- it was a really fun, upbeat show. (And tiny five-foot-nothing Rachel was almost unrecognizable in a designer dress with her hair standing up in a huge column on her head.) We had a great time.

At one point, a group of dancers performed a dance to a piece of recorded music I'd never heard before: an a capella choral number about a butterfly. The singers' voices tumbled over one another like a waterfall. It was indescribably beautiful.

When I got home, I did a Google search based on the few words that I remembered, and up popped the song in question, via a YouTube video. The song was "Butterfly," written by composer Mia Makaroff and performed by a group named Rajaton.

 Sweet is the sound of my newborn wings
I stretch them open and let them dry
I haven't seen this world before
But I'm excused: I'm a butterfly....

I listened to the song again. And again. And again. The combination of the playful-yet-mournful lyrics and the stunning vocals was mesmerizing.

I had never heard of the group, Rajaton, so I Googled them as well. I discovered that they were (and still are) a three-man, three-woman a capella group from Finland. The word Rajaton (pronounced RYE-uh-tawn) means "boundless."

Out of interest, I clicked their tour dates and started scrolling down. Instantly I saw some Canada dates for June of that year. Toronto ... Ottawa ... Kingston.

Unbelievably, this amazing Finnish group would be performing in a church in Kingston within three months. I knew instantly that it didn't matter what else was happening on that date: I would be there. And I was. Allison and a friend and I attended; the church was packed, and the highlight, of course, was hearing the group sing "Butterfly" with an assembled choir of local singers.

You know, it would have been enough for one lifetime just to have heard that piece of music. But to have the group come to our modest-sized city was more than I could have dreamed of. And all because I decided to go to a fashion show to support my friend and her cause.

Sometimes life just hands you more abundance than you could have imagined. This was one of those rare times.

**Epilogue: While writing this post, I went to Rajaton's Facebook page to see what they are doing this year, the 20th anniversary of their formation. It turns out they have a couple of Canadian dates this fall, including one in Ottawa on October 6. Two hours away. Tickets go on sale on June 30, 2017 -- tomorrow.

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?


  1. What's a two hour drive? Their music is haunting and whimsical and lovely. Go be with Rajaton!

    1. Exactly what I was thinking, Tim!


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