Reseda Vocal Ensemble 1976-77

More songs to raise your spirits

Two and a half years ago, I posted a list of songs that raise my spirits whenever I feel low. As we face a constant barrage of bad news and the prospect of even worse news on the horizon, it’s time again to turn to music for encouragement. Some of the most inspirational songs come from our darkest moments. This is the case for these three uplifting songs.

“You Will Be Found,” Cast of Dear Evan Hansen

Connor Walsh’s death by suicide in Dear Evan Hansen is a fictional tragedy, but the suffering feels far too real to anyone who has lost a family member or classmate in their youth. This is why this song connects with me so deeply. It shows how we struggle to come to terms and find hope in the most unimaginable of situations. Like the song, we fumble at first in our grief. As we gain clarity, we grow in strength and determination. When we regain faith in ourselves, we can inspire others. It’s a song that will both move you to tears and to action.

While the original performance by Ben Platt is definitive, I’m sharing this recent video by Welsh of the West End. Even in a pandemic, we can find ways to bring our voices together.

“The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen

After nearly 20 years, we are still struggling to come to terms with 9/11. It has led us to decades of war, economic downturns, and brought out the divisiveness and distrust we see today. That’s why I come back to this Bruce Springsteen song that came out in response to the attacks. It tells about the determination of a New York City firefighter who is willing to face certain death to save others. It reminds us how we were willing to sacrifice for each other, and how we came together as a country in a time of need. It’s a spirit I wish we still had. I listen to this song to remember.

“Shine” by Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña

Americans usually move on whenever there is a mass shooting, especially because they happen all the damn time. Not Parkland. What has made it stick in our consciousness and conscience is the determination of the students and families to bring about change. Recently, the parents of Joaquin Oliver used AI and 3-D video modeling to let his son tell people to get out and vote.

This song, which was first performed at a CNN Town Hall a couple of weeks after the shooting, is one I still listen to. But Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña did more than put their emotions to music. They formed Shine MSD that continues to help young people find healing through the arts. During the pandemic, the organization put on online workshops on music writing and art therapy. They showed that music doesn’t just inspire, it can bring about change.

I’m sharing the original music video that includes the faces of those who were lost and the people who still remember them.

What songs inspire you? Post them in the comments.