Written by Melanie June, 2008
“Harmony House” symbolizes a few things. I’ve always like the word “harmony” because it’s in my blood. As a young girl growing up in a musical family in Sydney Mines, Cape Breton with 3 older sisters and 1 younger, we entertained ourselves much of the time by singing together (in harmony!) and playing guitars. My sister, Teri, was usually the one to lead our little group by doling out parts and appointing who would sing what verses, who would sing the alto, baritone or soprano based on who had the lowest or highest vocal range. I liked alto best. Mom would sometimes add her little harmonies too, or would just sit back and listen appreciatively and proudly! We were often asked by our parents to entertain their friends and guests, or were called upon by organizers of local events and concerts to come out and play a tune or two. We sang everything from well-known Cape Breton folk songs like “Out on the Mira” to Carole King’s version of “You’ve Got a Friend”, to Dad’s version of “The Big Rock Candy Mountain” to various songs that Teri had written, her most coveted being one she wrote at the tender age of 10, “Box Full of Memories”. This was my Gram Chadwick’s favourite, about home being a special place and how we shared both good and bad times within it. I was lucky if I could get through the bridge (which she later added at the age of 18 when she was savvy enough to understand that all great songs have a bridge!) without tearing up. Then there was Mom’s favourite…”Do the Beach Boys Medley!”. Help Me Rhonda saw better days, I’m sure!
I guess piping in with my harmonies when I felt the urge has followed me into adulthood. My daughters often catch me in the act when we’re in the van, singing along to the radio, or at home when someone else in the family happens to be singing a tune.
I also like the word “harmony” because it carries a peaceful connotation. With so much conflict in the world these days, it’s nice to be able to have a sacred place to go to feel at ease, at peace, and just to simply enjoy yourself. That’s what I’m hoping we can provide for all those who find their way to Harmony House.
The word “House” follows “Harmony” because the alliteration fits, but also because we want people to feel at home. It probably has a little to do with the venue being a former church, as well. It was once a House of God and we want to commemorate this historic site in some way. We purposely salvaged a couple of the original church doors and a few structures from the steeple and incorporated them into the building plans.