Gisele Small

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Community
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You’re there, perhaps driving, perhaps enjoying a solitary coffee, maybe watching the weather channel. In the background, either the radio or television is playing. You’re in a zone. You notice, suddenly, a certain song playing. And you’re flooded with memories. Good, bad, or ugly, these memories are your own. And thus is the power of music.

There are few things in our lives that hold the power of evoking memories such as music does. Certain smells and tastes can provoke some nostalgia, certainly. But music is unlike any other. One song can make you laugh, cry, long for someone, have hunger pains, angry, even rejoice. These anchors in our minds have strong ropes tied to them, and reel us back with but a note or two.

While working at a retirement home not long ago, I took a moment to listen in to a person I knew who played piano, and volunteered weekly to play an hour or so for the residents. They flocked to the room much like young girls to a Beatles concert. As he played songs from their era, I watched with interest the looks in their eyes as they were transported back to times that quite obviously were good times for them. As the piano played, and they sang along, there were smiles, wistful looks, even tears. 50 people had 50 different yet similar looks on their faces. And for a long moment, there was joy, some melancholy, and memories relived and retold.

It’s a gift that cannot be underscored. Someone with the capacity to make music, and share it with others, especially when it means so much to them, is, to me, priceless. One such person is Gisele Small. Many of you know Gisele, I’m sure. We’ve all seen or heard her sing at the Odeon in the summer, during the Fiddle Fest at various venues, at the Telethon, or at the many fundraisers that pop up in this community. She’s even won the Country Open competition in North Bay, which is no mean feat. This particular competition attracts singers from around the country and the United States.

Gisele will not tell you any of this unless you’re asking. And even then, it’ll be told to you in an off-handed fashion, kind of like ‘Today, I went to the grocery store, bought milk, eggs, the Tribune….oh, and I played at the Telethon.’ Humility….it’s one of my favorite traits, and one of the reasons I so love this lady.

Gisele was a stay at home mom. Her job was to raise her children. Forsaking any career ambitions, she did what many women were expected to do. Today, this is a most difficult task, given the cost of living, and how society has finally been encouraged women to get a career outside the home.. And hats off to those who pull it off.  When the nest was finally empty, Gisele turned to what really moved her. She sang. And boy, does she sing.

But, I would have to say, the one thing that stands out the most about Gisele Small is how she gives of herself. Gisele also volunteers her time at the Au Chateau and the Pavillon, singing away for the patients and those who have found their ways there. She gives them moments of joy, memories of love, life, and laughter too. In many ways, she is a hero.

This year, the emphasis is on the younger generation, Today’s Woman. That is fantastic. However, in honour of International Women’s Day, may I submit Gisele Small for consideration, as an example of what women did to get us where we are today. There have been many sacrifices made to enable us all to indulge ourselves in our lives, and ladies like Gisele are the pioneers for this generation. I am thankful for that.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank my mom, Carmen, for making the same sacrifices for me that Gisele made for her family. She was always there for me when I needed a boost, and still is today. Thanks God for strong women!!!

  1. Marcel C. Malette says:

    I totally agree with you buddy !Say hi to everyone for me.God,I miss you and Sturgeon so much…

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