November 27, 2008 10:01 ET

Excerpt from United Church Moderator's New Book Available To Editors

Attention: Assignment Editor, Books Editor, City Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - Nov. 27, 2008) -

United Church Publishing House is offering newspaper editors the opportunity to publish an excerpt from the recently released collection of essays written by The United Church of Canada's Moderator, David Giuliano. The book is entitled Postcards from the Valley: Encounters with Fear, Faith, and God.

In the essay Everyone Can Sing, Giuliano writes about his experience as a child of being asked not to sing at the school concert.

To receive the full 1,049 word text of Everyone Can Sing, please forward your request to

As a sample, however, here are the opening paragraphs of the essay:

"Let's say her name was Mrs. Baxter. I can't recall for sure. It was a long time ago. The day my song was taken away.

I remember her this way: dark hair, cut short with those curls at each side that were so popular in the sixties, maybe a headband and bangs in front; glasses with rhinestones. I guess she was about 25 years old at the time. And beautiful. I must have loved her. How else could she have crushed me with a touch?

It is the last rehearsal before the spring concert. We are the combined grade 1 and 2 choir, 50 or 60 tiny souls, standing on the stage at Balmoral Public School in Bramalea, Ontario. We are terrified and proud.

Mrs. Baxter is talking brightly, the way one talks to children: "Now, boys and girls, this time while you sing I'm going to tiptoe behind and tap some of you on the shoulder." It sounds like a game-duck-duck-goose. "If I tap your shoulder that means that tonight, during the concert, I want you to just pretend to sing, to just mouth the words. Except everybody should sing the national anthem."

While we sing Mrs. Baxter circles like a shark on the scent of bloody bad notes. She taps my shoulder. I don't know who else gets tapped. Maybe no one. I've always wondered. I am too ashamed to look left or right.

That night at the concert, my cheeks burn red with shame. I mouth the words. Pretend to serenade our gathered community with my song. That was the day I learned that I could not sing. For years I believed it."

From Postcards from the Valley: Encounters with Fear, Faith, and God by David Giuliano, United Church Publishing House, 2008, p. 53-56. Used with permission.
/For further information: Mary-Frances Denis
Communications Officer
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office)
1-800-268-3781 ext. 2016 (toll-free)
416-885-7478 (cell)
416-766-0057 (home)

Contact Information

  • Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The United Church of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016
    Secondary Phone: 416-885-7478
    Toll-Free: 800-268-3781