by Father Mark Goldasich
Ever heard of OVCC?
I hadn’t until a few weeks ago. And now, I think I’m addicted.
There’s no need to panic, though, or stage an intervention. OVCC is the shorthand for the One Voice Children’s Choir, composed of 140 kids from ages 4-17. The choir was founded by director Masa Fukuda for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and today the group has over 3 million subscribers on YouTube.
The choir’s goal is to “spread hope, joy and love through original arrangements of popular music” and, through that music, “to inspire, uplift, enrich; serve our global community; and build youth.”
What first grabbed my attention to OVCC was a song it was covering. This song has always struck a chord — sorry! — in my heart. It’s called “Memories,” originally recorded by Maroon 5.
The OVCC version is even more endearing to me . . . and apparently to 6.3 million others who have viewed it on YouTube. The video shows the kids singing the song via Zoom. As you watch it, you get a sense of the wonderful diversity present in the choir and how all of those different kids can blend their voices in a harmonious and uplifting way. (Are you listening, world?)
But the song hits me for another reason that’s particularly important as we enter the month of November. Traditionally, the church devotes this month to remembering those who have gone before us in faith and starts us off with the celebrations of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. In other words, it’s a time for memories.
And those memories can do powerful things as the OVCC kids sing: “Toast to the ones here today/Toast to the ones that we lost on the way/’Cause the drinks bring back all the memories/And the memories bring back, memories bring back you.”
The video ends with these words: “Hang on. Hang on to the memories. We love you.”
November is a time for hanging on to the memories out of love. Years ago, Michael Podrebarac of the archdiocesan liturgy office suggested a meaningful practice for each day of this month: Take out all the prayer cards you’ve collected at wakes and funerals and call to mind the person whose name is there. I guarantee it will bring back memories, which will, in a sense, “bring back” the person into your heart.
A similar practice is to shuffle through and savor photos of loved ones who have died. Doing this will have a profound effect, as “Memories” also says: “My heart feel like an ember and it’s lighting up the dark/I’ll carry these torches for ya that you know I’ll never drop.”
Along those lines, OVCC covers another song, this one by Linkin Park, that will tug at your heart. Called “One More Light,” the choir recorded it in memory of one of its former members who committed suicide at age 23. The video shows this girl’s mother visiting her daughter’s grave, looking through old pictures and clutching an item of her daughter’s clothing.
The choir members sing: “If they say, ‘Who cares if one more light goes out?’” And they answer at song’s end, each holding a candle, “Well, I do.”
This November let’s take time each day to remember — not only those dearest to us who have died, but also those lost to COVID-19, those felled by violence, and victims of injustice and suicide.
Who cares if one more light goes out? Well, I do.
How about you?