Music is the voice of the soul is the perfect phrase to honour Innisfil resident and musician, Patty McLaughlin, whose musical contributions and efforts -- which include special events such as organizing song circles and performances at the library, park, and farmers' market – have touched many lives over nearly two decades. The staff at the Lakeshore branch of the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library engraved the saying on a wood keepsake and presented it to her this past Friday when friends, town councillors, and community members gathered to celebrate her.
“She needs to be recognized for what she’s doing in this community,” friend and event organizer, Patti Bentley said. Bentley organized the celebration to coincide with McLaughlin’s 64th birthday, which was less than one week prior to the event. Bentley told InnisfilToday that she met McLaughlin in 2004 when she attended a concert at McLaughlin’s house, which welcomed about 120 guests.
Certificates were presented to honour McLaughlin’s contributions and dedication to the town by Deputy Mayor Kenneth Fowler and Coun. Jennifer Richardson, who presented a certificate on behalf of Barrie-Innisfil MP John Brassard.
McLaughlin has been involved in bringing people together through song circles since she founded the first one in Aurora 18 years ago, which celebrated its anniversary this past June.
As dozens of people sat in the song circle and played their instruments, McLaughlin explained, “I love song circles. Open Mics have a place… but (in) a song circle, everyone gets to take part.”
“It’s like a team sport and we’re all playing on the same team, you know what I mean? And there’s no competition… It’s wonderful,” she said.
“You meet a lot of people, and they said they’re making friends,” Bentley said of the song circle participants. “It’s a place where they can feel comfortable.”
“It doesn’t matter the age, how they play — she welcomes everybody,” Bentley said.
A singer, songwriter, and musician whose favourite instrument is the guitar, McLaughlin used to sing songs with her brother. “My mom always sang and my dad was a good listener,” she said with a laugh. McLaughlin writes songs whenever she can.
“Even if my hands give out as I get older from playing guitar, as long as I can still speak, I’ll be singing,” McLaughlin said with a smile.
Whether community members want to sing, play an instrument, or simply listen to live music among friends, McLaughlin explained, “It was always my vision to start something that was all-inclusive.”
Music enthusiasts are invited to join the Friday Morning Song Circle, which meets every week from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Lakeshore branch of the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library located at 967 Innisfil Beach Road.