Kit Blog

Daniel’s well of love for music and for children affected by leprosy like Bishal from Nepal.

17 Nov 2021 | Author: The Leprosy Mission Australia

When Daniel Donahaye first saw a TV announcement from The Leprosy Mission Australia, his heart was struck with a deep feeling of sympathy for those suffering and ostracised. It reminded him of an encounter a woman he knew had in India ’many moons ago’. A little boy with leprosy sat in the street begging. Crying tears of compassion, she had bent down to drop coins into his bowl. Reaching up with disfigured fingers, he had gently wiped her tears away… For Daniel, from there ‘the music just flowed’…

Born in France, Daniel grew up during World War II in the UK, where, as a very small child his grandmother taught him to sing in French. Later, at primary school, the headmaster would take students to the Robert Mayer children’s concerts in London. The concerts were conducted by the foremost conductors of the day, such as Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Malcom Sargent. At the time, Daniel and his friends seemed to be more thrilled by the 80mph (128kph) ride to the concert in his headmaster’s Studebaker American car, than by the music. While at school, Daniel briefly studied piano, and later, the violin. Moving onto grammar school, music was part of the curriculum, so Daniel sang in the school choir and also enjoyed singing hymns in morning assembly.

As a young lad, Daniel went on to study economics at London University and also took guitar classes at the Spanish Guitar Centre. He joined a skiffle group playing the guitar at student dances, singing mainly American work songs. After university, Daniel took his guitar to Israel where he married, lived on a ‘kibbutz’ (communal farm) and then moved to Tel Aviv. He continued his singing and formed a small group, playing at different venues. Returning to the UK in 1964, Daniel and his wife would sing Christmas carols in parts with friends and their growing family. He took up the violin again in his early fifties and played duets with one of his daughters. Then in 1999, Daniel and his family emigrated to Australia.

Daniel says he has moved a long way from the music of the fifties, though he still recalls with pleasure listening with his twin brother to the UK Hit Parade on their small radio set as teenagers. And of course, classical music that he loved as a child still holds him in thrall.

Sadly, Daniel developed arthritis and had to give up both the violin and guitar, but singing continued. He joined an acapella choir, and then Kim Kirkman’s Inspiration Choir in Maleny, Queensland. He took one of the title roles as ‘Aeneas’ in his production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and has continued to sing in the bass division of the choir ever since.

Daniel has always enjoyed poetry, writing off and on since the age of 17. He decided to put some of his poetry to music, taking composition lessons with Kim. Then one evening, he was watching television and saw an appeal by The Leprosy Mission Australia in one of the breaks. It struck a deep feeling of sympathy in Daniel’s heart for those suffering so much, often ostracised by their family and friends. It reminded him of the story that Daniel relates on the inner page of his new CD, The Well of Love. Since then the music just flowed.

Over the years, Daniel has composed over 50 songs and his new album has put music to some of his own poetry. Songs on passages from the bible (both Old and New Testament), songs on psalms, some poetry of the English poets and has also written the words to beautiful folk music. Many of the songs are particularly poignant for these times, such as Peace be in thy walls, O Jerusalem, Psalm 121 – I will lift up mine eyes to the hills and Courage. And Lullaby, for those who find it difficult to ‘nod off’ or for the children. Psalm 23 – Mizmor Ledavid is the Hebrew version of The Lord Is My Shepherd, which Daniel says is, “thanksgiving for the caring love of God. For the lyrics of the songs from The Bible, Daniel has generally followed the King James’s authorised version and has drawn heavily on the Book of Psalms, because of their timeless beauty and their relevance to us in modern life.

Admittedly, Daniel claims he owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Kim, who has transcribed his handwritten scores into computer format with the chord accompaniment and mp3 sound files, which are available free online. A selection appears in The Well Of Love CD, which Daniel says is delighted to be able to dedicate to the wonderful work of The Leprosy Mission to cure those affected by leprosy.

 

Daniel writes, “It is my earnest hope that listening to our singing will not only give musical pleasure but will also bring to you some of the water drawn forth from Christ’s well – The Well of Love.”

 

‘The Well of Love’ CD is NOW AVAILABLE! To bless yourself and others with an uplifting gift this Christmas, go to: leprosymission.org.au/shop OR order via phone: 1800 LEPROSY

(1800 537 767) (The CD will also feature in the Summer Gift Catalogue next month.)

 

 

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