Sisters’ Songbook

One of the fundraising (and fun-raising) projects of the Toronto Order was our Sisters Songbook, which we launched in 1984 at a “not-so-formal Tea Party held at the 519 Community Centre,” – see The Invitation to that Tea. On that post I wrote that the songbook included lyrics to a number of songs, some featuring “slightly-reworded lyrics” – what are known as ‘parody versions’ and considered ‘fair use’ of otherwise copyright music.

The Convent Scanner, a relic of the most mundane sort, was not up to the task of connecting with Windows 7, and so below are some quick pix of the songbook’s Title Page, as well as pages #2 and 10, which illustrate the general style of music and re-writing included. Each thumbnail links to a larger version.

The first song on Page Two (Three Nuns In The Fountain) refers to the infamous 1984 Pride weekend; some of our gathered fruitful attempted to assist the Sisters cool off by ‘escorting’ us to the fountain in Cawthra Square Park. It turns out that a habit made of four yards of 100% cotton fabric takes a long time to dry, even in a commercial clothes dryer.

This led to the creation of the Official Toronto Summer Habit- shown here. The white bib was sewn into the top, rather than as a separate layer. The skirt was knee-length. Hardly shocking, and yet quite a departure from the traditional habit. The second selection on that page was in honour of Sister Sleazia; the oldest nun in the Order. See also Sister Admin’s remembrance of Sr Sleazia.

Page Ten includes My Favorite Things, one of our most popular parodies. It also includes I’ve Been Working On A Stranger – its reference to ‘the Bay’ is not about geography but to a Hudson Bay Company department store. The ending of that song was a reminder that meeting for sex in public spaces (bathrooms, parks, etc) were not without risk.

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