Single Release: Chorus Of Courage: “Sweet Little Hummingbird”

Chorus Of Courage: “Sweet Little Hummingbird”

A song can be a powerful thing – capable of getting right to the emotions, of lending gravity to a moment, and of giving voice to those parts of life that are hardest to articulate. When the story behind the song is moving and poignant, it can take the song to a whole new level of meaning for the listener. Chorus of Courage’s debut single “Sweet Little Hummingbird” is a good example of this.

Chorus of Courage is a Bracebridge, ON-based collective that brings together survivors of violence with musical storytellers who artfully honor their stories. Artist and therapist Cindy Doire leads Chorus of Courage and connects the survivors with the storytellers. This unusual but brilliant arrangement results in songs like this first single, one made in collaboration with Toronto-based singer-songwriter Julian Taylor.

It was through a letter, and later through conversations, that Taylor was introduced to Denyse, a survivor of violent abuse during her youth. “Sweet Little Hummingbird” is his caring response to her devastating situation – and to the resilience with which she has displayed in working through it and toward healing.

Chorus Of Courage: “Sweet Little Hummingbird”

From the start, the song conveys a quiet perseverance, even in its melodic arrangement and pacing. “You’ve been through things that I cannot fathom,” Taylor begins, and assures brave Denyse that “it was never your fault, what happened.” The tune carries an even tempo and stabilizing feel throughout, and upon reaching its conclusion, I felt grateful to have been invited into the healing journey being painted here – this story was handled with admirable dignity.

“Sweet Little Hummingbird” manages to thread the needle in many ways – it is tender without being saccharine, it compassionately tackles a tough subject without oversimplifying, and it offers a vision of brighter times ahead without dismissing the hurts of the past. It is a song that stands up well as a piece of art, yet is enriched even more by the healing work that it is part of – for Denyse, for the other survivors who are part of Chorus of Courage, and for countless others who have similar stories.

Photo Credit: Jen Squires

Matt Wheeler is a Lancaster County, PA-based singer, songsmith, stage-banter conversationalist, husband, & special-needs father. And an avid vinyl record collector, a purveyor of random facts, & tour-er of Canada (southern Ontario is a favorite destination). Ever since being introduced to Great Lake Swimmers' music through Pandora in about 2009, he has had an appreciation for Canadian music.

Matt's songs & stories, including his classic literature-based project "Wonder of It All," can be found at

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