Our From the Archives series is meant to highlight wonderful songs from our rich collection. It is curated by PIO! songs editor Val Smalkin. Today’s song is the hopeful, lovely, Circle of Peace by Carol Johnson.
To help get the new millennium off to a good start, the City of Grand Rapids hired me in 1999 to present a series of Peace concerts/sing-alongs in a number of City Parks. Each concert was followed by inviting the kids to brainstorm a ‘neighborhood’ peace song together. They were not at any loss for ideas, from ‘no guns’ and ‘no poaching’ to walking pets and brushing teeth! I took their lyric and tune ideas home to finesse, then returned to the park(s) the following week(s), where we practiced, and made a simple tape recording. I reproduced these for any child who wanted one. My CIRCLE OF PEACE recording is the result of this project. Every concept on it was some child’s suggestion.
This song concludes many concerts, especially my MUSIC WITH A MESSAGE assembly programs in elementary schools. It is one of very few songs that I sing with tracks when I can, allowing me to lead the movements. The counter melody can be added when people are familiar.
I believe that a song sung — especially its intention — is forever, and I am grateful that Circle of Peace carries on, in many places all around the world.
WE CREATE A CIRCLE OF PEACE
With the ‘peace’ sign, (“V”) right hand, draw a big circle in the air front of you, several times around
A CIRCLE OF PEACE ALL AROUND THIS LAND
With the ‘peace’ sign still intact, sweep the right arm back and forth, inclusively, as a blessing
HEART TO HEART
Place both hands on the heart
HOME TO HOME
High above the head, bring tips of fingers together, as the roof of a house
IN A CIRCLE OF PEACE WE STAND
Place the ‘peace’ sign, fingers pointing down, directly on the palm of the left hand, like legs, ‘standing’.