I am: Celine Dion

I am: Celine Dion
I’m writing this post after having seen the documentary about Celine Dion last night. The film goes into her recent diagnosis of Stiff Persons Syndrome which has affected her singing voice and causes her to have life threatening full body muscle spasms. 

Her openness
In the movie we see her at times in pajamas without any make up on, at home with her sons. There were striking moments of seeing her incapacitated, receiving medical attention. Throughout the film there were clips of her performances from her childhood through more recent concerts in which she seemed to be experiencing performance anxiety connected to her vocal area becoming restricted. She was open about having to take medications in order to perform, feeling as though she was “lying” to the audience, and having to find ways during concerts to cover the fact that she couldn’t sing.

President vs. candidate
Several times during the film she talked about how much she loved performing and how she felt responsible for putting on a show that would justify what fans had spent on tickets and traveling to see her. She also prioritized the performance itself over the songs she was singing. My thought at the time was that it was too bad that President Biden didn’t treat the debate more like a performance. We musicians are trained to show up and play no matter how we’re feeling.

Losing her voice but not her music
The most emotional part of the movie for me was when she went back to the recording studio after her diagnosis. It was obvious that she was struggling to sing at her former level of ability. However, in so doing, I could really hear her heart. I have a lot of compassion surrounding her grief at having lost the ability to perform her Vegas-type shows but it was clear to me that she hasn’t lost the magic in her music making.

Violinist Linda Beers is the creator of the Inspiration for Violinists, a 50 card deck. Each card has a unique image and text inspiring musicianship, mindfulness and spirituality.

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