Sunday, April 24, 2011 | Categories: Episodes |
Some Kind of Magic - Easter is not only a time of heartfelt religious observance, it is also a time of joyful music.
In our First Hour, we bring you a splendid Canadian example of what we're talking about.
"Put Your Hand in the Hand" was written by Prince Edward Island songwriter Gene McClellan and by the end of 1971, it had sold close to four million records worldwide.
It was performed by a band called "Ocean" who - until their hit - was used to playing in high school gyms and church basements.
Decades later, this gospel anthem still gets played regularly. But the band faded away some time ago.
With our documentary - Some Kind of Magic - we look back to a tumultuous and special time.
Read more about hour one here
"Ethnic" Youth Vote - In our Second Hour, we continue our series of conversations about the impact of the so-called ethnic vote in the federal election campaign. This week, young voters get their say.
That's in Hour Two.
Read more about hour two here
History of Christianity - In keeping with the Easter theme, we'll repeat a conversation Michael had last year with Diarmaid McCulloch, author of a massive and detailed history of Christianity.
He traces the amazing journey from its roots as an eccentric Jewish sect to the world's largest religion.
That's in Hour Three.
Read more about hour three here
Elsewhere in the program: 60 years of an important public health study, some thoughts on Royal madness and an essay about patience and revelation. Plus the great Easter music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Michael's EssayIn this week's essay, Michael's thoughts on ancient English history and a modern Canadian election.
Some Kind of Magic
In the early 1960s, Greg Brown and David Tamblyn were teenagers and best friends. They wanted to be rock stars. And they were doing pretty well on the high school gym and church basement circuit in London, Ontario. They even had their own chauffeur - Greg's father.
Fast-forward to 1970. David, now in his early twenties, has just left a band. He gets a call from Greg. Good news. He and singer Janice Morgan have signed a recording contract. with Yorkville Records in Toronto. Would David like to join the new band? They get a drummer, and then a bass player - Jeff Jones. He's all of sixteen.
They call themselves "Ocean". Now all they need is a song. And they get one. A really, really big one.
By the end of 197,1 "Put Your Hand in the Hand" - by Canadian songwriter Gene McLellan - had sold over three and half million records world-wide.
All these years later, the feel-good gospel anthem still gets played....a lot. It still sets toes tapping and souls fluttering.
As for Ocean . . .well, it evaporated from the Canadian music scene decades ago.
There will be no Ocean reunion to mark the 40th birthday of Hand in the Hand. No cake with candles.
But the people who made up Ocean are doing some thinking back..... about a special and tumultuous time. And about the song that changed their lives.
Our documentary this week is called "Some Kind of Magic."
Last week on the program, we aired a documentary by Ira Basen on the battle between the Governor of Wisconsin and the unionized public servants who work for the state. Here are some of your thoughts on that story, as well as your feedback on "ethnic voting" and the art of yodelling.
Ethnic Youth Vote
There have been handshakes, the choreographed photo-ops and the zesty cuisine as candidates paraded through those ridings across Canada that have become targets during this election for the so-called ethnic vote.
In Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, there are ridings with large numbers of immigrants that could be crucial to deciding the outcome of this election.
Since the start of the campaign, we've been asking about that vote -- what it means, and the issues that matter to it.
We've learned that matters of immigration factor large. But also that there are lots of other of issues that matter. Overall, immigrant communities are happy not to be ignored, but neither do they like the pandering that goes on.
We've spoken with journalists from different ethnic communities across the country as well as well as some veteran political strategists.
Now what about the young?
In the last election, the turnout of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 was just 37 per cent, miles below a national average that hit rock bottom.
Is the youth vote any different within the immigrant communities in Canada?
Claudia Li is a community activist living in Vancouver. Her parents immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong before she was born. She was in our studio in Vancouver.
Arati Sharma runs a blog called The South Asian Vote Project which covers political issues in Ontario. Her parents came to Toronto from India in the 1970s.
And Shanthiya Baheerathan came to Canada from Sri Lanka when she was seven years old. Now she is a student at McMaster University where she organized one of the recent "vote mobs". That's one of several devices activist students have been using in this election campaign, to try to get young people out to vote. They were both with Michael in Toronto.
The Science of Studies
One of the most significant scientific studies ever conducted celebrated an important milestone last month.
The British National Survey of Health and Development turned 65 on March 3rd. And just to be clear, that's not an anniversary, it's a birthday - researchers with the health survey have been poking and prodding more than 5,000 people since the day they were born - 65 years ago.
The '46 birth cohort study, as it is often called, is the longest-running study on the planet, and its findings have shaped public health policy in Britain for generations.
All told, data from the study has filled eight books and 600 papers so far - with findings like the heaviest babies in the study were most at risk of breast cancer decades later. Or that young children who spent more than a week in hospital were more likely to suffer behavioural problems later in life. Or that women with higher IQ reached menopause later.
Supporters say the study proved something that most people accept as a fundamental truth today: that what happens in childhood affects people forever.
The '46 birth cohort study falls into an area of medical and scientific research called epidemiology ... which drives everything from what medication your doctor gives you to the anti-smoking campaigns your government pushes.
But not everyone believes epidemiology should be treated as gospel. Especially observational studies - studies that observe subjects over long periods of time, without a control group, and then look for correlations over time.
One prominent science writer says observational studies have serious limitations ... limitations researchers don't always recognize.
David Ward is a subject of the study. He was born just outside London on March 6th, 1946. He doesn't remember the first time he met researchers with the study, but he also doesn't remember a time when they weren't part of his life.
Dr. Barry Pless worked with data from the '46 birth cohort study for decades. He's a professor emeritus of pediatrics and epidemiology at McGill, and the editor emeritus of the journal Injury Prevention. Dr. Pless was in our studio in Montreal.
The History of Christianity
In the beginning there was the word. As the Gospel of John says, "the word was God, and became human flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth".
Those words about the word begin chapter one of Diarmaid MacCulloch's exhaustive new history of Christianity. It is called "Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years".
At just over a thousand pages, it is an epic worthy of Cecil B. de Mille, who was known to tackle a bible story or two. But this version is actually true, or as true as any historian could make a story that is over two millennia old.
It is a remarkable journey, how this "eccentric little Jewish sect" became the guiding faith of over two billion people, the world's largest religion.
Michael spoke with Diarmaid MacCulloch at Christmastime. His book had just won the 2010 Cundhill Prize in History at McGill University, the biggest non-fiction history prize in the world.
On the day Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection, we thought it appropriate to repeat our conversation about the man and the faith he inspired.
Diarmaid MacCulloch is professor of the history of the Church at Oxford University and the multiple award-winning author of two other books, "The Reformation" and "Thomas Cranmer."
That was the opening of Cantata 140, Wachet Auf, by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was performed by the Academy of Ancient Music and the Cambridge Choir of King's College directed by Stephen Johns.
We have one more piece of mail to read, a poem written by Allen Pritchard in Vancouver, and it was sent in response to a series of discussions we aired about student cheating in universities. It's called "Malapropos"
There is verbal assault through the media The hackneyed and the absurd, The misused term that makes me squirm Abuse of the spoken word. Amounts of people are common these days, As are less people too. Dilemma, it seems, no longer means Having a choice of two. Folks are immune from or different than They anticipate, never expect, And talk of things being rather unique, Like being quite dead, in effect. Visiting with and consulting with, Are what people frequently do. There are them, not those, who lay, never lie, Who always try and, never to. Then there are people who state false facts, Irregardless, come what may. While those who confuse the words route and rout, Lack sense of direction, I'd say. Programs, we hear, are continuing on, Are comprised of, seldom composed, People refer to their very good friends; They have bad ones too, I suppose. Many are constantly flaunting the law. Ships sunk, never sank, it appears Things are looked at, which cannot be seen, Or earmarked, though having no ears. There are those who seen, or should have went, Real quick or slow. Some felons, these days, are hung, never hanged. And the painter's called Vincent Van Go. Obstacles seldom seem to exist, Though stumbling blocks abound Projects are frequently up in the air. Some never get off the ground. For the man who nearly caught twenty trout, It must be his fondest wish. To return some day, from an angling foray, With at least a couple of fish. Cases of malapropism abound An additional score I could list, But further examples would labour the point And so with this thought, I'll desist To all accusations of being obtuse, Or giving vernacular offence, I refuse to concede, and will only plead A case of poetic licence.
This is music from the Easter Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach. This is counter tenor Daniel Taylor with oboist Bruce Haynes performing the aria of Mary Magdalene, "Saget, saget mir geschwinde."
Essay: One Mississippi
Learning to count to ten, very, very slowly, inside your head, is one of those skills they don't write about much in parenting books.
But they should.
Between one and ten, if you get good at it, you can find air to breathe, patience to share and the courage to carry on. Cube that when you have a child with autism.
Joel Yanovsky's story is called One Mississippi.