Joan Minnery


Imagine your entire life being pulled out from underneath you.  Everything you depend upon that is YOU... your essence, your being, your foundation, your internal and external makeup... all faded to black.  As the lights went off on Broadway, so did the curtain come down on me. 

I had begun 2020 in the greatest and happiest rejuvenation of my career in the last 20 years. I had bookings across Ontario as a Motivational Speaker. I had just garnered a career-enhancing position with the city of Hamilton as a Fitness & Health Lecturer.  I was receiving inquiries about guest lecturing at a few area Colleges and Universities.  My rock band SIVLE had finally received a year's worth of non-bar bookings and corporate high-profile festivals and fairs. 

My music lessons were bursting at the seams with solo students as well as an up swell in attendance for my Brantford Cabaret drama classes.  My line dancing classes literally blew up into epic proportions of dancers, more than I had seen in 8 years. My Zumba classes, although waning were also experiencing a resurgence.  Added to this was the happy realization that my solo career as a singer had crossed a threshold and I was getting booked for unique and prosperous shows across Ontario and inquiries into the U.S. 

By March 31st of 2020 ALL of that came to a screaming and scorching and soul-depleting HALT.  The curtain didn't just come down, it fell.  The lights were turned off, the seats were empty, the stage door slammed and my life faded to black.  

Faced with the greatest kick in the head and baseball bat to the gut I had ever known, I sadly had to join the world in understanding the LOCKDOWN and that it meant my life, as Joan Minnery, was also locked down.  Twenty years of hard work and then in April of 2020 I was staring out my window wondering how I was going to pay bills. What was going to become of my small business and how was I going to manage without my life as I knew it.  

I felt sorry for myself, had a pity-party, and had a long talk with my life-partner Keith Curley. I searched social media for answers, joined on-line chats, talked with friends on the phone or through text and quickly realized that everyone was frightened.  Nobody knew what to do and nobody knew how to do it.  I realized quickly from talking to colleagues in the music industry that we were doomed for shows. My teaching friends were trying Facebook Live and Google Meet for their lessons and some were testing Zoom. It was a nightmare.  Half of my students were not interested in doing online lessons, the others were willing to try but it was a comedy of errors and became very frustrating for all of us.  

Then April 18th happened changing my life and the heart of Canada, forever.  A madman murdered 22 people in Nova Scotia and the country locked down in chaos, came to a screaming halt to pay tribute to our fallen. 

My sister Anne and I were glued to the Television. Keith and I were heart-sick and kept vigil.  Anne could not fathom the grief as all became immobilized in fear, sadness, mourning. 

Go Fund Me pages were started, on-line donations, Facebook memorials followed and we joined them all.  Sharing in the grief was a way of coping with the Corona.  For a brief time, we forgot about the virus and cemented our thoughts on Nova Scotia.  

Anne, who is also a musician began writing a song with the words, "Did You Have To" – which was a song about the victims and aimed directly at the killer.  I hadn't written a song since Grade 8 but I took the song, added some finesse  and became enmeshed within it.  

I then videotaped myself singing the final version that I had penned with Anne and released it to every Facebook and Social Media group I could find.  Our song "Did You Have To" never became a National Best-seller or a number one hit but it was shared over 2000 times and has tens of thousands of views, with as many comments.  The lights were back on. 

From that moment onwards I knew what 2020 was then going to be about. I had students without shows, without enthusiasm, drive, or ambition so I challenged all of them. "We're writing original music for 2020. We're going to produce an all-original student compilation CD.  Every one of you will write your own song then you will sing and record it on the CD. We will release it via iTunes, Spotify, YouTube and all music platforms."  It was also at this moment during the Pandemic, that I decided to rebrand my name, advertisement, marketing, changing my vocal lessons to SiNG iT Vocal Music and Performances.  Why not? 

We knuckled down on ZOOM. First we navigated the system, then we wrote and we sang.  When it was safe to be back in-person we socially distanced and merrily continued writing.  They had a purpose; they had a mission.  Heck, I even garnered a few new students in the process.  For a glorious 7 months,  my 14 gals and one brave male, worked and created their own masterpieces.  

On December 12th, 2020 – the SiNG iT 2020 Student Compilation CD was released and within one week, we were being heard on Indie Radio stations in Montreal, Toronto, Wyoming, California, Scotland, the U.K., and Australia. Several of our singles even went #1 on the SoundClick Pop and Country Charts.  

My youngest student on the CD is 6 years old and I'm proud that I have two of my adult students also on the CD.  They wrote songs about the Virus, their Family Pets, their Parents, their Best Friends, their Dreams, Love, Loss, Death, Sadness, Triumphs. Every song is THEIRS.   It is my proudest achievement as a Vocal Teacher and Musical Educator.  

We proved that even though the lights may go out on one stage ... he always provides another spotlight.   

Our tagline is SiNG iT Loud ... SiNG iT Proud ... Whatever IT Takes!!!  

By Joan Minnery

"An Inspirational Journey of Transformation. 
How putting one foot in front of the other changed her from the outside in."
You can Connect with Joan Minnery by going to n her Website, SiNG iT or connecting with her on  FacebookTwitter, or Instagram

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