Oscar Nominated Song, The Empty Chair, Is My Pick To Win Best Song. 

The Empty Chair by Sting And J. Ralph
When I heard about the backstory surrounding  J Ralph and Sting’s musical composition, “The Empty Chair“,  I was moved to tears before I had even listened to the song. 

Based on the heroic life of American journalist, James Foley, this song captures the sadness  and the heartbreak everyone felt when this brave young man lost his life to a beheading by ISIS in 2014. One can only imagine the suffering and helplessness this young man endured before he died. One. Can. Only. Imagine. 

Last year, James Foley’s childhood friend, Brian Oakes, produced a documentary film which focused on his friend’s life and ultimate legacy.  It premiered at Sundance and aired on HBO last year. It explores the passion and determination of James Foley in exposing the crises in dangerous places like Syria and the lengths he took to achieve his goal. 

This heartfelt song appears at the end of the documentary and it will make you weep. Especially if you watch the film. Either way, Sting’s nuanced and expressive voice and his quiet, poignant delivery will give you pause as the words move with quiet momentum to the core of your heart. 

Although there is a ton of hype surrounding Best Picture Nominee, La La Land, which is unquestionably a creative and fantastic film,  I hope that “The Empty Chair” does win best song, not only because it is sublimely crafted, but also because it delivers a timely  message in today’s political climate. 

You can download The Empty Chair on ITunes or stream it on Apple Music. And SCPR.Org published a wonderful story with comments from the composers.  A must read. 

Have a listen below or download or stream from the above links. 

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

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