A year ago New Year’s Day, Suzanne Sherman Propp embarked on an ambitious project.
The Greens Farms Elementary School music teacher started “Sing Daily!” Each morning she posted a song on her website — and emailed it to subscribers.
Every genre was represented. Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Pete Townshend, the Indigo Girls, Billy Joel, Joan Baez — and a few of Suzanne’s original tunes too.
It was a labor of love for the 1981 Staples graduate and former Orphenian who went on to earn an MBA at Columbia University, then worked in the music industry for more than a decade before beginning her second career in education.
But “Sing Daily!” is a labor. Suzanne spends 3 to 4 hours every Sunday picking songs for the coming week. She strives for a blend of styles. She wants to set just the right mood. And of course she celebrates holidays, birthdays, anniversaries — you know, the soundtrack of our lives.
(Because she also posts lyrics to each song, she’s meticulous about finding them online without typos. “I was an English major,” she explains.)
Suzanne ended the year with over 1,600 subscribers (and many more who are entertained on social media without subscribing.)
Which has motivated her to keep “Sing Daily!” going for Year Two.
When she began a year ago, Suzanne’s goal was to have “enough positivity and feedback to make a few people happy.”
Some days, no one comments.
But most days at least one person reacts. Just one “thank you” or email saying “my dad sang that song all the time!” makes her work “totally worth it,” Suzanne says.
She also hears nearly every morning from her mother. The indefatigable 79-year-old Ruth Sherman will text “I love Doris Day!” or say something pithy about a lyric.
A BBC producer in London sends frequent comments too. With the time difference, they’re the first things Suzanne wakes up to.
Once, a friend of hers and a friend of her husband Peter Propp randomly met in South Carolina. A song came up in conversation. Both realized they heard it through “Sing Daily!”
That feedback keeps Suzanne going. So do notes from former Staples teachers Dave Harrison and Gerry Kuroghlian, and principal Kaye May — all of whom were instrumental in helping her switch careers.
“Sing Daily!” has succeeded without any kind of business plan. Suzanne does not sign anyone up. They find her organically — often through word (or song) of mouth.
Speaking of no business plan: Suzanne not only does not make money from her project, she actually loses it. She pays web hosting fees and subscriber software herself.
As 2018 ended, Suzanne was not sure whether to continue the project. The 3 to 4 hours she spends every Sunday are precious time away from her family.
But her husband encouraged her to keep going. “You love it!” he pointed out.
So “Sing Daily!” will entertain subscribers — and other music-lovers — for another year.
It will surprise them too.
As it did me.
On my birthday, Suzanne chose a song with a soccer theme. It was a wonderful, amazing gift.
The same one she delivers to all of us every morning, 365 more days this year.
(“Waka Waka” by Shakira was the official song of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This was Suzanne Sherman Propp’s Song of the Day on my birthday.)