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Phoenix: A ballad to mark 2020

Phoenix Rising, created by Steven Atme.
Montreal - Monday, November 30, 2020

Phoenix Rising, created by Steven Atme.

By Steven Atme

There are so many words to describe 2020. Every new year is something we look forward to: A beginning of the journey, challenges and goals. Just as things were turning out well, the unexpected occurred.

In addition to COVID-19, one unfortunate event led to another, raising so many questions with no answers. From hearing the news, it feels as though we’re reliving history, just in a new generation: Pandemic, racial/disability discrimination and the changing environment.

Affecting all of our lives, people had no idea where to go from there during this uncertain period. Lost and confused, that was me, too. I wasn’t in a good place for a few months. Example: The day the provincial government called a state-of-emergency on March 13, 2020 was the same day my friends and I were supposed to have our movie premiere for The Power of One.

Second, not seeing family and friends in public, not living my normal routine and a few arising personal situations affected me greatly.

But then, I thought of my favourite mythical creature since childhood, the Phoenix, risen from the ashes to become that beautiful, majestic flaming bird. This is something we can all relate to metaphorically speaking.

From troublesome days to brighter beginnings, there’s so much we can give to heal the wounds of others and ourselves through creativity and compassion. Seeing people smile and feel comfort is what everyone needs during these times. Kindness comes – and goes a long way. Reassure your friends and family: “We’re in this together and shall see the other side of the rainbow soon. We can do it.”

Feeling all of these emotions inspired me to compose a new piano composition titled “Phoenix: The Ballad of 2020.” This brought another idea to mind. I created a short video with photos of this year’s events and added my music to accompany them.

After completing the composition, I played the final draft. I began to cry. I cried because of my own agony and that of the world. A melodic ballad, it captured everyone’s attention on Facebook with over 2,300 viewers.

We can all be heroes. Again, we can get through this together. A year of change. A year of resolution. A year of reflection. A year of unity. From the ashes, we shall rise like the Phoenix. I welcome everyone to watch “Phoenix: The Ballad of 2020” on my Facebook page. ( and share.

Steven Atme is a pianist and composer, gives private piano lessons and is a public speaker, enlightening on his experience growing up and living with autism. His film The Power of One is now available on DVD.