Thursday, November 12, 2009

Banjo Search Continues

Once again Mrs. RWP and I are in Alabama (one state closer to Utah) visiting our daughter and son-in-law and two of our grandchildren. We will be here for about a week before returning to the land of peaches, pecans, and poultry, and very heavy rain of late (6.7 inches of the wet stuff at our house on Tuesday).

Last night I discovered that darkest Alabamistan is full of light. We attended Wednesday Worship at our daughter and son-in-law's church (Gardendale's First Baptist Church) for an absolutely stunning Veterans Day observance. I have seen many a patriotic program in my sixty-mmmphh years, and I know stunning when I encounter it. I can't even begin to capture it for you.

Afterward, the orchestra and choir had to stay for a final rehearsal for a special program this weekend (my daughter plays flute and piccolo; my son-in-law plays French horn), so we stayed too. The choir was smaller than usual, though; only about 125 this time. I have attended Christmas and Easter programs at GFBC when double that number were singing.

But, oh, the music! Here are some of the pieces we heard, not necesarily in the order we heard them:

"My God Is Real" (Jim Clark, tenor, soloist)
"Oh, What A Savior!" (Jody Dial, tenor, soloist)
"For Every Mountain" (Charlotte Guffin, soprano, soloist)
"Lord, You're Holy" (Faith Harper, alto, soloist)
"I Bowed On My Knees And Cried 'Holy'" (George Weeks, tenor, soloist)
"I Then Shall Live" (double male quartet)
"I Will Lift Up My Eyes To The Hills"
"Thou, O Lord (Are A Shield For Me)"

and several more besides. Every single number inspired worship. It was not entertainment. It was not dry and stuffy either, but warm and heartfelt and genuine. The choir director at GFBC is Mrs. Leslie Everhart, and the orchestra director is Mr. Howard Everhart. Whatever they pay those people, it isn't enough.

The choir I have been a part of for the past 30 years sings those same songs, and very well, too, but not with so many voices or a live orchestra. If you aren't familiar with the titles, you might find performances of some of these songs by searching on YouTube for "Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir" (of New York City) or "Prestonwood Baptist Choir" (of Dallas, Texas) or "Christ Church Choir" (of Nashville, Tennessee).

It was a double-whammy evening, and it almost made me forget about banjos.


  1. What a lovely experience! I get goosebumps just thinking of 125 singers; I don't know what would happen to me if I heard 250 -- plus a wonderful orchestra.

    I had to go back through your posts I missed while away to make the banjo connection. I'm glad you did not find any BMD during your visit. Do you have a deep-seated dislike of banjos? IMWTK

    Even before I became a resident of darkest Arkansasistan, (doesn't have quite the ring of Alabamistan) I very much liked the combination of banjos, mandolins, fiddles (not violins, although they look remarkably similar)and bass-fiddles (plucked, not bowed.)

  2. Hi,

    I was searching for something related to the church, and I came across your blog. I sing in choir at GFBC, and I was there last night for everything. I'm so glad you were blessed by the music!

    A lot of people couldn't make it last night-- I noticed that lot of my soprano friends were missing, but I hope we pack the loft on Saturday. ;)

    God bless you!

  3. all born again themes and presentation, i am duly impressed, i love that music and when i stamp out to those tunes i inch 1 inch closer to georgia,p.s. aren't all you georgians, arkansasians, and alambminia from the same cut of the same sacred cloth or need i be preached at to get to the truth of the matter??????

  4. Oh, how I love hearing and singing the great, old hymns! Must have been amazing - a little taste of heaven.

  5. There is nothing quite so wonderful as a really deep worship service. Whenever I participate in one, I feel that I am getting a foretaste of heaven. I'm glad you had that experience in Alabamistan.

  6. Pat - I like bluegrass-type music for a few minutes. After that, no -- too repetitious. I like to think I appreciate many types of music, but apparently not.

    Anonymous from GFBC - We will be there Saturday as well.

    Putz - We are all cut out of the same sacred cloth, but you probably need to be preached to anyway!

    Rosezilla - Amazing only begins to describe it.

    Ruth - Good description! A foretaste of heaven, indeed.