Monday, April 21, 2014

A two-part post

Pat (an Arkansas stamper) usually ends her posts with the sentence, “Tomorrow is also a day.”

Pat is so right. In fact, every day is a day somewhere. Remember, you read it here first.

On April 19th, the day before Easter, my sister-in-law Linda H. who lives in Plano, Texas, e-mailed me a question: “What were you doing 54 years ago today?” I had to think for a moment. Since it’s all about me, me, me, my first thought was that Linda had made a little mistake and was off by a month, because our 51st wedding anniversary -- Mrs. RWP’s and mine, I mean, not mine and Linda H.’s -- will occur on May 19th. I was about to dash off a “Thanks for remembering our anniversary, but you’re wrong” reply when I thought maybe a little research into the deep, dark recesses of our Family Tree files might be in order. Lo (and behold) , I found that April 19th, 1960, was the day Linda H. and my stepbrother, who is also named Bob, were married. They had asked me to provide piano music that day. So my reply went something like this instead: “Where was I? Why, I was at Field City Baptist Church in Farmers Branch helping you two get hitched!”

Lesson learned. It isn’t always about me, me, me. Sometimes it’s about somebody else.

In her email, Linda had included a youtube clip that is about me, me, me and you, you, you, but mostly about Him, Him, Him, the one whose death and resurrection much of the world just observed this past Sunday.

The rest of this post is about that video clip. In October 2011, I wrote about it in a post called “An overtly (or not so much) Christian post.”

I love good a cappella singing. For those of you who are neither musical nor Italian, a cappella is an Italian phrase meaning “in the manner of the chapel.” And if you are not aware of how music was performed in Italian chapels, what a cappella means to the modern musician is “unaccompanied.”

No organ. No piano. No violins. No trumpets. No flutes. No saxophones. No big brass band. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Unaccompanied.

Also, for the younger generation, absolutely no guitars. No drums. No electronic keyboards. No, not one.

What is left?

Human voices. What a concept.

Snowbrush is now saying, “just like in the Church of Christ back in Mississippi, which I left for a great many reasons, none of which had anything to do with a cappella singing.”

The thing about a cappella singing is that, like the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, when it is good it is very, very good and when it is bad it is horrid.

This a cappella music, a Mennonite choir called Altar of Praise Chorale singing in 2010 the song “Who Am I?” written in 1965 by Rusty Goodman (3:43) , in my humble opinion, is very, very good.

They may not have super-professional, highly-trained voices (in the operatic sense) , but they know how to do a capella. They blend. Their consonants are impeccable. They stay on pitch. The lyrics are thought-provoking. Give it a listen. If you find that you don’t like the music or the lyrics, just enjoy the scenery.

Monday after Easter is also a day.

12 comments:

Pat - Arkansas said...

I agree with you, dear RWP. Very, VERY good! Thanks for the link to this wonderful message in song.

Jinksy said...

The last chord they sang pleased my very soul! You can't beat human voices (and ears!) for producing the best harmonies ever.
Thanks for the treat, RWP :-)

rhymeswithplague said...

How very sweet that the first two comments on this post came from two of my favorite blogging people!

Pat (an Arkansas stamper), I'm so glad you liked it! There's just something about Mennonites singing a cappella, isn't there?

Jinksy (Penny), I'm so glad to see you have returned from your four-month-long foray into the dark night of the treacle-pudding-hat-making soul.

Snowbrush said...

“Tomorrow is also a day.”

Or will be anyway.

"It isn’t always about me, me, me."

Your readers have no life other than keeping up with yours so, for us, it is all about you.

"Snowbrush is now saying, 'just like in the Church of Christ back in Mississippi, which I left for a great many reasons, none of which have to do with a cappella singing.'”

I think you made this up, but having grown up with that kind of singing, for me to attend a church that had instruments was an ugly experience (except in a church like the Episcopal that had a radically different idea of what church music should be) because the instruments added nothing but distraction as I saw it. I found them to cheapen the music. I would even say that they disgusted me.

"like the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, when it is good it is very, very good and when it is bad it is horrid."

I suppose it was bad at times in the C of C, but I'm blessed to some extent, I suppose because I don't appear to hear every element that's in music, at least to the extent that many do. For example, I would sometimes lead the singing (why they wanted me to, I can't imagine except to speculate that others recognized their inadequacy better than I, and therefore wouldn't do it), but I never for the life of me could understand why some people who did this used pitch pipes, and I'm pretty sure that every song that I sang was in the same key as every other song. Of course, I sang so low that nobody would heard more than the first word or two anyway.

Elizabeth said...

Bob answers the question as to what he was doing on April 19, 1960. I was a mere foetus of seven months gesticulation at the time, no doubt giving my mother heartburn and uncomfortable nights, my father cursing my presence because a pregnancy means that a farmer’s wife cannot be useful in the lambing sheds, airborne viruses surrounding pregnant ewes a serious risk to human mums and newborns.

But fast forward the clock to April 19, 1987, and take me to a beautiful little village in Lincolnshire, where I am celebrating Easter day. The day begins with a sunrise breakfast in the local park and communion shared at the lakeside.

There, before heading back to the parish church, the minister in appointment, only six weeks away from his ordination, proposed to me. In anticipation of a positive answer, he had already arranged an appointment with the Bishop as his approval had to be set upon the marital choice of an incumbent.

In morning worship, I went forward and placed my flowers on the cross, thankful for God’s and my darling husband-to-be’s love for me. We were together for just three weeks short of our silver wedding before he got his calling to higher orders. Having struggled through life with severe disability and epilepsy, he knew the joy that comes from having to rely totally on the resources of heaven.

As I took my flowers forward this Sunday to place them on the cross and I spoke to the congregation of the eternal life claimed for us through Jesus’ victory on that cross, I thought of my two girls and my wonderful, brave gentle man all healed and rejoicing in His presence for all eternity and cannot but ever stand in wonderment, thankfulness and praise that my God in all his glory and kingship should come to earth for such a task.

Who am I indeed?

Who am I?

Thank you, Bob... X

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.
I am not religious or musical. However, from a me, me, me perspective this was a fascinating education. And you are right, the scenery was superb - as were the voices.

rhymeswithplague said...

Snowbrush, in my book there's no music quite so ugly as the old shaped-note "fa-sol-la" singing of the old southern Sacred Harp tradition. You may be the only one here who knows what I'm referring to. Maybe I should route my response Attention: lotta joy.

Elizabeth, thank you for sharing what April 19th and Easters past and present mean to you. I knew of your losses but was not aware that your husband had been a clergyman. What a beautiful and moving piece of writing you have created.

Elephant's Child, no more superb than your own flower garden.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

"When I think of how he left his home in Glory" - Would that be Glory, Texas - nine miles south of Paris? They say it's a ghost town now. Perhaps a Holy Ghost Town.

rhymeswithplague said...

Yorkshire Pudding, cute. No, not Glory, Texas. Someplace far better.

Hilltophomesteader said...

Wow. Elizabeth's post was positively stunning. The struggles of everyday life sometimes threaten to overcome us, but what a beautiful and encouraging post that was! Thank you Mr. RWP for inspiring her to share from the heart so that my heart might be encouraged!
I do so appreciate you all, my invisible friends.

rhymeswithplague said...

Hilltophomesteader, sometimes our job is just to be a conduit, or -- to use a more Biblical word -- a vessel.

rhymeswithplague said...


This comment arrived from Elizabeth but it was inadvertently deleted before publishing:

Thank you, Hilltop, for your lovely comment. Blogging is such a treasured way of encouraging and building one another up.

I loved seeing your beautiful rabbits and crows; what a gifted lady you are.