Church choirs, Stacy Wilburn (and Chuck Miller?)

It’s nearly impossible to explain how tightly-knit a choir can be.

Did you ever do something and only later realize that there was a subtext that was totally unrelated? This would apply to my advocacy in favor of my buddy Chuck Miller, whose April 1 blog post on the Times Union site had gotten his post removed and his ability to post there suspended.

Somewhere during the various writing I did for la causa, I realized this wasn’t just about Chuck, or the misrepresentation of Chuck’s article by the newspaper’s editor as “fake news” rather than satire. It was that sense of powerlessness, being left in the dark, that resonated, rather like the events leading to leaving my old church.

Since I joined another FOCUS congregation, I have had opportunity to worship back at Trinity, the first church I joined in Albany. The former pastor has been gone for more than a decade.

The first couple times I returned there was really weird and uncomfortable, with church members cajoling and pleading me to come back. Enough time has passed – I’ve now attended First Presbyterian as long as I had attended Trinity – that it’s no longer an issue. Still, old members there greet me fondly.

I’m going to sing in the choir there again – today, actually – because one of my old choir compatriots, Quentin Stacy Wilburn, died on July 9. He usually went by Stacy, or Q. He was 91.

It’s nearly impossible to explain how tightly-knit a choir can be. I still recall that we were all together at a choir member’s house on Christmas Eve 1989 or 1990, before we were to sing, when we got the word that our tenor soloist, Sandy Cohen, had had another heart attack and died. (He’d had one before, IN CHURCH, during the service, but wouldn’t leave until he “finished the gig.”)

Until the choir director recruited more tenors, I sang tenor with Stacy for a few months, high in my range, and not as instinctive to me as the bass line.

So now we’re going to come together, Trinity folks and former Trinity folks and FOCUS church folks and friends and sing for Stacy, because that’s what choir people do.

What have I learned in 2016?

The cost/benefit analysis of singing in the choir mitigates in its favor

Melanie, who got married recently – congratulations, you’ve made an honest man out of your honey! – asks:

What was the most important thing you learned this past year?

That I REALLY have to be more selfish. I find this, at some level, to be an anathema to me. There’s all this service that needs to be done, people to be helped, tasks to be fulfilled.

And I get this message not from my church, though it emphasizes it, but from deep within me. It was modeled by my father and I understand its import.

But Continue reading “What have I learned in 2016?”

Reality hits hard (with apologies to fillyjonk)

One catalog company I ordered from called me to tell me my card had been declined.

hospital-bed-talk-with-doctorThe blogger fillyjonk wrote on December 15: ” I dunno. Locally and globally, sad and difficult stuff.” She was SO right.

*Her post began: “Someone took hostages in Sydney. In a Lindt chocolate shop.” Unfortunately, that ended with two of the hostages being killed, along with the gunman.

*About the same time, I’m listening to this story of a guy killing his ex-wife and five of his ex-in-laws at three different places in Montgomery County, PA, just north of Philadelphia, before turning the gun on himself. Worst of all, I awaken the next morning to the news of 140+ people murdered by the Taliban in western Pakistan, most of them children.

*Locally, and more recently, there was an Amber alert for a five-year-old boy near around here, then canceled 10 hours later when the boy’s body was discovered. The abduction story was a crock; his 19 y.o. cousin has been arrested. Meanwhile, eight children were slaughtered in Cairns, Australia.

*The Daughter complained of sharp pain on her left side Continue reading “Reality hits hard (with apologies to fillyjonk)”

Can’t keep from singing

Oddly, I did not sing much in college. I certainly never joined a vocal group. I did sing in the stairwells with my friend Lynn, but that was it.

rogersingingThese pictures, above, my “baby” sister posted on her Facebook feed. I was 7 and 52, respectively. The first one, which was for Advent, was in some internal section, but the latter was right on the front page; in case you can’t read it, I’m rehearsing for the Faure requiem.

I reposted them on a Thursday – actually late on Wednesday night – and I was told that I was participating in Throwback Thursday. Continue reading “Can’t keep from singing”