Thursday, February 27, 2014


I blogged early on Sunday, and then ran again on Monday.  (Hard for me to believe I have not blogged since then as I had had quite a bit I could write about.)  In any case, Monday was an easy 5.1 around the neighborhood to bring me to 312 miles putting me at Leatherwood Rd & Deerfield Rd just west of Lore City, Ohio.  Small as Lore City may be there is a Catholic Church of St Peter (my confirmation name) and St. Paul (a great writer and thinker).  And it is a church-based experience I'd like to talk about in today's entry.

The church-based experience represents a constellation of things in my life.  And since the blog is called Connecting the Dots and Nourishing the Soul and constellations are all about connecting dots, I think this is very fitting.

I don't have a particular constellation in mind, although perhaps one that is complex and has a lot of stars that may not fit together as obviously as the three in Orion's belt.

In any case, on Sunday afternoon, my son sang in the Maryland State Boychoir's annual concert to honor African American History Month. And the boychoir sang ad a church in west Baltimore.  Driving my son there, we drove across North Ave west past Coppin State University (I don't believe I'd ever been that far west on North Avenue), then south on Rosdeale, and east on Baker to the Whitestone Baptist Church.  Not huge, but by no means small.  One trip to drop him off.  Back home to pick up Sherry.  Second trip back there.

In any case, the concert was wonderful and listening brought a lot of things together that touch on multiple pieces of my life in addition to listening to a great concert.

First, they had a series of discussions by the ministers at the church, announcements by the boychoir director, songs, and poems.  One of the poems was by Langston Hughes.  That reminded me of the fact that my oldest son had not played a Friday night gig as a backup to spoken word artists in a long time.  One of the spoken word artists who appeared most often when my oldest did play calls himself Slangston Hughes.  

Second, the songs sung were largely (but not entirely) spirituals.  Having been to a couple funerals or viewings recently (and even experimented on my mandolin in the not too distant past), I am all too familiar with Precious Lord, Take My Hand.  It was very beautiful as sung by the boys.  The audience was specifically invited to several songs.  Many took it upon themselves to just sing along to this one. That was also moving.

Third, listening to the boys sing Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit.  Another beautiful song and one I have used in my own teaching of Sunday School at St Pius X.

Fourth, everyone was specifically invited to (and the program provided words for) Lift Every Voice and Sing.  Beautiful.  Powerful.  Everyone singing out.  Everyone participating.  So many spirits joined together in harmony no matter where they came from--well to do families who can pay every expense for boychoir, boys who want to sing and are supported by the boychoir, and members of the local congregation.  

Fifth, the final comments by the music minister at the church who is a boychoir alumnus.  He invited everyone to take the ideas of the day--doing positive things for the community especially through music--back to their congregations so that we see more of this in Baltimore and help to improve the city.

What powerful ideas.  What powerful thoughts.  

All of this reminded me of how much I love singing and love music.  Even if it no longer has the prominence in my life that it did when I played bass in the worship band at our church or sang in the community choir at the kids' school.  I still love singing.  I love coming together with other people who love singing.  I love listening.

It is art.

It is expression.

It is powerful.

And the ideas that singing captures span so many aspects of my life, my family's life, and my city's life that that is why I think of a constellation.  If I had to choose one with five stars, Cassiopeia may be the only obvious one, but I am not sure I'd ever want a "vain queen" (as she is sometimes described) to represent anything other than a lesson of what to avoid in my life.  

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