Yeah, these guys make me smile, too. Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash
It was right in the middle of a song on Sunday morning. The praise team was smaller than usual, just a couple of voices, but they produced a moment that still echoes in my mind. I don’t remember what the song was, but at one moment, when the two voices –one male, one female — harmonized, it lifted my heart, brought a spontaneous smile to my face, and made me stop and marvel at the beauty of that moment.
Eight days later, I am still thinking about that moment. There was another such moment this morning when, as turned the corner on my way to work and the pre-sunrise colors in the sky took my breath away and made me smile. In the dim morning light, my phone’s camera just wouldn’t capture the colors to preserve that moment, so I can’t even share it with you. Or when I got back home tonight and my two-year-old grandson saw me and shouted, “You came back!” How could I not smile at that?
I am grateful that God sprinkles these little moments into my day from time to time. Sometimes you smile because you have to. Or because you don’t want to cry. But sometimes you just can’t help it.
I’ve got some new music to listen to while I’m working at the computer. It’s the live feed at http://www.jazz.fm, Jazz 91.1 from Toronto, Canada. All jazz music, all the time, an amazing variety of music and musicians, instrumentalists, bands, and vocalists. A few things I’ve heard before, but a lot I haven’t. As soon as I turn it on, it creates a very relaxing mood wherever I am. I even have the app on my iPhone.
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been somewhere that had an actual jazz station to listen to. A long, long time ago, there was one in Philadelphia. There used to be a smooth jazz station in Jacksonville, FL, but they changed format to Latin music. So these sounds are very welcome when I find myself parked at the computer, working on sermons or letters or whatever.
It’s got me playing my trumpet more, too, especially some jazz etudes I’ve collected over the years. It would be nice to have some kind of band to play with, but for now, practicing on my own with some occasional background tracks has been a good way to clear my mind and stimulate some different parts of my brain.
Epiphany brings back great memories of touring with the Ft. Wayne Seminary Kantorei each winter I was studying for my M.Div. 12-16 male voices plus an organist and director packed up a couple of vans and headed out for a two week tour of churches in different areas of the country.
My first year found us in Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri. That was a long, cold trip (We always traveled in early January). My second year I think we didn’t roam as far, going to Wisconsin and Minnesota. My fourth year is fuzzy; I’m thinking we were in Indiana and Illinois, perhaps some Ohio.
This was probably my most enjoyable choral experience. Very talented director, voices, and instrumentalists. A lot of camaraderie with men all studying for the pastoral ministry. I still remember the music, the people, and the worship experiences.
The current edition of the Kantorei is touring in parts of Florida this year, but in parts of Florida not close by, so I won’t get to see them. I hope that they have just as memorable experience as I did.