Starting on the Right Note!


For over thirty years Sharon and I have started every year tuned to the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Years Concert.  This year it was fantastic, as always.  We see it as starting the year on the right note.

Music has always been an exciting part of my life.  Two years ago I joined the Chancel Choir at Providence United Methodist Church.  Our crowning achievement came last month when we sang Vivaldi’s “Gloria.” That meant ending the year on the right note.

I often exercise to classical music in the morning.  Frequently I tune it in while driving.  My appreciation goes back to my boyhood years in Cincinnati.  I had a friend, Butch, who lived on the next street over from mine.  His parents were both professional musicians.  They had twin grand pianos in their living room.  I was enthralled hearing them play duets on occasion.

It isn’t just classical music that moves my spirit.  As a kid I went to sleep every night listening to the WCKY Jamboree, which was western music.  I’ve always loved popular music.

I had an uncle who could play just about any instrument by ear, but he couldn’t read a note.  He inspired me, so I took violin lessons.  The trouble was, practice was boring–and I really wanted to be out playing baseball with the other guys.  I was pretty bad with the violin, so that didn’t last.

Next I tried the piano.  My biggest problem was reading music.  I have good hand-eye coordination for artistic work, but somehow it didn’t cross over to music.  I had trouble coordinating the notes on the page with the keys on the piano.  That didn’t last either.

Then came singing.  After our family moved to a small town in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Nelson Miller, the organist in our small church, felt I had talent.  She taught me all she could about singing.  I sang at church, sang in the high school glee club, sang in the chapel choir overseas in the army, and sang with the Wesley Seminary Singers.

During my years of pastoral ministry I often sang solos, or duets, but seldom actually sang with the choir.  That’s why singing in the choir now is so refreshing in my life.  At Providence Church I’ve gained some skills in reading music and singing expressively.  I’m especially grateful to our director, Margaret Taylor, for her skill and professionalism.  Only she could have gotten me through the “Gloria!”

One song Mrs. Miller taught me to sing was titled, “Without a Song.”  I learned it and loved it.  “Without a song the day would never end, without a song the road would never bend….”  

There’s no better way to start a year, or a day, than with a song and a prayer.  Music tunes my spirit, and God touches me through it.  It always gets me started on the right note!



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