Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Defining Moments: 1964

Most of you will not know what this crest means....
A few of you will, and you may even have yours tucked away in a keepsake box of some sort.
This crest is a little piece of my history. The things I do today, and the love I have for music was fostered and nurtured by several people who spoke into my life, and this crest is evidence of something that had a huge impact on me years ago.

The year? 1964.
The place? Alma Hinson Junior High School.
This was the crest that we wore on our burgundy blazers as members of the choral group.
It was the 8th grade, and I had auditioned for the group. At that time, the music program at Alma Hinson was under the direction of one Mr. Tom Cole. Low and behold, I was accepted. Looking back, I think maybe if you could breathe and carry somewhat of a semblance of a note (at least the correct note) then you were in. But to a young boy who was a ball of insecurities, acceptance into the choral group was huge for me.

In fact, to show you what an impact being a member of this group had on me, I can still remember the words, most of the notes, and tempo to the two songs we did for state competition. One was "Come Christians Join To Sing" and the other was "Create In Me A Clean Heart".  Things were a lot different back in '64. You could not get away with learning these songs in school today. Some parent would have a come-apart that little Johnny or Jenny was being FORCED to learn Christian dogma. Never mind that little Johnny or Jenny is allowed to watch pretty much whatever comes on the tube or the I-pad, or whatever the device of choice is today. Don't want the kids exposed to that right-wing, religious, conservative, moral propaganda. But that is another story for another time.

I had no talent what so ever when it came to sports. Oh, I played pick up games there in the community I grew up in. There was always a pick up game of football, basketball, or baseball...and we were pretty serious about it. But the talent just wasn't there when it came to REAL sports. I was relegated to the sideline to observe. But music.....that was different. There in 1964 I was taught some rudimentary elements to music. How to sight read a song. How to hear the different parts rather than concentrate simply on the melody. What's more important was the friendships that were created during that time. The acceptance by others to become a part of something larger than myself. Those are things that I still carry with me to this day.

It was also during this time (1964-1965) that I saw something that also impacted me. During our spring concert, the marching band played "Taste of Honey", a song that had been recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Mr. Cole had asked Robert Wood to accompany the band by playing his electric guitar. Whoa! Robert was cool x 10. I wanted to learn to play....I wanted to be cool.
Well, the playing part ..I got. The coolness of playing eludes me to this day.

I'm not sure why I wrote about this today....
Seeing that crest stirred a lot of memories both good and maybe not so good.
But I think maybe what I wrote about was to get us all thinking about those people who passed through our life, and poured into us things, ideas, concepts, and even truth that has shaped us into men and women we have become.
Mr. Cole was such a person in my life. We never became close friends. We spoke to each other in our passing. But the impact he made on me cannot be measured by any instrument or rule. Mr. Cole showed me the power of music. He uncovered in me a love for music. Such things as these do not disappear unless neglected by the individual they have been given to.

Maybe we should take a minute and thank God for such people who have poured into us.
Maybe we should realize that we are all called to pour ourselves into others.
Encourage when encouragement is needed.
Correction with love and not blunt force trauma.
Direction when we see someone lost.
After all, we are the hands, feet, voice and heart of Christ, if we claim to be a follower.

God on you...

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