The familiar strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s famous hit song were running thru my brain this morning. Why? You might ask. (Go ahead, ask.)
That would be because I was just in the heart of Alabama last weekend – in Demopolis, to be specific. At 1st Baptist Church to be more specific. Working with the choir, to be über specific.
As the other two readers of this blog may already know, Ed Rush is a faithful reader of this blog. Well, as faithful as one can be reading a blog that is updated only every month, or so. But I digress. Ed is the minister of music at FBC Demopolis. (More accurately, he is the retiring minister of music, though it’s a matter of debate as to how long the church is going to keep him working past his own retirement. Currently, it would appear that Ed will still be working for at least three months beyond his official retirement, which happens this week. They love him at FBC.)
Sorry. I’ve digressed again.
Anyway — Ed invited me to come lead a Composer Weekend at FBC Demopolis. Ed has done Composer Weekends for several years now. And I suspect that after already hosting the likes of Stan Pethel (twice), Joe Martin (twice), Cindy Berry, Lloyd Larson, and Pepper Choplin, Ed had reached the bottom of the barrel when he invited me.
Lucky for me that Ed had run out of options. I had a great time in Demopolis. The folks at FBC are delightful. The choir and accompanists were well prepared. They sang their hearts out and the congregation seemed to really enjoy the whole event.
The concert consisted of music I arranged and/or composed, some old and some new. We closed the concert with a piece Ed and I wrote together earlier this year, a Christmas piece (?!?!) titled “The Very First Christmas Morn.” (BTW – the piece will be available from Shawnee Press next year, set for children’s voices.)
So, let me thank Ed, pastor Carl, the choir, Roslyn (pianist), and everyone at FBC Demopolis who made me so welcome. I hope I earned my keep while I was there with you.