When I began teaching in Bryan, I discovered that the members of the A Capella Choir had an ‘elitist’ attitude, bordering on arrogance. I gradually began to accept students who simply wanted to be members. Not all had the greatest voices nor did they all sing in tune, but they tried. The honor of membership was maintained, but not the elitism. There were many who contributed silently and enjoyed the privilege of ‘belonging’. I just received this note from a former member. It’s worth sharing, not because it blows my horn a bit, but to show that rigid rules can be softened when it comes to providing for those who want to be a part of the group. I know this student will not mind my sharing the story of one of those who will never forget “the choir”. “I Wanted to share this with you. I remembered something recently & am sure you don’t remember it – it really isn’t very memorable! – but it to this day makes an impression on me.
Way back at Lamar Jr Hi in the 60s in our choir we had a fellow named Charles Noble. He was only there a few years & moved before we got to SFA. Charles was in the choir and very early on it was apparent that he was completely tone deaf. I remember you working with him on matching pitch. And it was hopeless. Charlie “couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket”.
What is truly memorable to me is that instead of insisting that he transfer out of choir to some other class – he really wanted to be in the choir! – you told him — and I can almost hear you saying this!!! – “Charles, I want you to learn the words to every song we do. Learn them and sing along with us up on the risers & in performances … but don’t let a sound come out of your mouth.” And he did just that. To anyone watching, he was singing. But he never made a sound. And he did that for at least 2 years till his family moved and he was gone.
The point in my telling you this is that you had a heart for a young fellow who didn’t belong in your choir, but desperately wanted to be there. I’ve never forgotten your kindness to Charlie. And I’ll bet he hasn’t either. God bless you for that!
I recall many who came to just be ‘part of something good’. The quality of performance never lost it’s shine. The choir gained much more from having known these special students. If I had it all to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing, donchaknow. Isn’t this was JESUS meant in loving another? I believe that is so and that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN