Silent Singers

In 1946, I directed my first Christmas Cantata by the Adult Choir at First Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant, Texas. I was fifteen. It wasn’t until junior high that we had our own school choir. All the boys had a crush on our pretty young director, so it was no problem to have a “mixed” choir. Bill Quarells organized a boys quartet to sing on WFAA, in Dallas. There was a very popular live, daily program called ,” The Early Birds”. Mr.Quarrels had been a member of The Delta Rhythm Boys who were once the featured singing group, so he taught Roland Bridges, Charles Meyer, Billy Hill Lamb and me to sing one of their songs, “Blue Indigo”. We got to sing it, “live”. That was my first time to get the thrill of performance. As seniors, we were taken under the wing of a businessman who got us involved in Barbershop. It was while attending Sam Houston State in Huntsville, that I joined Jerry Rawlls, Bud Haney and Jimmy Vann in my first college quartet. The most successful run was with Quay Wegandt, Charlie Ryan and Jimmy under leadership of Miss Virginia Irving, as “The Tonefederates”. The Houston chapter of SPEBSQSA performed “The Calvacade of Music” in the Music Hall and our group shared star-billing with  that year’s Championship “Buffalo Bills”on an extended brief East Texas tour. Our ‘big’ hit, “Wonderful Time Up Up There” was the crowd favorite. Our biggest delight was to secretly change the ending of “Cruising in My Model “T” and watching the expression on Ginny’s face. She never knew what to expect. (By the way, Jimmy Vann was the smoothest natural baritone I have ever heard. He could have gone Pro) While in Amarillo, I was invited to sing bass with another world- champion group. After losing their great bass-signer, “The Four Hearesemen” tried to fit me in, but my voice was a bit too mellow. Sponsored by Blackmon  Brothers Funeral Home, this would have provided a HOOT, but it wasn’t to be. I’ve attempted to list the different churches served and the number of weddings sung, but what grabs me is the fact that GOD lifted me up to sing at many funerals. HE has empowered my entire life. Back a few years ago, it was an honor to be invited to the Anniversary Celebration of the Brazos County Community Chorus. I directed that fine choir in “Poor Man Lazrus” by one of my favorites, Lester Harriston. I had forgotten the thrill of sharing choral music. I also knew as I “wobbled” back to my seat,” That’s most likely the last time, James!”. My Voice had joined the ‘silent’, so it was OK. After all, it’s been quite a run, donchaknow. Really. To GOD be the Glory! That’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

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