It was hard work! The Stephen F. Austin A Cappella Choir sang for the Texas Rotary Convention in the MSC auditorium on the Texas A&M campus and received a standing ovation. The Choir deserved it. It was mid-May and the weather was very warm. Clothed in hot robes on a stage that had them jammed together on risers, this group of young men and women WOWED ‘EM! I drove home, very happy and proud. I was about to take a shower for bed when the phone rang. It was President Russell Hillier of the local club. He asked, “Are you in bed yet?”. I said”No”. “Well, come back out to the MSC and ask for the Rotarian room.”
I found Russ and others from the local club as well as the Vice President of Rotary International. Russ and the others were all smiles and I understood why when her introduced the VP. “I am very impressed with your performance, Mr Austin. On behalf of the President and all Rotarians, I would like to invite you and your fine choir to perform for our International Convention in New York City, coming up a few weeks from now. Russ spoke up, “Our local club will spearhead a fund- raising program for the choir. It may require you to travel to some club meetings around our area. I, of course, agreed. Russ had cleared it with our school superintendent, so why not?
We sang at a meeting of the Texas City Rotarians and the clubs raised over $16,000.00 for our six-day bus ride to New York City and back. Over 3,000 miles in poorly maintained buses.
Those who made this trip understand what MLK said, “We Shall Overcome!”. More about my ‘rookie’ year in Bryan later.
And, that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates. AMEN