Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

The 31-Day Blog Challenge, Day Twenty-Eight: Lacrimosa

Today’s writing prompt:

31 DAY BLOG CHALLENGE, DAY 28: “last time I cried”.

The actual last time I cried? I’m going to bypass this one. It occurred a few hours before I wrote this … and I’ve spent quite a lot of time on that little “difficult time in my life” (speaking of writing prompts).

Instead, I shall scoot backward in time to the second-most-recent time, which was, oddly, a tiny bit more public.

For background, go read the item that I read at my Dad’s memorial service. I’ll be here when you get back.

That wasn’t my moment of weep.

He died on a Tuesday, if I’m not mistaken; and the following Sunday, I was at my post in front of our church’s volunteer choir. Partly because it was one of my jobs; partly because of Dad’s “carry on” philosophy; partly because it was something to focus on, rather than sitting and moping.

Our family decided to put off the memorial service at least a week, mostly so we wouldn’t have to rush pell-mell through the planning process in just a couple of days.

One part of the plan was that I would deliver a little paragraph or two, in the spirit of eulogy; which I did. There were folks who marveled that I did so with not a hitch or a pause to wipe the eyes or nose. I kinda wrote the thing so that there were more laughs and smiles than anything else. Distraction, maybe, but also a focus on the great and funny memories.

Another part of the plan was that I would conduct the volunteer choir that assembled to sing an anthem or two at the service. There were folks who were completely blown away that I could do that, but as my college band director used to say, “I’m a professional. I can do this.” Again, notes and rhythms and such to focus on. Again, distraction, and an awareness of the responsibility of conducting a choir (and helping to keep their heads in the game).

What took me out, though, was the last hymn of the afternoon. “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, by Thomas Chisholm and William Runyan. Number 140 in your Methodist Hymnal. Before and since, it’s been one of my very favorite hymns. A couple of really cool chords in there, the kind that gives us music theory nerds a little tiny thrill and causes us to see how the chord was approached and how it was resolved thereafter. A fun intellectual exercise, at the same time as the harmonies stir the spirit.

Well, between that and the accumulated experience of the previous nearly two weeks … the stirring won out. All I can say is, I’m glad that everyone else’s noses were kinda “buried in the score”, as we say in the choir world, so they didn’t notice that I was a quiet wreck. At least I didn’t have any more musical or public-speaking leadership responsibilities that afternoon, so there was that.

But it was a good day, so I didn’t mind, and have not minded since. And now, every time the opportunity to sing that hymn rolls around, I lay into it with just a little extra verve, and just a little extra smile.

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May 28, 2016 - Posted by | blogging, choir, family, music | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] also set out in print here the conditions under which I managed to become an outright crier, the last two times, namely the […]

    Pingback by The 31-Day Blog Challenge, Day Thirty-One: Counter-Intuitive « Editorial License | May 31, 2016 | Reply


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