A Short Story Full of Thanks
Once upon a time 40 years ago, a young woman got a full scholarship to a small college in North Carolina. The school did not have a full music department, but it had a wonderful music Professor who was very encouraging to the young woman and her dreams of becoming a vocal music performer. This professor got her many solo spots at local churches, folk music sites, and concerts and helped her prepare a senior concert that would provide a demo tape for the next pursuits. Meanwhile the young woman majored in psychology and practiced and practiced and practiced her singing. In her spare time, the young woman worked on voter registration, environmental justice, and anti-war efforts while developing a quilt project in Appalachia with buyers in New York.
A concert hall was rented, musicians hired and reception orchestrated. Several lovely dresses were purchased for the various sections of the recital. Advertising was designed and a sound team was engaged for recording. The concert was slated for May Day. But that concert was never to happen, because on Easter Sunday in early April the young woman found herself in the hospital undergoing massive surgery for kidney tumors and stones.
It was a slow and steady recovery process which cost a great deal of money. There was no running or jogging and weight lifting to keep in shape and the muscles toned – breath supported.
The Professor felt very badly and quietly cancelled all the preparations and when the young woman was released found tutoring to help her graduate on time and go on to graduate school of a different kind. He also arranged for a chapel in the woods, a comfortable stool and a reel to reel tape recorder to be set up for a small recital to be recorded. One duet partner, the Philosophy Professor, even made time to join the small group and complete the duet section. Over the last 3 weeks of school the arduous first part of the concert was recorded reel to reel as the young woman sat on the stool and the professor accompanied the vocals. The Irish and local folks songs, musical numbers and contemporary pieces were not completed.
The young woman went other directions, but when she was discouraged, she would find a way to listen to her tape and found courage again. The reel to reel tape was translated on to a small cassette. Over the next years that tape was played so many times it stretched and distorted, but it still brought comfort.
Then the cassette player gave up and there was no way to hear the music.
Last year 2011, the young woman – now much matured wished to hear her music once again. She could not find anyone to copy the cassette in its sad shape onto a CD. Then she thought of Jannie Funster the amazing poet, songwriter and recorder of Funsterland in Austin, Texas – who said yes she could figure it out….Jannie arranged, for a small fee, for her sound guru – GEORGE to take the tape and transfer it onto a CD. George not only took out some of the distortion noise but also removed some background interference – it is still in an empty church and some of the words are unclear, but it is now on CD and the woman’s MP3 and on her computer.
I listened to it on my cellphone during my last morning walk….and all the energy and feelings of accomplishment returned. All the joy of practicing, and people caring, and every effort being made to attain a goal is right there and fills my whole being. It is the best concert ever.
I am left with only the humblest of thank you’s to say aloud. It means so much to me I do not know how to thank each one of you.
Mr. Robinson, Jannie Funster, the Postal Service and George the Sound man.
Enclosed with this Thank you note, Please find a small piece of the concert I wish to share with you….
This is an excerpt from an arduous 4 part HYMN by Ralph Vaughn Williams.
Did someone do something special for you that you would like to share the story of such gift?
If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.