Submitted by Fred Willis.
On Tuesday, December 4th, Christ Lutheran Church sponsored a well attended public sing-along of Handel’s “Messiah”. I have attended these twice but have not attempted to sing. You see, beauty and joy cause me to weep. It has always been that way, but I can usually suppress it. This time with the first familiar notes the tears came freely for five minutes or so.
When I was five my parents took a Sunday drive into East Texas. I had never been out of Dallas and as we entered the green forests I was moved by the beauty of these newly discovered pines. I began to weep, silently and profusely. My mother noticed and asked why I was crying. I said, “The trees are so beautiful”. And she said something I have never forgotten, “Honey, you have a gift”.
Fast forward to my age 13. I loved to sing, especially “hillbilly” music. My elementary school music teacher lobbied my mother to let me audition for a well known a cappella boys choir that had come to town. They made me sing “My country tis of thee-” instead of “Love Sick Blues”, but they took me into their thirty voice group as an alto anyway. We performed the university circuit from Ohio to Texas that year and travelled the South and East up to New York City in 1945. On our return home the Choir left Dallas. But I held a love for the music. Some I can still sing. We had a full choir arrangement of Messiah that included the alto aria “Come unto him”. Even today I sing it often to myself.
Back now to the Christ Lutheran sing-along. Directed by an excellent conductor and accompanied by accomplished instrumentalists, we sang the Messiah. All the arias were sung by professional vocalists- a tenor, a bass, a soprano and an alto. When the alto began “my” aria, I silently came unglued again. In time I regained my composure. The performance came to an end I made my way over to where the vocalists were gathered to thank the alto and to tell her how important it had been to me. I tried to speak and broke down. I saw alarm in her face and withdrew. So now, here in The Suburban Times, I want to thank all those true musicians who performed with all of us walk ons. Especially I want to thank the dear alto who sang my song.