Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Singing with the Duke

Today is January 23...

On this day in 1943, Duke Ellington performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time.  Wow. 

No, again I must tell you I was NOT there for the occasion.  Not by more than a decade's worth of years could I have been present.  But those who were had a marvelous time.  I WISH I could have been there!

Even so, a number of years later, one of my personal joys was singing with Duke Ellington and his band.

Yes.  It is true.

Our high school choir was selected to be the choir that sang with Duke Ellington for a performance at Longs Park in Lancaster.  It was amazing.  And what we were singing was all part of a suite of music that Ellington had written based on Christian faith.  It was a marvelously uplifting experience to rehearse as well as sing with his band.

All you have to do is look at the titles of these compositions by Duke Ellington to know that the subject is both sacred and Christian:

1."Praise God" 2."Supreme Being" 3."Heaven" 4."Something 'Bout Believing"  5."Almighty God" 6."The Shepherd (Who Watches over the Flock)" 7."It's Freedom" 8."Meditation" 9."The Biggest and Busiest Intersection"  10."T.G.T.T. (Too Good to Title)" 11."Don't Get Down On Your Knees To Pray Until You Have Forgiven Everyone" 12."Father Forgive"  13."Praise God And Dance".

I still find myself humming some of the score, on occasion.

Today is one of those occasions.

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