Thursday, February 26, 2015


I believe I have mentioned in the past that Caroline and I are blessed to have my Mom living right next door to us.  We get to see her or talk to her almost every day.  She has been next door for several years now, and it is easy for me to take that for granted.  At the age of 83, she is active in her church, volunteers at the library, participates in neighborhood groups and still has time to take care of me and Caroline.  We love having her near us.  If your mom and dad are still around, but maybe not as close, give them a call or drop a note in the mail today for no reason at all except to tell them that you are thinking of them.  I love you, Mom.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Human Nature

I mentioned a few weeks back that our Connect Group from church will be reading and discussing Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.  This is one of my all-time favorite books.  In case you are not familiar, CS Lewis was a professor at Oxford University from 1925 to 1954.  He was an atheist, but due to the influence of a fellow professor, JRR Tolkien, and other friends, he became a Christian and wrote several books dealing with the subject.  Mere Christianity is actually a collection of BBC radio addresses that he made during World War II.  The first group of messages is dealing with the fundamental idea that all cultures seem to have an idea of right and wrong – or the law of human nature.   But this law is very different from the natural laws.  The natural laws describe what actually happens.  We throw a ball into the air and because of the law of gravity, it falls back down.  But while we all have a good idea of what is right and wrong, our daily actions show that we don’t follow the law, and when we don’t, we usually feel bad about it.   So if there is this law, which does not reflect how we actually are, where could such a law have come from?  CS Lewis warns that he is nowhere close to talking about Jesus yet – just the idea that this law of human nature had to come from someone or something that created us and made it an integral part of who we are.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Music Man – Part II

Last week I recognized David Gregory, my high school band director, and shared a song that he directed when Caroline and I were in band under his direction 35 years ago.   Before Christmas,  I shared a link to the Kings College performance of O Magnum Mysterium, one of my favorite pieces of art.  That wasn’t a song that I happened upon while surfing youtube for “great music”.   That song is one that I performed with Caroline under the direction of the same David Gregory when we were a part of the community orchestra, Tara Winds.  Here is a link to that recording.  I hope that you are able to feel a small degree of the joy that we felt performing it under David’s direction.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Music Man

I posted this to facebook but I wanted to make sure all of  you had a chance to  see it as well. 

I  played the trumpet in high school band.   I will never forget the day that my band director told us that our lives would be changed because of our experiences in the band, and that someday, some of us would even be married to each other.  There was this flute player that had caught my eye.  She finally agreed to go out with me, and we dated for two years in high school.   In the spring of our senior year, her mom died suddenly of a brain aneurism.   Her mom and dad had been active in the band program, and her dad asked that one of the songs that the band had performed be played at her funeral.  Shortly after her mom’s death, her dad moved to North Carolina, and there was a family that agreed to let her stay with them as she transitioned to the local college.   Twenty years later, I was at a church and felt called to start an instrumental ensemble there.  I had no experience doing anything like that, but with the encouragement of a local school administrator, was able to pull a group of 30 players, mostly high school students, including my son and daughter, together.  The highlight of my time with the ensemble was a patriotic program that we put together shortly after 9/11.   We invited a guest conductor in for a Saturday clinic to prepare the program and then performed on Sunday evening.  I think back on that event as one of the most important things that I have ever done.   Through our involvement in the church ensemble, I began playing the trumpet again after 20 years.   I learned of a local community band that was made up of mostly school band directors and applied for membership.   I was given the opportunity to play and participated in that group for five years.  We had many great concerts and trips together, culminating in a 10 day trip to Italy where we were invited to play with the Italian National Band.   My love for instrumental music has remained strong and for the past several years we have been watching with interest the music program at a small university in North Georgia.   We have been supporting the program and have joined a new community band which was started there.
There is a common thread to my story.  That thread is my close friend, David Gregory.  David was my high school band director.  He is the one who predicted I would marry my wife Caroline.  David’s family is the one that allowed Caroline to stay with them after her mom’s death.    David is the school administrator who encouraged me to start an instrumental ensemble at my church.  David is the clinician that led the patriotic program at our church.   David founded the community band that I went to Italy with.  David is the man that built the instrumental program at the university in north Georgia from nothing to their performance this week at the Georgia Music Educator’s Convention.  David is the founder of Georgia Winds, where my wife and I will continue to make music together as long as we are able.  
Thank you, David, for your uncompromising dedication to your craft, your students and for your love and support of me and my family.  I wanted to share this recording of the song that was played at Caroline’s mom’s funeral.     Caroline and I were in the band together for this recording, and it is the only time that I can remember the band also performing vocally.

Who puts his trust in God most just
Hath built his house securely;
He who relies on Jesus Christ,
Shall reach his heaven most surely,
Then fixed on Thee my trust shall be,
For thy truth cannot alter;
While mine Thou art, not death's worst smart
Shall make my courage falter.