The most bizarre thing happened in my life last week! I attended a Southern Region ACDA Convention…but that was not the bizarre thing I am thinking of at the moment. I attended the convention in the midst of the worst flooding Louisville, Kentucky had seen in 50 years! Yet…I had no clue. I had no clue because I was busily seeing friends, attending sessions, enjoying beautiful concerts, and truly…when one is on the seventh floor of a hotel, the impact of rain is a bit tempered. As long as I could cross the street for the next concert, I was just fine! It also helped that there was a walk-way connecting the hotel to the convention presentation rooms.
On Saturday afternoon, I had no trouble leaving my hotel to come home, and I had no trouble traveling the streets to get to the freeway. Yet…when I returned home to Lexington, I was hit with all sorts of questions and concerns regarding my safety. I was with friends…really good friends…friends who had meant the world to me over the years.
One friend had given me a place to stay every Monday night from 1983-1985. Because of her, I was able to sing with Robert Shaw in Atlanta for two years. Lynn Brown Rogers and her sister Beth Brown Shugart sang with Mr. Shaw, and they both told me that if I was going to be a choral director, I needed to have the experience of singing with “the best.” What an incredible experience I had in the Atlanta Symphony Chorus because of their generosity and hospitality!
André Thomas, Earlene Rentz, Allen Hightower
Another friend was on my doctoral committee, and was “there” for me in some difficult times, too. To spend time with André Thomas is always an experience of “light,” because he radiates the most positive energy known to humanity. I loved singing in his choir the first year he taught at FSU! He is the best, the best, THE BEST.
Then…there was one of my former church choir directors who has gone on to become one of the nation’s finest choral directors. I remember Allen Hightower’s rehearsals as beautiful inspiration and choral excellence, and I was thrilled to know he is respected as one of the nation’s finest choral professionals.
So many people who were positive influences in my life were there with me in Louisville, and I really did not have too much time for “rain.” We go to conventions to reconnect with colleagues, friends, and acquaintances who support our “like-mindedness” in the arts. It is always great to remember how much many of them have meant to us and how our lives have been richer because of them. The only “flood” I experienced in Louisville was the flood of memories and gratitude that reminded me of how lucky I have been in my life to know them. Very lucky indeed…