Sunday, June 28, 2015
I Knew Them Back Then
Sometimes you don't realize how special a time was until long after it's gone.
The members of A Capella Harmony Quartet were all in Oregon for a little while, so they arranged to sing for our evening service today.
The parking lot was full when we arrived. Cars were being parked on the grass to the south and on the ball field. The sanctuary was full, so we sat in the balcony, where people hauled in Sunday school chairs and joined us. Apparently the foyer below filled up as well, and we heard the clank of folding chairs as edges and corners filled up with overflow seating.
The singing was just lovely. And, I'm told by someone who knows music, it was also just GOOD.
Later I was also told that, despite the fact that AHQ parted ways a long time ago, they're still one of the most popular groups in the acapella-only slice of the Mennonite church. Hence the great turnout.
I thought: Wow. I was here when they began.
First it was four young guys singing after church, just for fun. Well, three really young guys and Tom. I think Byran and David were 12 when they started, and Tom was a few years older.
Gradually they became a Group, and they'd be asked to share a few songs on Sunday evening, and Tom would get up front and ask "the boys" to join him.
They sang more, and better, and for more people. They made a recording, then another and another. They sang at weddings and Southern Gospel celebrations and churches.
Don McGarry's cat had four kittens, and he took it as a sign, and named them Tom, Byran, Konrad, and David.
AHQ did an impressive job of combining creativity, excellence, and humility.
Paul went on several tours with them, where Paul would talk about missions in Mexico, and the quartet would sing. [Since we weren't a singing family, and you can't have the missions talk without the singing.] I went along on a tour in the South, and we went to places like Florida and Georgia, and we had sweet tea and pink-pod-purple-eyed peas.
And then after they had been all over the country and had sung for all those fancy people, they would come back to Oregon and sing those same songs for us at little old Brownsville Mennonite.
When they sang Then Came the Morning, it always made me cry.
Eventually life, college, marriage, and such things got in the way, and the group disbanded.
But today they were there again, on the platform at Brownsville, with a lot more life lived, and the songs were not just fun, as they had been in the past, but sung out of hearts that knew them to be true.
They sang Then Came the Morning and it made me cry again because it was about the Resurrection and so achingly amazingly right and so beautifully sung.
Did I have any idea how blessed we were back then when Tom would step up to the platform and ask "the boys" to join him, and when we watched the group grow into what they became?
No. But I know now.
I wonder: what wonderful future something is sprouting, all ordinary and hidden, in someone I know and see all the time, right now?
Quote of the Day:
"There's an Office Deppot and a Hair Saloon."
--Konrad Krabill, who deliberatly mispronounced things, in a rumbling commentary from the back seat of the van on one of our trips with AHQ