Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New twist on an old song...

The day after Christmas, we were sitting in a fast-food restaurant, eating lunch along with lots of people likely taking a break from ‘after-Christmas-sale’ shopping.

Amidst all the chatter, we could hear seasonal music playing in the background. I’m a big fan of Christmas music and have no problem with radio stations playing it ‘round the clock from Thanksgiving throughout the holidays. After a while it seems to fade into the background as we do other things…but when a song comes on that I really like, I’m listening with both ears! And that’s exactly what happened in the restaurant. I heard Kenny G. I like Kenny G, even though after a while all his songs start sounding the same to me.

My ears perked up when I heard Kenny playing Ave Maria in his particular style. To be honest, it was a little unsettling.

It’s a beautiful song. Beautiful. But Kenny G’s take on it was too weird for me. Even though he did an amazing job, I could only think of all the love songs he plays with his signature style. Endless Love, When a Man Loves a Woman, My Heart Will Go On – now THOSE songs are Kenny G material.

When we left the restaurant to get back on the highway to Kingsport the song was still on my mind. Then, all of a sudden it made me smile.

In 2003, I sang that song at the wedding of my dear friend’s son in Youngstown, Ohio. The organist at the Catholic Church where Andy and Angie were married was extremely talented and put me at ease as we rehearsed Ave Maria for this special day. Even though I’d taken two years of Latin in high school, I still needed help in pronouncing a few words of the song.

The wedding and all the photography had finished and I went into the altar-preparation room to gather things I’d left before the service. The priest greeted me warmly and said, “Thank you for singing today. This is the first time I’ve heard the Ave Maria sung by a United Methodist minister’s wife – in Latin – with a southern accent!”

And now I wonder if it was as unsettling for the priest to hear me sing the beloved Ave Maria as it was for me to hear Kenny G playing it!

If you’re a new reader of ‘Life In The Greenhouse’ you’ll find out that I sign off every post with this phrase…one I used to sign off my morning radio show in Knoxville: “If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. Make your life count!”