Longtime friendship, faith and music…
As an incoming college freshman in the fall of 1982, I was meeting tons of new people and enjoying the process of finding my place in what was essentially a new world. I realized quickly that some of these new people would be acquaintances with whom I’d share the occasional class, some would become close friends throughout the 4 years of school…and some would remain in my life for the rest of my life. Then there were the few who came into my life, vanished from it and reappeared years later.
Marc was one of that last category of people. We met as freshmen at Carson-Newman College (now University) and, as we were both music majors, we had a number of classes together. I liked this fellow right away. His boyish good looks, beautiful tenor voice, easy smile and sweet spirit drew me to him immediately and we became fast friends. Spring semester found us both singing in A Cappella Choir and sharing long hours on the bus together as we toured during spring break.
He decided the following year to change schools, and we lost touch after that. I often joke that he “abandoned” me, (which always gets an eye-roll and a quick retort!) but I realized he was following God’s path for him, just as I followed mine by remaining where I was. I thought of him so often in the years that followed…but I never followed through on trying to find him.
Flash forward to 2011, the beginning of the season for Knoxville Choral Society. I was talking with my friend Tina and heard the name “Marc” and asked what Marc and where? She pointed in his direction, I turned, and he and I both looked in shock at one another, recognizing long-lost faces and voices and yelling, “YOU!” And pointing at each other like we were school children. Hugs and laughs and stories followed…and the reconnection was forged.
He started singing at Messiah Lutheran the year before I did, and after I joined him there, we were blessed to sing in the choirs together, and to join our voices on many duets. Our voices blend in a way that I can only describe as magical…and together, we have been able to create and enjoy some truly memorable moments. When we sing and things are working right, the joy I feel is almost overwhelming. He left Messiah and went to Ebenezer United Methodist, where I ended up accepting a call a couple of years later (I fear he will tire of me “following” him from church to church!) And there, too, we have shared duets and delights, and I hope those continue for a long time to come.
Musicians are people first, and as such, we bring our issues with us every time we sing. Sometimes those things keep us from achieving our musical and spiritual best. And sometimes, for lack of a better description, we are blessed to be able to “sing them out”, experiencing catharsis, cleansing and healing. Those moments, I believe, are little glimpses of Heaven on Earth…and I am so grateful to be able to share them with Marc in a way that only the two of us can fully comprehend.
Today, on Marc’s birthday, I share this thumbnail sketch of him, our friendship, and our partnership in music and in faith. And I share some pictures from the last few years, a little sad that there are none of us together from our college days. But I am so grateful for the renewed connection with him, my partner in crime…and in duets.