I wonder sometimes, where I have been the last several decades. Really.
Every day, there is a news item about so-and-so who died, whom I have never-ever heard of, whose music, I think, I have never listened to, whose comic show I have never seen, whose books I haven't read or heard of...
But this constant parade of unknown famous people dying is an opportunity to catch up really fast on some things. You can just google their Wikipedia page, see some interviews or pieces of interviews on Youtube, etc. In about half an hour, you can get as caught up as you feel you need to be. If you are really interested you can order a book from Amazon, or buy a song on I-tunes. Voila. Now I know whom they are talking about.
So it happened that Ben E. King died last weekend. It turns out that he wrote and performed a well-loved song "Stand by Me." It is a beautiful song and I went and bought it on I-tunes and used it with my Monday morning music class at a day home. Everyone there, seems to have heard the song but never heard of Ben E. King.
I have a huge spot in my heart for black singers and song. As we read, Ben E. King grew up singing in church gospel choir. This is no surprise. Even nowadays, when you watch America has Talent, many singers learned to sing in this context.
"Stand by Me", also, is said to be inspried by an African-Amercian hymn "Lord, stand by me." I went and bought that song, too, on I-tunes performed by the Blind Boys of Alabama. This latter group, I knew about, as I heard them on CBC radio, and we went to see them as a family when they were in Edmonton. This was for our 25th wedding anniversary, and Stefan was still alive. The children were intimidated by the old age of the attendees at the concert, but loved the music. Stefan particularly like Taj Mahal, who also performed. It was a smashing hit, altogether.
Here is a great rendition of "Lord, stand by me."
Sometimes, we stand alone, sometimes we stand together. Always we pray for the Lord to be with us and to keep us. Into his hand we commend ourselves and all things. Into his hand we also commend the brother singer Ben E. King, who made beautiful song.