In the past week I have been privileged to hear the unique musical styles of four musicians.
Last Monday evening at Celebrate Recovery, Kyle Paxton shared his testimony of faith in Christ and how he came to possess a beautiful hammered dulcimer. He showed artwork that represented his imaginings of heaven, played the dulcimer, and encouraged us with his witness to Christ’s presence and faithfulness in his life. I purchased a CD of his music and have been enjoying it this week. At times it sounds like piano. Other times it sounds like guitar, brass bells, carillon, harpsichord, or harp! I have been drawn into his original compositions and the hymns on the CD.
Friday evening I attended the Bay County Storytellers’ “Tellebration” at Roberts’ Hall in Lynn Haven with a friend. We listened as storyteller and musician, Paul McAuliff, played a pan flute and a Native American wood flute. He had several wooden flute instruments with him. I had heard Paul play before at other storyteller events and had actually sold him a flute several years ago that had been donated to Bethel Village. We could have gotten maybe $10 for it in a thrift store, but someone like Paul, who knows the artistic craftsmanship that goes into making a wooden wind instrument like the one donated to Bethel Village, was willing to pay a good deal more. He was glad to get the flute and Bethel Village was glad to get the cash! Paul, too, has a CD of his music that one can purchase. I plan to do that this week.
Saturday morning I met Charlie, a gentleman one would never pick out of a crowd as an accomplished pianist. Long hair, craggy wrinkle-lined face, red bandana, jeans, and shirt and vest. He came for the Community Breakfast at First United Methodist Church, an outreach to the homeless, “at risk”, no-low-or fixed income folks, or anyone else who needs desires a meal and a social time in a safe, friendly, nurturing environment. After eating, Charlie asked if he could play the piano in the Trinity Center. John Whitley, host for the morning, graciously invited him to do so. Imagine our delight as Charlie’s fingers danced up and down the keyboard with skill and grace! I was amazed. After a few minutes I asked Charlie if he was a trained musician or if he played “by ear”. Charlie, whom I suspect has been asked that question many times, replied, “By ear. But my ear got tired so I use my hands.” We laughed and he continued his impromptu concert. Charlie can be heard playing this Friday during lunch at Café Hope at the Trinity Center. If you’d like to hear him, make your reservation for Café Hope’s lunch, prepared and served by individuals who are homeless and/or unemployed who are learning food service skills in hope of preparing for future employment. With the ease and capability of recording in most large church sanctuaries like that of First United Methodist Church, we may just see a CD by Charlie at some point, too!
Also, Saturday I stopped in at Christmas at the Fair at the Bay County Fairgrounds and enjoyed a visit with well-known local artist, Christian brother, and music connoisseur, Ricky Steele. Ricky had a gospel jazz CD from Ben’s House of Music playing in the booth displaying his beautiful artwork. I have not had much experience with gospel jazz. Loved it! Ordered it! Looking forward to singing along with it!
Music is an integral part of my faith. God uses music often to speak to my spirit, nurture my soul, and relax my body. If you are similarly constructed, let God bring new musicians and musical styles into your life. You, too, will be delighted by the wonderful diversity and creativity of God and those in whom he placed the gift of music.