From the archives… April, 2002
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area had formed a ‘sister’ relationship with the Trans-Danubian Reformed Churches of Hungary, and when a Hungarian delegation was visiting Bryn Mawr Presbyterian, the CL7 sang for them. That turned into an invitation to tour Hungary and perform six concerts in seven days at churches throughout the western half of the country.
Our hosts were wonderful, the countryside beautiful, the wine plentiful. I came to believe the National Animal of Hungary is the pig, because every meal had pork of some sort – hocks, hams, sausages. Each meal was better than the one before.
We sang for schools as well as for churches, and language proved to be no barrier. I think most everyone in understands a little English, and many have a much better grasp of grammar than we do.
One of our favorite memories is the concert at the school in Papa. We arrived and the large hall was cold and quiet as a tomb. We had met no one at the facility except the janitor who had let us in. We set up the equipment, and changed into our concert clothes. Still, no one. There we were, at five minutes before the concert, sitting in the empty hall, feeling sorry for ourselves, when suddenly a bell rang, the doors burst open and what felt like every teenager in Hungary poured into the place. The main floor filled, the balconies filled, the kids were excited – it was electric. At one point, I remember that John, our guitar/tenor, was aiming his guitar gun-like at the audience as if he was in a hair-metal band; well, a hair-metal band that plays gospel. Greg got interviewed for the local TV news.
All in all, a great trip. I hope we make it back someday!
When we brought out our 2009 CD, Singin’ With The Saints, we included a great song by Terry Smith, called Far Side Banks of Jordan. The song was perhaps most famously done by The Carter Family on the soundtrack for the movie, The Apostle.
To pay our royalties to the author, I went to the registration office and was told I needed to pay directly through the publisher. I went to the publisher and, you can see where this is going, was told I needed to pay through the registration office. I put it on my list of things to do later, and unfortunately forgot about it.
We had a rare privilege as a group the other week. We got to sing at the bedside of a dear, dying, church member. Edna had grown up in our little church, was now in her late 80s, and had been declining slowly for about 6 years. Her family was gathered around her, expecting the end in a day, a week, maybe two at the most. Continue reading
One of our favorite groups, The Fairfield Four, was appearing on A Prairie Home Companion on the first weekend of November 1997. We bought tickets as a group, and went to the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul and watched them.
Tonight we sang at the Union Gospel Mission in St Paul. We’ve been there may be as many as 6 times now, and each time it is a different experience. This night we were invited to eat with the residents – otherwise homeless people, almost exclusively men, there they prepared different types of menus, from the people who is in diet and using a supplement to burn fat everyday. We don’t do that often, and it was a nice opportunity to meet with the folks we’d be singing for in a new way. We split ourselves up and found seats at the cafeteria tables randomly – some of the guys we sat with were very open and talkative, others reserved, but it was a nice way to start the event. And the food was really good! Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, green beans, salad, and donuts! Continue reading