Posts Tagged ‘faltering funeral soloist’

“Faltering funeral soloist rescued.” ~ Doc Meek

Monday, January 9, 2012. Today I am grateful for a “random act of kindness” that rescued a faltering funeral soloist. ~ Doc Meek

My brother sent this heart-warming and moving account.

  • Dorothy             Clark, from her funeral service, 31 Dec 2011.
  • On 31 December 2011, it was Dorothy Clark’s funeral. She is one of several women that Dorothy knew, at least as acquaintances, and had visited in hospital when they were ill, for example. She was 90-something, and had been a member of our ward at church for years and years. She had had a hip replacement not very many years ago, and the family thought then that she might not make it through. But she rallied, and learned to walk with it and everything. Recently, however, she had been quite ill (but mercifully, for only a relatively short time). During her illness, especially the last few weeks, she was completely at peace; and she had mentioned to family and friends that she was ready to go.

The funeral was a lovely service, and provided an especially poignant moment toward the end when Dorothy Clark’s Granddaughter sang a solo tribute, “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” The purpose of this entry is to describe that moment as best I can. I was very moved by it, and so were many others in the congregation.

This Granddaughter, whom we scarcely know, is perhaps college age, or so. And she was accompanied at the piano by her Mother (the daughter-in-law of the deceased). This Granddaughter was clearly trained in voice, and started off confidently and bravely with a composure I could not have mustered in the circumstances, certainly not with that hymn, at any rate. She sang several verses with ease and grace, … even with charm and a very pretty smile. But when she came to the last verse, the text was a little too close to home, I think, and she began to lose her composure.

There in my Father’s home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior’s love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Now it so happens that sitting beside the organ console where she had been playing the prelude music and accompanying the congregational singing was this sister, perhaps middle-aged, and whom I only know because she is a very experienced and accomplished singer, and with many, many laudable performances to her credit in many venues. She was not a part of the solo tribute at all, just sitting there handy to the organ console where she would soon go to accompany the congregation in the closing hymn. The organ console is about three steps from where the soloist was singing..

The soloist got about three words into that final verse when it became clear that she was not going to be able to carry on, … at least not the way she would want to. The sister who had been providing the organ accompaniment for the service, stood up with her very best performance bearing, with a loving and supportive smile, and exuding firmness and strength that I could not have mustered, walked the two or three steps over to the soloist, locked her arm in hers, and began singing with her (without missing a beat or a note or a word) exactly as if they had rehearsed it as a duet a hundred times. She sang with her only the next phrase, whereupon the soloist regained some of her composure. And the other woman continued to sing, but much more quietly, so that it again became a solo performance. But she stayed there, arm-in-arm with that young soloist, flawlessly projecting the confidence and assurance that they now shared in some way, until the end of the piece.

She then comforted her with some words of encouragement, exchanged pleasantries with her, and the two of them sat down..It was just such a perfect, perfect gesture, rendered at exactly the perfect, perfect time and in the most perfect, perfect way, that there was not a single dry eye in the congregation, including mine. I would love to have the grace and skill and presence of mind to do something like that sometime. It was just so profoundly beautiful and loving that it made a measurable impact on the service. And others mentioned afterwards that it was just exactly the kind of thing that Dorothy Clark would have been able to do when she was alive and well. What a magnificent tribute..It is, methinks, a really good example of what true brotherhood and sisterhood is all about here in this mortal brier patch. This world would be a so much better place if there were more people who were willing and able to step up to the plate in such circumstances, and provide a helping hand just exactly as needed..I am filled with gratitude for that sister, for the soloist and for the privilege of being in the congregation to witness such a beautiful helping hand, filled with love and assurance and confidence and strength. .
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Thank you, unknown support singer! Your example of “instant kindness” is inspiring to me!

Doc Meek, Mon, Jan 9, 2012, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

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