Photo of the (Yester)Day: Me, Singing

Yesterday we travelled down to Weyburn for the 50-40 celebration, marking the 50th anniversary of the move of Western Christian College from Radville to Weyburn, and the 40th anniversary of the construction of the Weyburn Church of Christ’s current building. That building was brand-new when my parents moved our family to Weyburn for my father to begin teaching and conducting the chorus at WCC, so this was also the 40th anniversary (though no one mentioned it) of our arrival in Canada.

A couple of hundred people turned out, and last night, at the Weyburn Comprehensive School, we enjoyed a roast beef dinner, an auction of memoribilia, some reminiscent talks, a video taken of the Weyburn campus shortly after it had been abandoned for the school to move to Dauphin (the school is now right here in Regina), and music: much of it provided by me.

Apparently the original idea was to have several alumni who perform musically to be part of the concert, but in the end, I was the only one who could come. I sang a few songs from Broadway shows, tying them in to the earliest musicals Western did: I was in the first one, Oliver!, in 1994, when I played Mr. Bumble for the first time. I also sang “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady, the last musical at WCC I was involved with (although I played the piano, not a character), “Old Man River” from Showboat, which Western did in the 1980s while I was at the Weyburn Review, and “Try to Remember” from the The Fantasticks, which as far as I know Western has never done but I’ve been in twice and which nicely dovetailed with the rememberance-of-things-past theme. Then, after the video, I sang “Me” from Beauty and the Beast, framing it as the song I used to propose to my wife. (It’s not, of course: it begins, “You’ve been dreaming just one dream, nearly all your life: hoping, scheming, just one theme, will you be a wife?…”) Margaret Anne joined me for that one.

At the end of the evening anyone who wanted was invited up to form an impromptu chorus of alumni, whicyh Dwight Muller, the current chorus conductor at Western, directed. It’s one of the remarkable things about our school that any time you get alumni together, you can form a pretty respectable chorus at the drop of a hat. We sang a lot of familiar old gospel tunes, and also “Just A Closer Walk,” which is what I’m singing in the photo above. It was my father’s signature tune, and I’ve been honored to be asked to do it three or four times at various get-togethers since he died in 2003. These days, I don’t even choke up when I’m singing it…well, not much, anyway.

It was a nice chance to see some people I haven’t seen for a long time and I was honored to be asked to sing at it. I think everyone had a good time. I know I did.

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