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Music samples: listen to me (and friends) sing!

Here are some recordings for your enjoyment!

James Willett singing Just a Closer Walk. This is my father singing, on a 1987 recording, what became his signature song as choral director at Western Christian College.

Dr. Kenneth Davis Jr. singing Just A Closer Walk.  My dad learned the song from an early recording of Dr. Davis (“Uncle Bud” to generations of choral singers) singing it with the Harding College A Cappella Chorus.  This is from a live 1978 recording.

Harding University A Cappella Chorus 1982 – I sang with this outstanding chorus, directed by Dr. Kenneth Davis Jr., in college and also went on two European tours with them in the decade after I graduated. Here are three songs from the opening performance of our 1982 tour, recorded live in the Kongresshalle, Augsburg, West Germany:  Holy Radiant Light, Ezekiel Saw De Wheel, and Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Harding University A Cappella Chorus 1978 – Newly recovered from a tape I’d forgotten I had, here are songs from a February 1, 1978 concert, location long-forgotten (it might have been the College Church of Christ in Searcy, AR). Titles are approximate:  Bless He That Comes in the Name of the Lord, Hallelujah Chorus, I Waited Patiently for the Lord, Jesus, Thy Name I Love, O Praise the Lord of Heaven, O Praise the Lord, Save Us, Sing Unto the Lord A New Song.

Harding University A Cappella Chorus Men’s Ensemble – This group was drawn from the Harding A Cappella and directed by Mickey Cox, a senior music student at the time.  Here are three songs from our 1978 recording:  Climbin’ Up the Mountain, Ride On King Jesus, and In Search of the Lost Chord.

Harding College A Cappella Chorus 1947 – Obviously I wasn’t part of this group — but my father, James Willett, was.  Here is The Lord Bless You and Keep You from the first recording ever made of the Harding chorus, during a tour to Chicago.  Andy Ritchie conducted. Traditionally, all Harding A Cappella Chorus concerts end with this song.

University of Regina Chamber Singers – For many years I sang with this outstanding chorus, directed by Kathryn Laurin.  The Chamber Singers have won numerous national and international awards. Here are Shenandoah and The Battle of Jericho from one of our CDs.

Midnight Sun – In the early 1990s I sang with this men’s a cappella group, made up of alumni of Western Christian College.  Here are the songs from our final concert in the spring of 1993 (in alphabetical rather than concert order): A Wonderful Time, All I Have to Do is Dream,All I Needed,Barbara Anne, Because He Lives, Build An Ark, Don’t Be Talkin ‘Bout Friends, For the Longest Time, Good Livin’, I Go to Pieces, I Just Came to Praise the Lord, I Know a Man, Lean on Me, Lord Give Me Light, Moving’ Up to Glory LandNaturally (my solo),One Fine Day,Precious Lord (my solo), Shut de Door, Keep Out de Debbil, Song in My Soul, Snap Crackle Pop (Rice Krispies)Stand By Me (my solo, and my arrangement), The Criminal on the Cross, The Gentle Healer, The Stars are Ours, There’s a Fountain Free, Turn Your Radio On, We Are Standing on Holy Ground, You Put This Love in My Heart, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.

Livingston Square – In 2006-2007 I sang in two all-Gerswhin concerts (“Let’s Call the Whole Thing Gershwin!”) with this Regina quartet (the other three members were Evan Purchase, Dianne Burrows and Carolyn Speirs; Alison Purdy accompanied). Here are four songs (in Windows Media format) from our concert at Government House: I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’and Bidin’ My Time (my two soloes), Nice Work If You Can Get It (a duet with Carolyn Speirs), and I Got Rhythm, our encore.


Women, Women, Women – From a 1995 concert performance of The Merry Widow by the Regina Symphony Orchestra. I narrated and played the part of Baron Zeta.

Always on My Mind – A very old recording of me singing the Willie Nelson classic, done in a karaoke recording studio in the West Edmonton Mall.

Mac the Knife – In the summer of 2001, CBC’s Afternoon Edition radio program, for which I did a weekly science column (and have done various other columns) held a karaoke contest. For the kickoff, I and some other regulars were invited to try our hand. I’d intended to do The Moody Blues’ Nights in White Satin, but, inconceivably, they didn’t have it. At the last minute I chose to do Mac the Knife instead.  Like most karaoke performances, it’s sadly under-rehearsed, but someone must have liked it: a listener asked that it be played on the Morning Edition a few days later.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow – At the 2004 CBC Afternoon Edition Christmas program, I was given the opportunity to sing–which I did, accompanied by the inimitable Ken Jefferson.

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Harding College A Cappella Chorus 1947 Recording

On this page, you can find the entire 1982 recording of a concert by the Harding University A Cappella Chorus, which began our European tour that year (I was 2 1/2 years past graduation and returned as an alumni singer for that tour). That was 35 years ago as I post this in 2017. But 35 …

Harding University A Cappella Chorus 1982 Concert in Augsburg

In the summer of 1982, I accompanied the Harding University A Cappella Chorus, directed by Dr. Kenneth Davis Jr. (“Uncle Bud”) on a six-week tour of Europe. I’d graduated in 1979 but the chorus welcomed alumni to join them on these tours, and I jumped at the chance. The tour began with a concert in …

Me at age 15 as Mr. Bumble in Oliver!, Western Christian College, 1974

The first musical I ever had the chance to be part of was Oliver!, which Western Christian College, where I attended high school, partially staged in 1974, when I was 15 years old. (Almost exactly the same age as my daughter is as I post this.) I say “partially” staged because we only did the …

Harding University Men’s Ensemble, ca. 1979

While at Harding University, I was part of the “Men’s Ensemble,” the rather unimaginatively named men’s a cappella group. We recorded several songs, probably in 1979 (possibly in 1979)…and here they are. Listening to these again, I’m amazed how well they’re still in my memory. Some I could still sing if called upon. Not that …


    • Dan on March 22, 2020 at 3:17 pm
    • Reply

    Hello. I came here looking for your column about swing and could not find it. Is it still here or can you kindly send it to me?
    thank you, Dan Hughart

      • on March 27, 2020 at 12:08 pm
      • Reply

      Sure! It’s here: The Science of Swing.


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