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 Land, Naturally (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.