Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Another “When Swing Was King” Debut -- Another Friend Is Made

The freshness and vitality of “When Swing Was King” continues as our 16th volume made its debut yesterday afternoon at Heritage Pointe.  It is a program that, like all the others, combines big band and jazz, crooners and canaries, romantic ballads and hepped-up dance tunes.  However, there is one element that is a bit more pronounced in this volume -- the "brother connection."  For we have got a song in this rota from the Mills Brothers, back to back songs from Bob and Bing Crosby, and another back to back brother finale with songs from Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.

Alongside these terrific numbers are ones performed by Glenn Miller, Chick Webb, Artie Shaw and Tony Pastor, Harry James, Dean Martin, Lawrence Welk, Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Goodman and Helen Forest.  Great stuff!  And, along with the wonderful music, we have new photographs from the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s and brand new tidbits to share about the musicians, songs and times from those heady days.

(For instance, did you know that "Elmer's Tune" was named after a real Elmer, a mortician who worked next to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago and who kicked around on the piano during his lunch hour?)

How about it? Would you like to come along for the fun -- and for the chance to develop friendships with people living in nursing homes and retirement centers?  We’d love to have you and the residents and staff of those facilities would love it just as much.  The schedule is on the VSM web site right here.

And here's a note I dropped onto my Facebook page yesterday after that WSWK visit. You'll see in it another one of the reasons this has been such a heartening ministry for us.

"Thank you for taking the time to talk to me awhile."

That was what the lady said to Claire and me after we had enjoyed 10-12 minutes of conversation after everyone else had left the "When Swing Was King" program this afternoon. That was sweet and we were touched by her graciousness.

But isn't that what all of us (regardless of age or condition) most desire from others -- just a little time to talk, to listen, to laugh, to sympathize, to pray, and to otherwise have underscored by others that we are genuinely important?

That's why our response to this woman (a lovely lady who had raised a family, engaged in many interests along the way, taught primary grades for almost 30 years and who had recently lost her husband that she had taken care of throughout his struggles with Alzheimer's) was a sincere repetition of the same sentiment. "Well, it was our distinct pleasure. So thank you for taking the time to talk to us awhile too. We are really pleased to have met you and we sure hope you come back when we're here again next month."

Little does she know how pleasant, how informative and how encouraging a moment she had just provided us. It's a bit ironic really -- but beautifully so. For the residents of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities where we present "When Swing Was King" regularly, exuberantly thank us for coming to minister to them. But we understand (and appreciate) the fact that the "ministry flow" moves at least as much in the other direction.

But we certainly shouldn't be surprised. It's really a quite basic element of the Christian ethic. You want to be blessed? Easy. Go be a blessing. So, Lord, once again I thank you for the remarkable opportunity you have given us with "When Swing Was King." We are blessed. And we are grateful.