Boys to Men and Men to Boys

The young men of the Harvard Glee Club enjoyed Panera sandwiches before their performance at BPACC.

One of the wonderments of a career in arts administration is that you never know which hat–or how many hats–you will be wearing on any given day.It’s something I happen to like–it’s like being a country doc–or a general practitioner.

As the executive director of a 12 man a cappella group, one of the hats that I don from time to time is a chef’s toque. Singers will tell you that they cannot sing with a full stomach–but I can testify that they most certainly do not sing on an empty one!

Recently we played host to the Harvard Glee Club when they made a swing through the Mid South and performed at BPACC to an appreciative full house. They were an amiable and grateful group of young men who required sustenance. All I can say is “blessings upon the house of Panera” who prepared and delivered some bodacious and healthy boxed lunches to my foster singers that seemed to hit the spot. In addition Panera sent over iced tea and lemonade–and I  had fun concocting a “mixed drink” that we christened a Bartlett Sunset, a bi-color toned drink of lemonade floating over iced tea that took twice as long to pour–but was twice as much fun in the process. Such are the small things that create laughter  and memories.

The young men gave an awesome performance. Interestingly they are all pursuing a variety of majors and courses of study that have nothing to do with music. They sing in the group because it enlivens their existence.

And just so, the fellas in DeltaCappella sing because it enlivens their existence. Like the students, most of them lead lives that have a non musical focus–and none of them earn their livelihoods from singing.

And as I said earlier, like the young fellows, the fellas of DeltaCappella require if not constant care–constant feeding! This weekend we enjoyed our annual “Catfish on the Table Retreat” that takes it name from a line of Marc Cohn’s  Walkin’ in Memphis.

Mrs. Brown and Jerry arrive at noon on Saturday to prepare a spread that includes catfish, hush puppies, slaw, baked beans, and condiments–and of course, home made caramel and strawberry cakes.

Friday night’s repast was a delicious buffet featuring Betty’s homemade lasagna with garlic bread and salad. Betty has taken Honey Alexander’s recipe for and tweaked it by adding some ground turkey. It uses the no-boil noodles–and everyone agreed it was the best lasagna they had ever eaten.

Saturday night featured a fajita bar with all of the fixings. And Sunday, right when we were all about to blow away  (ha!)—was a  covered dish potluck at the church where we sang for Sunday’s service in honor of our hostess Betty.It looked as though the entire town of Coffeeville must have cooked a casserole or a baked a luscious dessert.I heard raves over the blue berry cobbler, as well as the caramel cakes, proving you cannot have too much of a good thing.

I learn lessons from my fellas. Eating is a big deal to them. Not any more so than it is to anyone–we all like to, and need to eat. But they have such a healthy boy/man/boy attitude about it.

They are hungry–and so they eat. With gusto!

And then they sing. With joy!

Men, and boys, like the chicken in the riddle, seem to cross the road to simply get to the other side.

I’m trying to uncomplicate my life and to take joy in the journey–not just from the journey of a lifetime–but from the journey between Point A and Point B–a trip that men seem to make with far less  emotional strife or melodrama and with a simplicity of purpose.

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