Well, it’s here, the final day of the Steve Hurst School of Music! This year seemed like the week went by really fast! ***sad*** Since it was the 20th Anniversary, Steve decided to end classes at noon and just go into an all-out celebration the rest of the day! Though the day was considerably shortened – the “quality” of the day seemed to be heightened! (If you know what I mean…) Or maybe, because it was the last day, there is just an over-abundance of “special” things going on!
Chapel was special and on a serious note. Friday morning is when they have communion service. Everyone picked up a cup and wafer as they went to their seats. There were two solos that morning, the first was performed by Terry Shell, he sang a melody of His Eye Is On The Sparrow, How Big Is God, and How Great Thou Art. Joyce and her sister JoAnn sang another medley as a duet; There Is A Fountain, The Old Rugged Cross and Room At The Cross For You, then Pastor David Shinault lead the service. Pastor Shinault explained to the congregation that he had some Jewish heritage in his family, and because of that, he has an interest in Jewish culture. He went on to expound upon the way that the Jews celebrated the Seder feast (or Passover). During the feast there were four cups of wine poured. Pastor Shinault had a small table upon which sat four goblets and a pitcher of grape juice that he used for a visual. The first cup was the cup of Sanctification, the second cup represented the Plagues of Egypt, and therefore was not taken, and the third cup was my favorite! – it was the cup of Blessing! To illustrate this, he sat the cup in a bowl and let the grape juice overflow the goblet rim and into the bowl. After the fourth cup, the cup of Elijah, we took communion, and went to our classes.
On Friday I did something unusual while going to the Group Piano class – I rode the elevator! (I tried to avoid that thing as much as possible all week … it seriously freaks me out! LOL!) Well, as it “dinged” and the door slid open to the second floor of the Curtsinger Building, there was a crew ripping up the carpet. I thought, “No big deal, there is construction going on all over the campus.” Then, I stepped out onto the carpetless floor and almost lost my flip-flops! Apparently, the glue, which was very sticky, clung to the floor and was sticking to our shoes – making it very, very difficult to walk! We looked a little like Zombies who couldn’t get from point A to point B! As you can imagine, the guys on the carpet crew thought that was kind of funny, though they tried to stifle their laughs! It was fun to sit in the classroom and listen for the elevators “ding.” It went something like this: first you would hear happy chatter – then a slight, “OH!” – and finally, someone ultimately would exclaim, “It’s sticky!” Anyway, Josh Singletary taught the final class of the week, his lesson was entitled The Role Of The Accompanist. He told us what to do, and what not to do, and gave some great tips on questions that were a little off subject too! After class everyone kind of hung around and visited or went on over to the piano lab.
Graduation and Tribute Concert:
As three o’clock rolled around everyone made their way into Dixon Hall for graduation and a concert with Tribute. Diana, a good friend of mine and fellow blogger, found me and we chatted for a little bit before the program started. Diana travels to many concerts during the year and does a great job with her blog, http://sgconcerts.com, be sure to visit her site and see what she’s been up too!
John Rowsey kicked off the congregational singing with Through It All (this little song seemed to be the theme song all week!) During the week, in the evenings, they had choir practice for those who were interested. The choir had five days to practice three songs for tonight. I might mention, they only had twenty minutes each day to learn these three songs. An awesome accomplishment, especially when you listen to the videos of the choir!!! So, as the teachers were giving instructions to the choir as to where to stand, Steve came out and said, “Before we were getting ready to start this afternoon, Stephen Nix came up to me and asked if we had a couple of extra minutes for them to do something. I know better than to do this, but I told him OK!” Stephen had the songwriting class come up and sing this song they wrote in tribute to this year’s school. The song was called …. “Oh No! – It’s Chicken Again!” (In honor of the food that we were served all week in the cafeteria). It was hilarious to say the least!
Getting back to the choir, the first number they sang was the popular BFA song, Coming Of The King. The up-tempo beat was a good contrast to the ballad to come. For Thou, Oh Lord, was the powerful song to be encored at least three times. To hear the choir sing it was amazing! The voices rang out in the auditorium!
When the choir concluded their special music, the staff was introduced and recognized. Then, came the reading of student’s names for graduation. Steve said that in years past they use to line everyone up and have them come on stage to get their diploma – but that just took too long! They decided they would rather use their time for some fun and singing rather than bore everyone with that! So after our names were read and students stood for recognition, we went right into a concert with Tribute!
Steve introduced Tribute by giving a little of their background, and of course, spoke of their recent bus fire accident. He said that he didn’t want to go into it too much, but what he did mention is well worth mentioning again! Steve said that when the bus caught fire, the man who was following Tribute on the highway at the time just happened to be a firefighter! He called the fire department right away – before Tribute even knew their bus was on fire and before they stopped their bus on the side of the road, the Fire Department was on their way. Isn’t it awesome how the Lord puts the right people, in the right places, at the right time, when His children need them?
Tribute opened their concert with a song from their new Cd (Titled The Waiting Is Over) called
He Is Leading The Way. This fast song brought everyone to their feet from the get go and kept them there through the whole song, … clapping and everything! Before the next song started, Josh hollered out to the crowd, (in only a way that he can do) “Ya’ll are waring’ us out already – sit down!” I’ve Been Blessed came next, and was done back to back with Sweeter As The Days Go By. Riley was featured on another new song, Homecoming Day. Half way through the ballad he turned and sang a few lines to the choir members sitting behind him, the expression on his face showed how much he believes in what he is singing about. The crowd reacted with a standing ovation and an encore was set in order! Riley held a very strong note transitioning into the chorus again. “I haven’t cried this much in years!” Gary said summing up the whole week. Continuing on, he talked about how
everyone needs to be doing something more for the Kingdom of God. “If you read the Word,” said Gary, “you know we are living in the signs of the times. You may say, ‘But I heard my grandpa say that and his grandpa too!’ I understand, but we have never been in the place we are now as a
nation.” He touched a little on their bus story too, and shared how some thought Tribute should stay off the road for a while after that event. You want to know what Gary told them? He said, “I don’t need a bus to share the gospel message. If I have to travel in a horse and buggy to make it to a concert, I will!” The next song on the set flowed perfectly with the thoughts of everything he spoke about, and that one was That’s Why I Love Him So. Gary had everyone sing the chorus with them at the end, and then they went into I Am Healed. They brought Sheri Forbes up to sing a verse with them (she penned the ballad). The concert closed with a great new song called Bring On The Joy. This fast quartet song was a perfect way to end graduation! The lyrics were just what was needed to send students home with ~ bring on the joy indeed!
After collecting my diploma and one of Tribute’s new Cd’s, I headed over to the cafeteria where we had a special graduation meal and cake. The meal, we thought, surely would not have chicken in it – unfortunately, it did! Fried chicken or Salisbury steak were the choices! LOL! The cooks baked a special cake for Steve to celebrate the 20th Anniversary. When they brought the cake out and Steve went to blow the candles out, he said, “These are probably the ones that won’t go out!” Would you believe they were?!! He recruited Gary to come help him blow the candles out and succeeded after a few more tries … actually, I think he just took his finger and snuffed it out! Joyce was happy to be able to give Steve one more present for the schools 20th Anniversary. This last one was a scrapbook of letters and pictures from over the years. Steve was ecstatic! My
favorite part of the celebration was when they brought out all of the cooks and had the choir sing For Thou, Oh Lord to them. Since the cafeteria was not built for sound, the vocals bounced off the wall and made the volume go up – it sounded like you had a thousand voices in there! It was very cool! The cooks were very appreciative also, I wish you could have seen some of the expressions on their faces. Steve thanked each one individually and gave them all hugs.
When the meal was over everyone visited with each other and took pictures. There was a L-O-N-G receiving line to talk to Steve! Tribute had a pretty good line going too! After talking to everyone, we headed back to our dorm. Actually, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves! We became so use to the structure of the week, when they ended the day early, everyone was like, “What do we do now?” Some sat in the lobbies and sang hymns … we sat in our hallway and chatted with some friends we made over the week. Boy did we have a blast! – I laughed so hard my side hurt!!! There were a few pranks going on in those hallways … it’s good to be among those who love the Lord!