By now, as a blog reader, you know that Bryan loves music and enjoys singing himself. Perhaps that is because he comes from a musical family.
Ever since he was a tike, Bryan was always by my side, sitting on my lap or the piano bench beside me as we sang Sesame Street songs, nursery rhymes, Christmas carols, hymns and popular songs together along with his sister, Amy.
Bryan would come with us to choral concerts where we’d enjoy hearing the voices of the Bucks County Choral Society. Among those who sang in that organization in the early 1970s and 1980s were Bryan’s grandmother and grandfather Johnson. They joined the group shortly after it was formed almost fifty years ago.
Eventually, Ed and I joined the group in the early 90s and daughter, Amy, came on board in 2009. In fact, Amy currently sits on the Board of Directors of this organization. It was a blessing to sing for a few years with my mother-in-law in the soprano section before she “retired”. Upon retirement, grandmother, grandfather and grandson would sit together in the church pew listening to our choral offerings for many years, supporting our efforts.
Sometimes the larger choral works with full orchestra would be too much for Bryan’s sensitive ears. He’d sit in the audience covering them with his hands. And, yet, I think he enjoys the excitement of those concerts which include orchestra – especially works like the Verdi and Berlioz Requiems. Watching his family sing and the constant orchestral activity keeps his attention focused on the concert at hand, despite his A.D.D.
It is rare that Bryan misses attending a concert. We never force him to go. It is always his choice. He has even contributed monetarily to the organization, his name appearing in the program. When we are short on ushers to collect tickets and pass out programs, Bryan is always eager to help at the back of the “house”, an artificial red rose with baby’s breath pinned to the lapel of his navy blue sports coat.
At most concerts, whether he is ushering or not, he is able to sit with his Aunt Barbara and Uncle Dick, who frequently come in from Reading to hear our choral programs.
That will be the case this weekend as we sing some glorious choral works for choir with organ in Doylestown (Doylestown Presbyterian Church at 4:00 on Saturday) and in Philadelphia (The Episcopal Cathedral at 4:00 on Sunday). I bet he he will cover his ears at the FORTE passages!
I often wonder what goes through his mind while attending our concerts as he sits apart from his family and listens. I bet he would love to participate. He does get that opportunity to sing along at our Christmas concerts, joining in on the carols and the “Hallelujah Chorus” with gusto. But, does he mind being the only one in his immediate family NOT singing on stage? He never says, but I bet he wistfully sighs from time to time, longing to join us. Yes, the repertoire is too difficult for him to master, but I guarantee the desire is there.
We count on seeing his smiling face and waving hand from the audience as we perform. He is our biggest fan. And being an important part of the audience means so much to all of us, including our dear friends in the B.C.C.S. family, who count and greet Bryan as one of their own as well. After all, he has been coming to our concerts for almost 35 years!