My parents and brother came to visit me and my husband over the holidays. On Christmas Eve, we gobbled down spaghetti and meatballs, then headed into San Francisco for the OIGC ensemble show at Slim’s. My family had never heard the choir before, and they were blown away by the performance. (Rightly so!) They were especially impressed with my favorite songs: the get-up-and-dance “Jesus Will,” the tear-jerking “Worth,” and Terrance's amazing rendition of "O Holy Night." In fact, my mom found the original versions of the first two songs on YouTube and listened to them for days, saying how she wanted her church choir back in Mississippi to try and sing them. She also repeated how OIGC should record both songs, so she could hear them over and over.
After my parents went home, my brother stayed with us two extra weeks. Jeremy is a few years younger than me, and he has Down syndrome. While he was here, we had an 80’s party, went to the movies, bowling, karaoke, and more. We also attended “In the Name of Love,” the Martin Luther King tribute put on by Living Jazz. When I asked Jeremy his favorite part of the concert, he told me it was when Terrance sang “Strange Fruit.”
One of the highlights of the trip for Jeremy was going to community choir rehearsal with me. I left him at the back of the church listening to music through his headphones before I went to sit with the altos. Rehearsals are always fun—full of joy and warmth and lots of laughter. Terrance often uses humor to get his point across, and I hear my cackle come through loud and clear as I practice to my recordings. When we were done, I headed towards the back to get Jeremy. He had a big grin on his face, as he told me he wanted to meet Terrance.
We pushed through the crowd of people in the aisle. After we got to the front, Jeremy shook Terrance’s hand and said, “Thank you for making me a better singer.” Then they hugged. (If only I had thought to take a picture!)
On the drive home, Jeremy and I belted out one of the new songs we had been working on. I can make it, I can stand. Guide my feet, hold my hand. We sang it again one day driving back from the Peninsula. One morning when I woke Jeremy up, he told me he had been singing the song in his dreams.
Towards the end of his visit, he asked me if he would get to see Terrance again. I told Jeremy he’d have to wait for the next trip, as there wouldn’t be a chance. So he wrote Terrance a letter. Here is a snippet:
My voice is not. Your voice is good. Your voice is powerful. I love it. I want my voice to be better. You help people. You did a good job. Thank you!
Terrance definitely has a new fan. And seeing him through Jeremy’s eyes, I realize how lucky I am to work with him in the office and through the community choir... and how blessed all of us are to have his guidance.