In the late 1980s and through the 90s, I sat on several committees of my local church. First, I was a member of the property committee, then took over chairing when my mentor wanted to take a break from leading. Then I was on the official board (or council as it was called), which I chaired in 1994-1995. At one point, I became close to starting the process to work toward ordination, but different life events and choices made that pathway unrealistic. In retrospect, I don’t regret having not taken that route.
Anyway, during those years I spent a lot of my free time in the building at meetings or tending to volunteer jobs. If I was just popping in for a brief discussion, I would often take my two young boys with me during the time I was a stay-at-home dad from 1993 to 1996.
One evening after a meeting, a few of us lingered in the main hallway while some young people were rehearsing music pieces in the church hall, maybe for a school musical or perhaps a coffee house; I don’t remember exactly. When we started listening in a young woman, in her mid-teens, was at the piano singing “Summertime,” George Gershwin’s famous aria from the opera Porgy and Bess. She had a magnificent voice and such a presence that I can still remember her singing. I also recall that at the end of the song, she reverted to being an awkward and shy youth.
The song has always stayed with me because of that evening. It popped into my mind sitting in the summer porch today on this 31°C / 88°F (with the humidity, feels like 39 / 102) day, sheltered from the hot sun while doing some work, watching some cycling videos, and deciding what song to post today.
When searching for versions of the song, I was attracted to the depth of soulful sound in Annie Lennox’s rendition, from her 2014 album Nostalgia (which I just bought from the iTunes Store after hearing some more smoking-hot tracks from it on YouTube’s autoplay). I’ve featured Lennox before in one of my favourite posts, on “Stay By Me.” I think her version of “Summertime” reminds me a little of the memory of hearing it serendipitously in that hallway.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the video for the song from Annie Lennox’s official YouTube channel: