A great part of who I am is because of who my Father is - Bill Littleton. I did a google search for "Bill Littleton music" and found a really nice guy in Nashville that sings country music. He's not my dad. My dad is a church musician. He was a Minister of Music back in the days when music ministers were something new in the churches. He was the best Oklahoma had. He was an innovator and the first to try new things. We were one of the first churches to have handbells, one of the first churches to have an orchestra and one of the first to do hour long TV specials featuring our choirs and orchestra. I remember all of this mostly from our time at Eastwood Baptist Church in Tulsa.
Dad is the one who not only taught me great musicianship - through his own musicianship and through directing choirs and orchestras that I was a member of - but also the importance of music in worship and as a tool to reach the lost. He emphasized how important it is to use music that reaches and speaks to people. He taught me about faith, following God and loving people.
One of my favorite quotes of dad's that I like to say is "if you can't play it right, play it loud." I don't know that he said it a lot, but I remember it a lot. I think the point of it was to show confidence in what you do. So much of leading and making music is in your self confidence. Confidence shines through and makes you a better musician and a more effective person. I don't mean arrogance. Dad was very confident and very good, but he was never arrogant. Everyone was his friend - church members, other music ministers, pastors...
Dad wrote a lot of great music and had his own music publishing company, Fine Arts Music Press, for many years. He wrote orchestrations for the orchestra when he couldn't find music. His hard work was a great inspiration for me and taught me that a person could do anything if they trusted in God and His direction and worked long and hard.
Dad is retired now and lives in Oklahoma City near his brothers and sisters. He's active in his church choir and singing with the Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma. (He directed them for a couple of years in the late 60s or early 70s.)
Of course not everything from Dad was great. I think I can blame the Littletons for bad teeth and high blood pressure. But compared to all of the great things I got from them, I guess that's not bad...
Happy Father's Day, Dad.