Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Savior Is Waiting

My mom is sort of just now going through - or maybe going through again - a lot of e-mails she recieved when my Dad passed away last October. She just forwarded this to me. I think it's a really cool story. I think it shows a little what a great influence my Dad was on church music - especially back when Ministers of Music were sort of a new thing in churches. I hope you don't mind me bragging a little. The organist who wrote this is named Wally.

Olivet Baptist Church, Oklahoma City

Bill became my friend when I played on the first recording of the Singing Churchmen and he invited me to play at Olivet a few times when the organist was not there. I called him one day and said, " Bill, I just heard an invitation hymn that I think is the best to come in a long time and I called the composer in LA and asked him if it was available for choir, and he said, that it was not available, and I said, well, I am going to be playing the piano at Falls Creek and I would like to arrange it for the choir, and he replied, you may be my guest. I would enjoy hearing the choir if you do. So, I asked Bill if he would take down the dictation as I arranged it, and he said he would.

I went down to Olivet and we went in that same choir room and as I played it, he wrote the notes and then wrote the words in, and we mimeographed 200 copies of it, and I took it with me to Falls Creek and Gene passed it out to the choir and we all fell in love with, " The Savior is waiting". I had my recorder and I recorded the choir singing it, and then when I came home, I made a copy and sent it to Ralph Carmichael. He wrote me back and said that he really enjoyed it and since I had his address and phone number, I gave it to Gene and he and Ralph became fast friends.

They collaborated on many things after that, but it was Bill and me who introduced it as a choir arrangement. Ralph was then the minister of music for the Baptist Temple in Los Angeles, and he wrote it for his church as an invitation hymn. The arrangement was copied and went like a wild fire into churches in Oklahoma and Texas. I introduced it to Johnny Bisagno when I would fill in for their organist at Del City, and Johnny used it everywhere.

Bill and I shared many smiles afterwards when we would reminesce about that encounter. I played for his church in Tulsa several times also. He was a big booster of mine, and I was very proud of that.

I saw him at Olivet a few months ago at a choir concert and we decided to get together for lunch and talk about old times. I thought we had more time to do that. I liked him.

You can read more about Ralph Carmichael here

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