Strange connections from my past

Wanna hear a story?  Sure you do.  You’re on your computer, so you’re probably looking for something interesting to read.

I’ll make this brief.  A few years ago, I became aware of a “brush with weirdness” that I had not previously realized.  I was in Michigan, visiting my grandmother (who has since passed away), when she pulled out some memorabilia she had stored away for many years.  And she gave me the things that concerned me.  Among the photos and bits of paper was an article from the Houston Chronicle, dated from 1968.  It was a review of a concert performed by The University Singers.  And it mentioned me.

I remembered the concert, vaguely.  I had been brought in by my sister’s flute teacher, who was going to be playing recorder for the concert.  They were looking for a percussionist and I was a suitable choice: I could read and play the parts, I was available, and I was free-of-cost.  I remember a rehearsal with the musicians and one with the choir.  I have only fleeting recollections of the concert itself.  I was 12 at the time.

So anyway, my grandmother gave me the article and her copy of the program, which she had lovingly tucked away all those years ago.

In the article I was referred to as “a stinger of a percussionist … who has neither enough years nor size to qualify as even a micro-bopper.”  This was, of course, during the days of the “teenyboppers.”

But that wasn’t what caught my attention.  As I read the program and newspaper article, I was struck by the name of the conductor — Herff Applewhite.  I knew that name had been in the news some years back.  Then it hit me.  That’s the man who later changed his name to “Do”(pronounced “Doh!”) and became the leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult.

Yes, I once performed under the direction of this wild-eyed fanatic, who later led a suicide cult.  Like I said, a “brush with weirdness.”  You are now free to make your own joke, oblique reference, or comment such as “Well, that explains a lot of things.”

Had my grandmother not been so careful to keep the odds and ends connected with the lives of her grandchildren, I’d have never seen these bits of paper, nor made the connection.  But, just when you think life cannot get any more peculiar, something like this shows up.  🙂

Thanks, Grandma.  I miss you every day.

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