In my previous blog, I introduced you to Andy Meginniss, an inductee into the Alabama Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2011, and a member of the bluegrass group Three on a String (based in Birmingham, Alabama).
As I indicated, Andy's group (and several other groups Andy has joined during his long career in music) sings Best of Friends as their closing number. With the assistance of my high school choral director, Dr. Bill Caldwell, I was introduced to Andy and the song. My first thought was..."What a wonderful way to leave a concert, with the audience knowing "presence" was appreciated." Such a great thing! It seems to be a perfect song for these days of singing with our friends.
As I listened to the words, I thought about all of us in choral music...students, choral directors, choir members in churches, choral professionals, retired choral professionals, those who play instruments in ensembles, those who sing in small ensembles, those who perform professionally on the stage, and those who write for "all of the above."
Best of Friends speaks for all of us who love making music with our friends (as Willie would say). Willie Nelson has been the voice of wisdom for decades, and I think we finally "got" that song in 2020, as everyone was "chomping at the bit" to get on the road again. We had to wait, and it was the most incredible exercise in patience I've experienced in a while...wait on the vaccine...wait to sing again...wait for normalcy.
If nothing else came out of 2020, it was an immense appreciation for our friends...our unaccessible friends (for many months). It was an emotional time for some. Singing is the aural representation of pure joy, and without it, life becomes quite empty and we lose our way (just like the St. Francis reference).
Since we have this amazing gift at this moment (we won't take singing for granted again!), let's use it to celebrate our friends!!
When you visit Earlene Rentz Online Publications, you will find an audio example of Andy singing Best of Friends at the bottom of each page. There is also an electronic choral example provided as well. In addition, Andy has created an MP3 accompaniment with guitar, bass, drums, and piano (free).
The focus of the song refers to the love of friendship, knowing that we remain in the hearts of those with whom we enjoy music, whether in their presence or not.
"We know even best of friends must sometimes be apart, and we'll always keep your memory in our heart."
Enjoy making music with your friends!