Sunday, October 17, 2021

Best of Friends


Andy Meginniss

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!!

Best of Friends is available in Unison2-Part3-Part MixedSSATBTTB, and TBB.

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!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Welcome, Andy Meginniss!


Andy Meginniss

Andy Meginniss was inducted into the Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2011. His expertise in bluegrass music is highly regarded throughout the nation, and he continues to perform today. 

From 1972 to 1985, Andy Meginniss played string bass, guitar, and sang lead and harmony vocals as part of the bluegrass group Three on a String. During his tenure, the band traveled extensively and recorded four albums; playing festivals, clubs, and concerts. 

In 1985, Andy joined with Claire Lynch, Larry Lynch, and Herb Trotman in the Front Porch String Band. This collaboration lasted eight years, and culminated in the critically acclaimed album Lines and Traces in 1991.

At the same time, he partnered with a couple of old friends, Stan Putnam and Dan Lakeman, in the acoustic trio Rosewood. This group recorded one self titled album, and they continue to play together today. 

Also, during this period, he teamed with his brother and two others in the musical Cotton Patch Gospel,  performing for 25 years in various venues.

Cotton Patch Gospel

In 1993, he became the guitar player and lead vocalist for The Herb Trotman Band, a bluegrass ensemble that performed steadily until 2012. 

He rejoined Three on a String in 2012, and this group celebrated its 50th anniversary in August, 2021.

Andy is married with two grown children, and lives with his wife in Homewood, Alabama.

Earlene Rentz Online Publications welcomes Andy Meginniss, and is proud to offer many choral voicings of Three on a String's concert closer Best of Friends in Unison2-PartSSA, 3-Part MixedTB, TTB, and TBB. The past 20 months have shown us all that friends and family are the most priceless treasures in our lives. Choral directors can use this soulful rendition as a standard song in saying, "Farewell" to students, audiences, and loved ones. In fact, it is a unifying song for bus rides, at the end of tough competitions, concert closers, and any time we need to be reminded of the value of friends.

You never know where Andy and Three on a String will show up to play a concert. It might be in a small or large venue...and it might even be in a concert hall with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Earlene Rentz Online Publications is proud to be associated with Andy, knowing that you will love their concert closing title Best of Friends, written by Andy Meginniss.

Andy Meginniss, Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 2011