It was at the Easter service at the Cullowhee Methodist Church that I heard the male quartet sing those words. Their voices and the words were astounding to this third grader who had never heard music sung like this before.
Our family had previously attended the little frame church named Davis Chapel in Iron Duff, N.C. This church had been built by my great-great-grandfather Frank Davis and his sons. There was no choir and I believe that our Dad was the best singer in the congregation. Here we were living in the college community of Western Carolina Teachers College and enjoying the benefits.
The words came through loud and clear from the choir loft as these men lustily sang the hymn Christ Is Risen. I was impressed and enlightened. Little did I know that eight or nine years later that I would be singing barbershop in four-part harmony.
This all came back to me this morning at the Easter Sunrise service. Lucy and I were sitting in a pew at the Bevill Hill Methodist Church when the congregation was asked to turn to the page that presented these wonderful words to me again. I sang “up from the grave he arose” with as much energy as I could muster but I could not match the sounds that I heard as an eight-year-old when I listened with admiration to these four young men singing for us. I am guessing today that they came over from the college to give us this treat.
We did not have television then and radio music usually came through with a lot of static and very poor sound quality. This made real live singing even more impressive to our deprived ears. This same type of appreciation came to me and my siblings when Uncle Hugh Rogers visited us in Jupiter, N. C. with his guitar and harmonica to sing ” Froggy Went A-courting” to us. (I hope to tell you more of this story about Uncle Hugh when my next book is published.)
And so, Easter came to us early this morning with the sunshine of spring. As I sat in the swing on the porch of the Little White House, the songs of a mockingbird coming from the direction of a nearby wisteria vine gave my ears another amazing treat.