Being in A Cappella was an amazing thing. I grew up in Searcy which made it easy to go to A Cappella concerts when they performed on campus or in local churches. Since my mom had been a part of the group when she was a student at Harding, I was also able to go to the A Cappella reunions at Homecoming. In my child’s view of the world, A Cappella members and alumni were celebrities and the director, Dr. Kenneth Davis, Jr., was the superstar of them all.
When I was a junior in high school, I really didn’t want to go to Harding. Searcy had been home for most of my life and the idea of staying here just didn’t seem all that grand. There were parts of the Harding tradition that I wanted to be a part of so I figured I would spend two years at a junior college, transfer back here and finish up at Harding. The best of both worlds, right?
I filled out the applications, got some very generous scholarship offers and started making my plans.
Then I heard that Dr. Davis (known as Uncle Bud) was seriously considering retirement and realized that if I took two years to go to school somewhere else, then I might not ever get a chance to be in Uncle Bud’s A Cappella. Wow. I couldn’t take that risk, so I shifted gears and decided to stay here. Before school started, I went to music camp and during registration I auditioned. The next day, my name was on the list of call backs, which was a group experience that was held in the old recording studio.
One of the happiest moments in those early weeks of my first semester was seeing my name on the final list of those who had made A Cappella. My roommate Martha also made it and so did Susan who lived next door. I don’t know what it meant to them, but for me, it was a lifetime of expectation coming to fruition.
Twenty years later, this experience still impacts my life. When Uncle Bud passed away, I attended his memorial service. Other than my grandmother’s, it was the emotionally hardest one I’ve attended. I can’t fully express how my one year in his choir affected me. Today I’m occasionally able to sing with groups of A Cappella alumni and those times are some of the richest experiences of my adult life. Singing is always a blessing, but singing with others who expericed Uncle Bud’s A Cappella Chorus is a small foretaste of singing in Heaven.
Turn up your volume and enjoy John Brown University singing one piece that made all of our experiences in A Cappella unforgettable.