Monday, July 19, 2010

Reunion Choir

Marinell and I enjoyed a remarkable weekend with friends and family. The occasion was a reunion of the youth choir at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA; the church I grew up in and where my parents are still members and my father is a deacon. The youth choir was called the "Chapel Choir" and included about a hundred high school students. The reunion group spanned a period of about 20 years. Sincere thanks go to all who helped organize the reunion.

Like most reunions, we approached this one with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. This group included some of the people we were closest to in our teenage years as well as many whom we had never met because they came either before or after us. It had been thirty or thirty five years since we had seen most of these old friends. The weekend included a number of social events along with several hours of choir practice in preparation for singing at two worship services on Sunday morning. It was fun to visit and see the different directions everyone had gone and how adulthood had actually caught up with all of us. We realized that, in addition to me and Marinell, several other married couples had been brought together during those years. We even had the opportunity to stand in the church chapel where we were married thirty six years-a-ago (as of August 9th), and have our picture made again.

We were also blessed to have our choir director, Jim Castle, return to lead us again. As kids, Mr. Castle was a commanding figure who had the ability to control a room full of teenagers and actually produce incredible music. At least where the boys were concerned, it would be something like trying to teach a herd of hogs to sing. Mr. Castle was more like a football coach that demanded promptness and discipline, and who also consistently produced a winning team. He taught us how to do more than we ever thought we could. As we grow older many of us have come to see more and more what our parents did for us, even though we couldn't see it at the time. What aggravated us at the time (because we thought they were being too hard or unreasonable), we now see was for our good and was necessary for our progress. Mr. Castle was not unlike our parents in this regard. Thank you Mr. Castle; God used you in our lives and is still using those lessons to form us into His image.

Like so many other things in our lives that we cannot see or appreciate at the time, the Chapel Choir of Broadmoor Baptist Church was clearly an instrument of God in our lives. Relationships and memories were made that prepared us for so many other opportunities that would come our way. To reunite with so many who not only still love the Lord, but who also are still serving Him in a variety of ways, gave fresh perspective to what God has done in the past and how He did it. It also brought perspective to what we are doing now and why it's important. We often can't see at the moment how our labor and ministry in our churches and families are impacting the lives of our children and others. Faith and obedience form character little-by-little over a long period of time. Thankfully, God frequently gives us a glimpse of what He is doing, yet much remains unseen.

Thank you Broadmoor Baptist Church for a faithful ministry that has spanned generations. Thanks to the pastors and teachers and choir directors and parents and friends. Thanks for all who gave and served and labored and prayed. Thanks for all that we saw you do and for all the unseen sacrifices. What you put in the river upstream continues to flow downstream. May the Lord bless you!


  1. Ditto to your comments, Randy. I too enjoyed visiting with folks I knew years ago. Many have done well in their faith and with their families, other need our continued prayers. Those of us in churches that have been around only a couple of decades can learn from churches that have continue to build a strong ministry for over 75 years.

    Tom Lincoln

  2. How I wish I could have been there. Thanks for posting the clip of My Eternal King. It is still a song that I sing often to myself. Mr. Castle is the thanks for that. Most of us didn't probably come to appreciate Mr. C until much later as adults. I would have to say we were on the cutting of church even though we didn't know it at the time. The other classic is St. Francis' Prayer. I didn't even know what I was singing then, but later came to appreciate those words as I read them years later.
    I could write much more but will simply say, "Thanks be to God for parents, the faith foundation we received at BBC, the many lay-people who modeled faith & church, and so many more (Fleet Howell, Billy Hamm, the Hoods, the Cunninghams...and the list could go on but I can't remember them all).
    Peace be with you!
    Paul Kent, Tulsa OK (writing from Harvard, Cambridge, MA)

  3. Randy, very well said. Two days later, I still choke up when I try to tell people how wonderful this weekend was.
    -- David Kent
    (Capt. Shreve HS 1971)

  4. Stacie Lafitte Sydow Byrd '81August 26, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    Thank you for posting the video of My God Eternal. I live in VA and missed the reunion but am sure it was an amazing weekend. I got chill bumps listening to the video and found myself singing along as all the words came right back to me. BBC will always be a special place to me.
    Stacie Lafitte Sydow