Craig Vick's Scattered Thoughts

Adventures in Virtual Community

A Song for Roger

6 Comments

I love musicals. My collection of DVDs includes a whole shelf of musicals and old monster movies (I’ll have more to say about the monster movies in a future post). I’m embarrassed to admit that I have several DVDs that I’ve only played once. This isn’t the case with my musicals. I watch them over and over.

At times it is fashionable to proclaim that the musical is dead. We are told that musicals are simply a flight from the very harsh realities of life. In real life, people don’t break out into song. Films should tell the truth rather than provide escapist fare.

I recall a Candid Camera episode that took up this theme. The crew set up a coffee shop with singers, dancers and hidden cameras. When an unsuspecting customer placed an order the whole place burst into a song and dance number. The scene gave rise to laughter because normal people don’t really know what to do in a musical. It was very funny. I noticed something else, however. The customers rather enjoyed the experience. In real life we don’t burst into song and dance. Maybe we should!

In high school I was in several school musicals. I was Baby John from West Side Story, an understudy in Oklahoma and The King and I, as well as the mayor of Munchkin city in the county of the Land of Oz. When I watch these musicals I’m flooded with wonderful memories. My passion for musicals, however, isn’t simply nostalgic. Musicals, even some of the silly ones, express what is for me a profound truth. I live in a world full of song. I hear music all around me. When I sing, I join a chorus. Many will say I’m delusional. Perhaps I am. Then again perhaps I hear something they don’t or can’t.

Roger, a friend and brother in the Lord, died last week. Like me, Roger loved musicals. He loved to sing. He would often walk into a room singing or break out into a song suggested by our conversation. Even while approaching death he sang. A few weeks ago at the hospital he sang The Sound of Music with so much joy that a nurse joined in.

Roger, you gave much to me and to everyone that knew you. We will miss you. Your life was full of grace. Concerning music, you were right. The hills really are alive with the sound of music.

6 thoughts on “A Song for Roger

  1. What a lovely way to remember your friend, Craig!

    Years ago, my husband and I took our four children across Europe. We did this on very little money. In Saltzburg, Austria, there were all sorts of tourist traps advertising a real “Sound of Music” experience: paying guests could eat crisp apple strudel while “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes” sang about their favorite things. We could not afford that particular trap. But we did find a hill. My children sat in a shelter and I ran up the hill, singing, “The hills are alive!”, twirling and looking as much like a distracted nun as I could. The teenagers rolled their eyes and pretended not to know me, but by the end of our “show” we had attracted two homeless men, who applauded with gusto. It’s a wonderful memory. And even those who were embarrassed teenagers then recall it fondly now.

    Music is one of God’s great gifts. Most of us find songs that bring us peace or joy. They become ours, even if we don’t sing them out loud. For many of us, hymns and musical stories are irresistible. We must sing–just as your friend did, even in his declining days. Enya has a lovely piece which describes this:

    My life goes on in endless song
    Above earths lamentations,
    I hear the real, though far-off hymn
    That hails a new creation.

    Through all the tumult and the strife
    I hear its music ringing,
    It sounds an echo in my soul.
    How can I keep from singing?

  2. Thanks Margaret,

    That’s a great picture. I would have loved to have been there to encourage you to climb every mountain. I’ve no doubt that you found a place of much greater music than the tourist trap. Thanks for the piece from Enya. The new creation was at the heart of Roger’s singing.

  3. This is a moving post!

    I enjoy musicals, as well. Not surprising that we have this in common I guess.

    This past spring I did the set for our middle school spring musical, Fiddler on the Roof. While I worked painting and stabilizing flats, I would put Pandora.com on musicals radio. I had an endless hit song list from musicals, which I would not only have to belt away on while I painted but to which I would some times break into center stage and dance. The joy of being unwatched!!

    I hear so much truth about people in the lyrics–our hopes, dreams and foibles–all reduced to the measure of a song. I understand why you watch them over and over Craig!

  4. Thanks ded,

    Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorites. I wonder if it is at those times when we know we’re unwatched that we enter into that place that Jesus describes in Matthew 6:6.

    I’ll have to check out pandora.com. It sounds like a great site.

  5. That’s quite a tribute, Craig. During the years I directed the choir to which he contributed so much, Roger’s willingness to burst into song never failed to bring a smile. I’ve written my own tribute to him, and asked for its publication in the Church newsletter, but I herewith include it for those who don’t subscribe to the newsletter.

    Friends are loans from God, to tide you over until Payday.
    – Chuck Petitt

    My Friend

    To walk the path of life demands that pain must be endured,
    That madness rule, that loss occur, and we are not inured.
    No matter the grief thy life’s endured, whate’er thy trail has been,
    Your friend will help you rise above to, after, live again!

    We ask a lot from friends we love; they ask of us, also
    With glad hearts each accommodates; for friends we gladly do
    That which they ask, that which they need, without complaint or groan,
    A burden shared is lighter far, than bearing it alone!

    My friend could ask for anything, I’d try to see it through,
    For if I asked the same of him, no doubt he’d go and do.
    I watched him as he selflessly improved the lot of all,
    Wherever there was need or want, responding to the call.

    A caring man called home by God, his work on earth now done,
    I’ll miss him, although I rejoice he’s in his heav’nly home!
    I’ll journey on, with other friends with whom we’ve shared the strife,
    ‘Til that glad day I join him there, to share Eternal Life!

    Dedicated to My Friend, Roger Schaeffer
    Chuck Petitt
    June, 2009

  6. Thanks Chuck,

    Roger was a good friend and amazingly, a good friend to many.

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