I was looking up Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians because I remember some recordings I listened to as a child, and I came across this…consider that the year was 1952 and while you are looking at the video, notice how many other African-Americans are in the group.
I copied the following from the You Tube link:
Uploaded by FredWaringsAmerica on Jan 10, 2012
In 1952, an African-American baritone named Frank Davis from Xavier University stepped on to the stage at CBS to perform in the Varsity Show Case on The Fred Waring Show. The Varsity Show Case was a special spot used to feature musical talent from colleges and universities across the United States. Once Frank began singing, America and Fred Waring knew there was unmistakable talent and magnificence in Davis’ voice and presence. Waring soon hired him to be a part of his choral group known as The Pennsylvanians, and Davis toured with the group from 1952-1959 and also performed regularly on The Fred Waring Show on CBS. He reunited with Waring for his 1968-1969 American show tour.
Davis’ voice broke performance sound barriers as well as color barriers that existed in America during the 1950s. Davis, as part of Waring’s Pennsylvanians, toured America including the racially divided American South. Waring, resistant of the prejudicial culture that existed in much of America, would not take his Pennsylvanians to any establishment, hotel, or performance venue unless all members, regardless of skin color, were admitted and given equal privileges. Waring famously would refuse to perform with the curtain lifted on stage if any resistance to Davis’ presence was met, and after delivering this ultimatum to the stage manager and being allowed to perform, Waring would never return to the city that had resisted his African-American baritone. Delivering soulful renditions of famous spirituals, hymns, and James Weldon Johnson’s “God’s Trombones,” Davis’ story as an African-American singer in the 1950s on the big stage of television and theatres is remarkable and significant. His voice was truly an incredible gift.
Birds sing their hearts out to greet the morning. The only exception seems to be if it’s raining (or snowing, I suppose, although I have no personal experience of that).
Such joyous music! And I thought: Why doesn’t my heart automatically make such joyous sounds of praise to my God when I get up in the morning? Am I not a higher creature than the birds? Hasn’t my heavenly Father done infinitely more for me that for tiny birds? Should not my praise explode from my heart spontaneously as theirs does?
Then I thought about how I allow the cares of this world to dampen my spirit. I’m convinced that if I wasn’t so consumed with thinking about all the things I have to do and where I’m going to go and how I’m going to pay all of the bills I’ve managed to rack up for myself, my spirit would well up with a song to my Father that I wouldn’t be able to contain any more than the birds can contain theirs.
God reminded me of Jesus’ words: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you…”
As I continue along my new journey(more about that later), seeking simple gifts and drawing my daily living down to a place that free of distractions, I’m convinced that I will be opened up to see more of God’s work in the world, hear more clearly what He speaks through His word, and respond with praise and the clarity to do what He wants me to do.
Next time you’re out early in the morning…listen to the birds. The songs God has given them are glorious, and yet they pale in comparison to the praises that are and will be lifted up as we walk in His presence.
And now, just because I’m me–I wanted to share this wonderful bird video from PIXAR. Enjoy!