Twelve of Us by Edward Anderson
On a steamy summer evening in July of 1997, a rag-tag group of men took to the stage at First Unitarian Society. There were ten singers, a conductor and a pianist. It was the premiere concert of Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus. The concert was a mixture of songs of America: patriotic songs, Aaron Copland pieces and beloved classics such as "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." We ended the concert with what has become our theme song, "Sing a Rainbow", heard for the first time that evening. The concert was well received by the audience of about 75 people. Today the number of singers in Perfect Harmony has nearly tripled. So has our audience.
In our up-coming Spring Concert, "Devotion/Commitment" we will be singing some of the best songs from the past twenty years of Perfect Harmony performances. One of those songs was the opening number of that premiere concert, "The God Who Gave Us Life" from Randall Thompson's "Testament of Freedom." The lyrics are the words of Thomas Jefferson, and they speak of liberty and freedom for all. In ways, this has been the theme of Perfect Harmony over the past 20 years. We sing for justice, equality, courage, hope and love.
At the Winter Concert of 2007, Perfect Harmony was back where it had begun: the meeting room of the First Unitarian Society. This time the audience members were squeezed into the pews and many folding chairs had been set up. During the traditional "money speech," I talked about the premiere concert that took place 10 years earlier. I asked if anyone remembered that concert. Only Tim Vanderburg, one of the original twelve, raised his hand, much to the delight of the packed house that evening.
I was not surprised that no one remembered that concert, because it wasn't that memorable. Like I stated above, we were a rag-tag bunch and we weren't very good. But on that hot summer night in the middle of July 20 years ago, I know you could not find anyone as proud as the twelve of us.
Today we continue to sing with great pride, and it's my hope that Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus will be singing and transforming lives many years into the future.