A Special Place--Part Thirty-five-B--Narrative Continued--Matt
Uncle Michael had a buffet set up in the new gazebo with tables along the river. Everyone was still talking about Luke's exhibition, all excited. When lunch was over, Millie said, "Constance--Ms. Jones--called me yesterday and told me there would be repeat performances Monday."
"Yes, Mom, she asked about our doing it and both the chorus and ensemble--along with Matt of course--were delighted to do it.
"Might that not prove to be a major conflict?" she asked. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, there were horrified looks on five faces. "Holy shit!" Luke exclaimed. "Matt, we have really blown it this time. Maybe it's not too late to call it off. We have to do those interviews. Getting into Oberlin depends on them. Holy shit! Holy damn!"
I was near tears. I suppose it was not too late to cancel Monday, but how would that look since we had promised Ms. Jones we would do it? Millie let us stew in our own juices for a while longer then said, "I hope this is a lesson to all five of you. I know you are young and tend to think long range planning is the next twenty minutes..."
"Millie, we forgot the interviews, not because we weren't planning ahead, but because... well, we were not thinking beyond this weekend on the one hand, but on the other, about all Luke and I have talked about is what would happen if we didn't do well so we could be together next year. I guess we kinda missed thinking about what would happen between the concert and exhibition and next fall," I answered.
"Well, I hate to be the rescue lady all the time, but I knew you had a lot on your minds this weekend and I know how much Constance wanted the whole school to see that talent without discipline is not enough--and I hope you have learned that from this mix up. The committee arrived late yesterday--the whole admissions committee, the heads of the music and arts departments as well as the professors of choral, instrumental music and organ. Constance had called before they arrived and I explained what had happened. They were impressed that you were willing to add two performances and that the docents were willing to conduct tours of the exhibition for high school students. I explained that you needed to learn a lesson about responsibility and all agreed that you did, but you had also taken your responsibility to your school very seriously and were willing to make other arrangements. Accordingly, they have scheduled individual interviews this afternoon, beginning at 3:00. If those are not completed, they will do some tomorrow afternoon as well. I know that puts more pressure on you because of time, but that was the best they could do since they are scheduled to leave after lunch Monday."
"I'll stay up all night if I have to," Luke said. "Whatever they ask, I'll do." The other four of us were nodding in agreement.
"You'll not have much time between the interviews and dinner at my place, which is also a part of the interview process as I am sure you are aware. Then, immediately after that, the concert and exhibition are on tap. Busy day, kids, but I know you can do it."
At 3:00, we were all in Millie's living room and, after the introductions, the whole committee met with us for half an hour. The chair, Professor James Paul, began by saying that of course we knew this was an unusual and unique situation. "Frankly, we would not have done it for many people, but Mr. and Mrs. Willingham have been very generous to Oberlin over the years and have asked nothing, absolutely nothing, in return--until Mrs. Willingham called us about this situation. She was so convinced that we needed you as much as you needed us that she flew us all down here so we could actually make a decision before we leave Monday. We had heard what you have done--including your part in what has to be an exceptional event among high schools, your participation in the Service of Repentance and Memorial for a former classmate. We were impressed to say the least. All of us look forward to the recital/concert and exhibition this evening and tomorrow evening. We have even discussed going again Monday and may show up to see how you handle high school students. However, we want to be convinced you should be admitted or not before we leave so we will have a meeting Monday and let you know our decision. I know this puts a great deal of pressure on you and you already have a great deal because of what you have undertaken, but I fear life is often like that. What we plan to do this afternoon, and I hope we can complete it, are individual interviews with the people in your area and the admissions committee. So let's get started."
"Members who are not involved with individual interviews at any time will meet with the admissions committee. Professor Roger Stewart is head of the music department and he will begin with Ms. Wright, then Mr. Willingham and finally with Mr. Greywolf. Professor Taylor Granville is head of instrumental music and will meet with Mr. Willingham first. Ms. Ruth Rote-Batten is head of choral music and will meet with Ms. Wright, and Professor Isidore Moler, head of organ, will meet with Mr. Greywolf. Mr. Watley, Professor Ralph Edison is head of the cooperative program with Case-Western Reserve and will meet with you. Mr. Larsen, you will meet with Professor Henry Pross of the art department. The admissions committee will meet with you in the library, head of music in the parlor--good old fashioned word and room, Millie--organ in the dining room, choral music here, and I'm afraid art and cooperative program are exiled to the outdoors--or maybe I should say have the privilege of being outdoors. It is a beautiful day and, believe me, we are loving the weather after an Ohio winter. Any questions? Ms. Wright if you will be so kind as to retire to the library. Mr. Greywolf, if you would go with Professor Moler and Mr. Willingham go with Professor Granville. Mr. Watley, you should go with Professor Edison and Mr. Larsen with Professor Pross. Committee members, if you would try to complete your interviews in thirty minutes it would be helpful. These people have a full evening ahead of them! Are there questions? If there are none, let's get to work."
The interviews went right on schedule. By 5:00 all interviews were completed. When we all gathered back in the living room, Professor Paul said, "I know you five must feel as though you have been put through the wringer. Well, you should because you have. I hope we have not spoiled dinner for you and I am sure we all look forward to further conversation over dinner. And I know we are in for a treat this evening although it is more pressure on you. I say we are looking forward to the evening, not to be polite, but because Millie--I have known Millie as a true friend for thirty years and I know that she doesn't mince words--says we have a treat in store. And that means we have a treat in store, no question about it."
"Your folks brought your clothes for tonight while you were busy with the interviews," Millie announced, "so you don't have to go home to change. Eugene, take the guys upstairs to your place to change. Paula, you can use the guest room next to mine. And, guys, no playing around."
"Mom!" Eugene shouted as the rest of us just blushed.
When we got upstairs, all four of us collapsed on Eugene's bed, exhausted. "Man, I hope I don't have to go through something like that often," Larry said. There was a chorus of agreement. "Well, I guess we better get moving. I need a shower--I need to make love to my babe--but since that is out, I do need a shower." Again there was total agreement.
"Guess Millie had planned for such events. The shower is large enough for all of us," Eugene said. Soon all four of us were in the shower and there were two couples who got in a bit of playing around before they reluctantly left the shower, dried each other and started getting dressed. Luke, Eugene and I had decided that the men would wear what was almost an official school uniform--blue blazer with a school crest on the pocket, white shirt with blue and red stripped tie and grey slacks. I noticed that Larry was looking a bit worried and he finally said, "Look, guys, I hope I won't embarrass you, but Mom couldn't swing an outfit when people started getting them last fall."
"Then what's this?" Eugene asked as he took a garment bag from his closet. There was a note on the outside and when Larry read it, his eyes filled with tears.
When he showed it to us, I understood why. It read, "To a wonderful son from a very proud mother".
I bound my hair loosely and Luke put on a headband which matched his tie. "Got to get some control over this hair or get it cut," he said.
"You better get it under control because it will not be cut," I told him firmly.
As we walked downstairs, there was a chorus of whistles. College professors were whistling at us! It was great because I immediately felt a lot of tension drop from my shoulders and it was evident the others felt the same. When Paula emerged, she was an absolute knockout. She was wearing a pale green ankle length dress which set off her coloring and which showed her figure well. The whistles we had received were nothing compared to those Paula got. She was obviously made comfortable by the response to her appearance because she did a turn around the room and bowed.
A maid brought in a tray with glasses and served the Oberlin people while Millie explained. "I know it's not legal to serve alcohol to minors, but most of these kids have had wine all their lives. And if this evening's events doesn't call for a celebration, I don't know what would. Kids, to your health, your talent, your happiness," she said as soon as we all had glasses. "Now let's eat."
As soon as we were seated at the table--in Concord only Millie had a dining room and table big enough for all of us--Millie said, "Ok, I know you haven't had time to compare notes, but how did it go?"
Professor Stewart said, "To be honest Mrs. Willingham, I am glad we actually got to meet this crew. Had anyone written about what they have been through in the past few months, I would have found it hard to believe. And my understanding is that it is not over yet for Eugene."
"It's not over for any of us, Professor," Luke said. "Eugene, of course, bears the brunt of the situation, but I assure you that when anyone in the Fellowship..."
"The Fellowship?" Professor Rote-Batten asked.
"Yes, the Fellowship of the Rings," Luke responded and then told her about it.
"Wouldn't it be exciting if high school gangs were fellowships such as this group?" Professor Moler asked. "To tell the truth, you all seem unreal. How do you explain it? Good parents and upbringing?"
"True in most cases, I guess," Eugene said, "but definitely not in mine. I guess just as some people get on the wrong path because of friends, we got pushed or pulled on the right one."
"Very unthinking of me, Eugene," Professor Moler said.
"It's ok. I have a real mom and she came just when I needed her," he responded.
Dinner conversation ranged over a number of subjects. A whole can of worms was opened when Professor Paul mentioned that if we were accepted at Oberlin, there would not be on-campus housing available. "Do you think you can handle that?"
"I guess you'll just have to give us full scholarships so we can spend the money set aside for college on housing," Paula laughed.
"That sounds like a great idea, James," Professor Stewart said. "Very reasonable Miss Wright. Very reasonable."
"Eugene and I have been looking at a map and since some of us anticipate joint enrollment next year--Larry and Matt at Case-Western Reserve and Luke at Cleveland Art Institute, we thought a house in Elyra would be a great idea. In fact, since it is pretty clear that at least those three will be in school for five years getting dual degrees, we even thought about pooling our money for a down payment and buying a house."
"And you would live with four guys, Miss Wright?" Professor Granville asked.
"Can you think of a place safer for a beautiful young woman than in a house with four guys who think of her as their sister?"
The conversation then turned to what the five of us would be doing this summer. Paula had accepted a job in a camp for Jewish children doing music therapy under the direction of a therapist. Luke and I had already talked about Sewanee and Sarasota. "Larry and I haven't given a whole lot of thought to the summer since there is a good possibility that the trials will drag on. I will have to be here and, frankly, I need him here to help me get through this mess. The child abuse trial probably won't take too long, but who knows how long it or the federal child pornography trial will last?"
"There are two trials?" Professor Moler asked. "I thought there was only one next week." Eugene then told him about the federal charges.
Professor Pross said. "My God, it's a wonder you are outside a mental hospital, Eugene."
"I am lucky I guess. Three aren't." He then had to tell about the three who were in the state hospital as a result of McBride's abuse. When he finished, he smiled and said, "We HAD thought about writing a soap opera, but no one would believe it."
"I hate to break this up, but unless someone has an urgent question, I think we better let these five go and prepare for a performance and exhibition," Millie said.
"By all means, go," Professor Paul said. "If we have any questions after tonight, we'll talk with you tomorrow. See you at the reception."
Paula went with Larry and Eugene and Luke and I hopped into the Jeep, and the five of us headed to St. Mary's. When we arrived, everyone was present and I quickly changed into my organist cassock and surplice while Paula donned a cassock and surplice. The chorus had chosen to wear vestments from St. Mary's rather than the usual white shirt or blouse and black pants or skirts. Larry and Luke called Eugene and me into the hall and gave us a good luck kiss before going upstairs. Luke was the lucky one; he got to sit with the family. Larry, of course, would be busy helping tape the concert/recital.
Promptly at 6:55, we all went upstairs and took our places. The church was packed. Extra chairs had been added where possible and there were a few people standing. Millie was in her usual place with the bishop and his wife, and Ms. Wright and Ms. Watley were sitting with the family. At 6:00 sharp, Eugene lifted his baton and the program started.
A Special Place--Part Thirty-five-B--Luke
After giving Matt a good luck kiss, I went upstairs and sat down with the family. Before I had time to look at my program, Mary Kathryn leaned over and said, "I think you have another painting which won't be sold," and laughed. I soon found out what she was talking about when I looked over the program.
An Organ Recital by Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf and a Concert by the Independence High School Brass and Percussion Ensemble Eugene Willingham, Conductor and Mixed Chorus Paula Wright, Director
Overture for Trumpets -- Henry Purcell
Te Deum laudamus (excerpt) -- Antonio Dvorak
Nun danket Alle Gott -- Sidfrid Karg-Elbert Now Thank We All Our God -- arr. P. Wright and M. Greywolf
Voluntary on the Doxology (Old 100th) -- Henry Purcell All People That On Earth Do Dwell -- Arr. P. Wright and M. Greywolf
Five Hymns for Organ, Brass and Percussion Ensemble and Mixed Chorus Arranged by Eugene Willingham, Paula Wright and Matthew Greywolf All Things Bright and Beautiful Alexander Smith, soloist The Spacious Firmament on High Ronald Johnson, soloist All Creatures of Our God and King Jackson Simpson and Alexander Smith, duet Praise to the Living God Ronald Johnson, Alexander Smith, Jackson Simpson, Paula Wright, quartet Amazing Grace Paula Wright, soloist
Rex Tremenda from Requiem -- Hector Berlioz
Prelude to Mefistofele -- Arrigo Bonito
Rigaudon -- Andre Campra
Sheep Shall Safely Graze -- J. S. Bach
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring -- J. S. Bach
The Family: A Tone Poem in Four Movements -- Matthew Greywolf Dedicated to The Family
Movement One: Beginnings Movement Two: Children Movement Three: Separation and Conflict Movement Four: Reconciliation and Renewal
**************************************************************** Intermission: There will be a fifteen minute intermission. ****************************************************************
Grand Choeur Dialogue -- Eugene Gigout
Christ on the Mount of Olives: Hallelujah -- Ludwig Van Beethoven
Three African American Spirituals for Organ and Chorus I've Been 'Buked Steal Away Twelve Gates to the City With the Brass and Percussion Ensemble's Jazz Quartet LaTishia Gregory, piano
Symphony No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 26: Preludio -- Marcel Dupre
Gigue Fugue in G major -- J. S. Bach
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major -- J. S. Bach
From Acht kleine preludien und fugen -- J. S. Bach Prelude and Fugue in C major Prelude and Fugue in E minor Prelude and Fugue in G minor Prelude and Fugue in A minor
Suite Mondale, Op. 43: Toccata -- Flor Peeters
Toccata in E minor -- Johann Pachelbel
Sanctus -- Charles Gounod Paula Wright, soloist
Te Deum in C major -- Benjamin Britten Maria Gomez, soloist
Yonghon Tongmu: Fantasia on "More" in Four Parts -- Matthew Greywolf Innocence Darkness Love Light
The audience is asked to refrain from applause until the end of the piece before the intermission and the end of the program.
The Brass and Percussion Ensemble Eugene Willingham, trumpet and conductor
Trumpets Chancey Edwards DeWayne Few Jeffery Gaines Arthur Owen Alexia Farmer Richard Phifer
Horns Jose Gomez Scott Hacklemann Kevin Smyth Janice Ito India Taylor
Trombones Sandra Watson Colin Foley Glen Thompson Amelia Rodgers
Tuba James Elbert
Percussion Hans Greig Chastity Nils LaTishia Gregory (Ms. Gregory also plays piano for the Jazz Ensemble.)
The Mixed Chorus Paula Wright, soprano soloist and director Alexander Smith, tenor soloist and associate director Ronald Johnson, bass soloist and assistant director
Soprano Rebecca Alexander Tracey Alison Elizabeth Bailey Jesse Boston Jamie Mitchell Melissa Ross Lynn Smith Marilyn Scott LaKeisha Tate Susan Williams
Alto Maria Gomez, alto soloist Kendra Jackson Margaret Johnson Betty Kelly Christine Nhu Louise Park Maria Smith
Counter Tenor Murray O'Kelly Neil Pilafian
Tenor Jackson Simpson, soloist Patrick Murray Kenneth Pless Jason Thomas Charles Vincent Michael Williams Timothy Yeager
Bass Thomas Curnow Martin Daggette Robert Elbert Roger Foley Curtis Newland Wayne Smedvig
Disclaimer: The selection of music and its performance in St. Mary's Church does not imply endorsement of the religious expression in the music or of St. Mary's. The music was selected based on the desires of the performers and its merits as music. The performance is being held in St. Mary's because of the necessity for Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf to present a recital on the organ at St. Mary's and through the generosity of St. Mary's in offering this performance space.
How This Program Came to Be Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf did an independent study in music this, his senior year. A recital was to be the basis for his grade. When Mr. Derrick Smith, music teacher at Independence High School, was unable to prepare the Percussion and Brass Ensemble and the Mixed Chorus for spring concerts, Greywolf invited the two groups to join in his recital. Student directors Paula Wright and Eugene Willingham, together with Greywolf, put together the recital/concert including arranging much of the music.
The Music Purcell: Overture for Trumpets -- The program opens with fireworks from the Brass and Percussion Ensemble joining the organ in this explosive composition.
Dvorak: Te Deum laudamus (excerpt) -- The program continues with an equally fiery work by Dvorak in which the Mixed Chorus joins the ensemble and organ.
Karg-Elbert: Nun danket Alle Gott and Now Thank We All Our God -- Karg-Elbert's composition, based on a melody by Johann Gruger, is performed by the organ and ensemble. Following it, the hymn "Now Thank We All Our God", by Martin Rinckart as translated by Catherine Winkworth, is sung by the chorus accompanied by the organ.
Purcell: Voluntary on the Doxology (Old 100th) and All People Who On Earth Do Dwell -- As in the previous work, the Purcell Voluntary is followed by the hymn on which Purcell's composition is based, a melody from Pseaumes octante trois de David. The hymn sung by the chorus, again accompanied by organ alone, is a paraphrase of Psalm 100 by William Kethe. The interlude for ensemble and organ was written by Greywolf and arranged by him and Willingham.
Five Hymns for Organ, Brass and Percussion Ensemble and Mixed Chorus -- This is a work based on hymn tunes from The Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal Church. The descant for "The Spacious Firmament on High" was written by Wright with help from Greywolf. The five hymns have been arranged by Willingham, Wright and Greywolf. All Things Bright and Beautiful -- The hymn tune is Royal Oak from The Dancing Master and the words are the work of Cecil Frances Alexander. The Spacious Firmament on High -- Creation, the hymn tune, is by Joseph Hayden. The words are Joseph Addison's paraphrase of Psalm 19:1-6. the descant is by Greywolf. All Creatures of Our God and King -- The melody is an adaptation of Lasst uns erfreuen by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The words are William H. Draper's translation of words by St. Francis of Assisi. Praise to the Living God -- This selection from a Medieval Jewish liturgy was translated by Max Landsberg and Newton M. Mann. The hymn tune, Leoni, is a Hebrew melody. Amazing Grace -- New Britain, the hymn tune, is from Virginia Harmony and the words are by John Newton.
Berlioz: Rex Trenenda from Requiem -- Composers have frequently omitted the Day of Judgement from their Requiems, but not Berlioz. In fact, after seeing the Michelangelo frescos, he began imaging music which would express the "overpowering majesty and terror of the Day of Judgement. In this music, the composer depicts humanity's reaction when brought before the 'King of Dreadful Majesty'." The work places great demands upon the chorus.
Bonito: Prologue to Mefistofele -- Many are the retellings of Faust. Bonito not only wrote the lyrics for the opera Mefistofele based on Faust, but also the music. The opera opens with a prologue in which the Tempter wagers with God that he can obtain Faust's soul. The prologue concludes with the heavenly hosts resuming their eternal praise of God.
Campra: Rigaudon -- A rigaudon is a lively old French dance done in 2/4 or 4/4 time. Campra was an early eighteenth-century composer who was well known both as Master of Music at Notre Dame and in the French opera house. This piece could well be used in either and, perhaps, was used in both. It is often used today as wedding music. The chorus is given a break as the ensemble and organ present what seems almost a dialogue between the two.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Sheep May Safely Graze and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring -- No church organist is, it seems, without the ability to play these two Bach pieces in his or her sleep. Because they are so familiar and so often used, they are not as appreciated as they might be. "They are the two 'real' pieces I first played at St. Mary's and I often use them when I haven't had done adequate practice for a service," Greywolf acknowledges. "Nonetheless, I love these two wonderful pieces very much and would not feel that I had presented a recital without playing them."
The Family: A Tone Poem for Organ, Chorus and Ensemble Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf
This original composition by Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf is dedicated to his extended family: the Andrews, Larsen and Greywolf families who comprise The Family of the title. From the Composer: It is my hope and dream that The Family will stand on its own merits. However, in the manner of most tone poems, it tells a story. The enjoyment of the piece is, I believe, greatly increased if that story is known.
Movement One: Beginnings -- The family had its beginning when three young men met when all were in the military. Two were married--Patanka St. Michael Greywolf had met and married Yong Jin Kim while an Army Officer in Korea, and Jens Larsen, a Marine officer, met and married Gabrielle Hauser while stationed in Germany. David Andrews, a Navy officer, was unmarried when the three met. Later he married Elizabeth McDowell, a sweetheart from his college days. When the time came for the three to be discharged from active duty, David had located three adjoining farms outside Concord where the three families now live. The piece opens with an original composition by Greywolf called "The River Falls". This composition ties the entire tone poem together in recognition of the central place the falls (on the river which flows through all three farms) plays in the history of The Family. When first introduced, "The River Falls" is heard in a lyrical and very romantic mode. The voices of the chorus are used, as they often are in this work, as an instrument, i.e., there are no words. Included in the movement are variations on four national anthems--United States, Korea, Germany and Denmark--and a Lakota chant, honoring the heritage of members of the family. The meeting of the three men is recalled through the use of three military anthems, sung as a canon by the men of the chorus. It concludes with a rendition of the children's song "Old McDonald Had a Farm" in which members of the ensemble and chorus provide the animal sounds.
Movement Two: Children -- Within three years of moving to the farms, the three women gave birth to four children: Matthew Sarang Hanun Pomul Greywolf and Luke Hans Larsen, who were born on the same day, and Michael Andrews and Mary Kathryn Larsen, born a few days apart two years later. The movement opens and closes with a version of "The River Falls" suggestive of a children's play song. Between the opening and closing, three lullabies are heard, sung by the women of the chorus--Korean, German and American. One of the moral values held in high esteem by the families is that of tolerance. An incident illustrating this is reproduced when half of the men of the chorus start doing "movie Indian" war whoops and are interrupted by the other men who do Lakota war cries. This event took place when the three boys were young and Greywolf stopped the "movie Indian" war whoops and taught the boys a Lakota war cry. This same war cry played a significant part in the revolt of students and faculty of Independence against pejorative remarks made by the former principal. Also included in this movement is a toccata and fugue on the round--technically a canon--"Row, Row Your Boat". When the chorus and ensemble join the organ, the audience is invited to sing along under the direction of Ms. Wright.
Movement Three: Pain and Conflict -- Obviously, people have pain and conflicts--sometimes minor, sometimes major. Three families cannot hope to live almost as a single family without experiencing pain--from things as minor as childhood scrapes and bruises to the major pain of illness and death from cancer of Elizabeth Andrews. Likewise, conflicts happen--some minor as political disagreements to serious conflict arising from misunderstandings and a clash of values. This movement is written in an atonal and dissonant mode--one section employs the twelve tone row. The choral section again uses the human voice as an instrument. The concluding rendition of "The River Falls" begins as a dark dirge and rapidly evolves into utter chaos with the chorus and ensemble clashing with each other and the organ.
Movement Four: Reconciliation -- "The River Falls" which opens this movement begins with a brief reiteration of the chaotic rendition from the previous movement which soon becomes pastoral in nature. The middle of the movement includes Jan Struther's hymn "Lord of All Hopefulness", sung to the Irish hymn tune "Slane." The movement concludes with the Book of Common Prayer version of Psalm 133: Ecce, quam bonum!--Oh, how good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity!" The hymn tune is an original composition by Greywolf based on "The River Falls".
Gigout: Grand Choeur Dialogue -- The second half of the concert/recital opens, as the first, with a great display by the organ and ensemble in this work.
Beethoven: Hallelujah from Christ on the Mount of Olives -- Not to be left out, the chorus also contributes to the fireworks of the second half with this work by Beethoven.
Three African American Spirituals for Organ and Chorus -- Historic black colleges, in the middle of this century, were lead by Fisk University in bringing African American spirituals to the attention of the American audience. Tours by choral groups from the universities often endured great hardships because of segregation, but continued--often providing a significant income for their schools. Usually the spirituals were unaccompanied, but the first two presented in this concert are accompanied by the organ and the third adds the Jazz Ensemble made up of members of the Brass and Percussion Ensemble and feature LaTishia Gregory on piano.
Dupre: Symphony No. 2 in C sharp minor: Preludio -- No organ recital would be complete without a work by Dupre, French Romantic organist and composer.
Bach: Gigue Fugue in G major and Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major -- Again, two extremely well-known pieces by Bach and favorites of Greywolf.
Bach: From Acht kleine preludien und fugen -- Bach's "Small Preludes and Fugues" are used extensively in all manner of settings. Greywolf has chosen four for this program.
Peeters: A twentieth-century Canadian composer, Peeters is well-known for his liturgical works and his work with hymn tunes often heard in churches. Greywolf has chosen a Toccata from one of his longer works, Suite Mondale, Op. 43.
Pachelbel: Toccata in E minor -- Pachelbel is another organist/composer who is a "must" in any organist's repertoire.
Gounod: Sanctus -- The Sanctus is a part of the Mass and is usually sung by the congregation. Composers, however, have written very elaborate Masses which preclude congregational participation. While this undermines the whole idea of the congregation being an integral part of the celebration of the Eucharist, the music certainly has a place in celebrations. Clearly, while Gounod's Sanctus is beyond the abilities of an average congregation, the music certainly captures the spirit of the Sanctus as the song "angels, archangels, and angel choirs" sing to glorify God. Ms. Wright points out it tries the abilities of the Mixed Chorus.
Britten: Te Deum in C major -- Benjamin Britten, an English composer of our century, was once credited with keeping British hopes alive during the Second World War when there seemed to be no reason to hope. Certainly in his Te Deum the sense of hope and strength is very present as will be felt in this performance by the chorus, ensemble and organ.
Greywolf: Yonghon Tongmu: Fantasia on "More" in Four Parts -- "More," the theme from the rather grotesque film "Mondo Cane", became a popular song in the sixties. For The Family, it has almost become a theme song. Greywolf has written a fantasia on the tune and incorporates in it "The River Falls" heard in the first of his compositions "The Family." The fantasy describes a relationship.
Innocence: The piece opens with a very lyrical and pastoral rendition of the song played on the organ. As the work continues, the ensemble begins "The River Falls" in the background, providing a backdrop for the main theme. The men of the chorus begin singing the words to "More" to a variation of "The River Falls" while the women sing "More" in a lullaby-like manner, suggesting the innocence of childhood. The choral part becomes more animated as "More" is sung in the manner of a children's play song, complete with hand play by members of the chorus. The ensemble grows increasingly soft until it is heard no more and the chorus "winds down" in the manner of children exhausted by a day of play. The organ continues, softly, playing the theme as a lullaby until it, too, is heard no more.
Darkness: As the first section of the piece suggests the innocence of childhood, the second suggests death, not of innocence, but death itself, It opens with a chaotic version of the theme being played by the ensemble while the chorus, often using voices without words, suggests a flickering in and out of consciousness, going from clarity of the song to an incomprehensible rendition of it. Meanwhile the organ modulates from the original major key to a minor one as the song becomes a dirge. The dirge continues as the chorus alternates between male voices singing, without words, in a minor key and very changing tempo--suggesting a struggle against darkness, and female voices singing, again without words, in a major key--faintly at first but growing stronger, suggesting the struggle is being won. However, from time to time, when life seems sure, the male voices of doom override the female voices. Finally, the organ modulates back to a major key, supporting the women's voices as the male voices gradually fade. The section ends with the chorus and organ softly playing and singing the theme when the trumpets, including the organ's state trumpets, announce the successful end of the struggle and the chorus bursts forth in a triumphant version of the theme.
Love: "More" is a love song and to use it as a theme for the part of the fantasy called "Love" would appear to be easy. Greywolf reports that it was the hardest of the four sections to write. "It is a love song and therefore very easy to become sentimental and the love I wanted to describe was not sentimental, but profound." The section opens with "The River Falls" being played by the ensemble in a pastoral mode. When the organ joins in, it employs flute stops and the rarely used vox humana stop. Both organ and ensemble gradually move from the falls theme to "More." As soon as the melody is clearly established, the chorus joins in, singing "More" in a very pure, simple manner. "More" goes through several transformations becoming a waltz, played by the organ alone, a lilting version sung by the chorus and finally a passionate version using all the available musical resources. This section concludes with an organ and ensemble arrangement reminiscent of the big band era as a soprano and tenor duet sing the song to each other and then together.
Light: "The River Falls" theme is heard once again and for the last time as the fourth part opens. The organ and ensemble join to paint a picture of sunrise over the river falls. Faintly heard above the rather quiet falls theme is the duet from the previous section, singing "More" in a quiet, lyrical manner. As the sun finally breaks free of the horizon, the organ, ensemble and chorus break forth in a joyous rendition of "More." The remainder of the movement comprises a number of versions of the song--some played by the organ alone, some by the ensemble, some sung by an unaccompanied chorus and others performed using combinations of the three. The arrangements include a Latin one, a country-western one, a rock and roll one and several others. The piece concludes with an "all stops" version of the song, ending on a definite triumphant note.
A Special Place--Part Thirty-five-B-Narrative Resumed--Luke
When I saw "Yonghon Tongmu", my eyes started filling with tears of joy. As I read the description of the piece, I realized what Mary Kathryn meant. Matt was certainly going to earn the painting of me! Just as I finished reading, there was a sudden explosion of timpani and the concert/recital began. When the second piece began and the chorus joined the ensemble and organ, it was sheer heaven. I was not a musician, but I knew enough to know that this was an outstanding performance.
When "The Family" came to a close, everyone in the family was teary eyed, even Dad. Twice in one day my dad had tears in his eyes! It was hard to believe. Just as the last note faded away, the applause was thunderous. It went on and on and on. Matt, Paula and Eugene bowed and, as the applause continued, called the members of the chorus and ensemble forward to take several bows. Finally Eugene held up his hand for silence and said, "Of course, we could listen to the wonderful sound of your applause all night, but we have a second half. But, before your intermission, Mr. Greywolf begs a personal privilege... Matt."
"I want to take a personal privilege at this point, but before I do, I think the chorus and ensemble should be excused to prepare for the second half of tonight's concert." The chorus and ensemble quickly left and Matt turned to the audience. "Thank you for your patience and your applause. My part would not have been possible had it not been for Millie Willingham. I need to tell you a short story. When I was four, I escaped my mom one Sunday and, before I could be stopped, made it to the organ where Millie was playing. Old hard-as-nails Millie could have been expected to smack my behind and send me back to Mom but, instead, she lifted me onto the organ bench beside her. That became my pew. When I was almost six, Mom decided I should start piano. Usually I was an obedient child, but this time I threw an absolute temper tantrum. I was not going to take piano; I was going to take organ from Millie. I didn't get my bottom tanned, which probably should have been done because I really was throwing one tantrum after another every time piano was mentioned. Instead, Mom decided to speak to Millie about it. Millie suggested she let me try. 'He'll change his mind,' she said. I didn't and, for several years, played the organ without using the pedal manual. I couldn't reach it. When I could, Millie used to keep me in my place by showing off. After she finished her "showing-off piece" she'd say, 'You'll never be able to play this, Matt'. Well, Millie, we're going to see about that!" With those words, Matt went back to the organ and cut loose on the Toccata, from Widor's Symphony Five, the piece he had played for me several weeks before.
When he finished, the audience went wild as Millie got up from her pew and ran and embraced him. I could hear her all the way to where we were sitting saying, "Perfect, absolutely perfect. Nice legs you finally grew Matthew Greywolf," and hugged him again. I glanced over at the Oberlin committee who were seated in the pew directly behind Millie's. I swear Professor Moler's jaw was in his lap and the others were equally impressed. My babe had done good!
I wanted to run to Matt myself, but thought better of it. I know had I been working as hard as he was, he would have distracted me. He could distract me regardless of what I was doing. I loved that man of mine!
As soon as fifteen minutes had passed, the chorus and ensemble was again in place and, with a nod from Matt, Eugene raised his baton and the second half began. It was great, of course, but this time I wasn't as attentive as I might have been. I was bracing myself for "Yonghon Tongmu." I wasn't sure what my reaction would be, but I knew it was going to be a very emotional time for me. As the whole group started the Gounod Sanctus, I got caught up in it and forgot about what was coming, but as soon as it was over and the Britten started, I looked at my program and finally dared read the notes on "Yonghon Tongmu." When I finished I started breathing deeply as I said over and over to myself, "Don't lose it, Luke," because I knew I was about to have my whole life flash before my eyes.
When the piece started, it was so lighthearted that I forgot about what was coming and relaxed. Everything was fine, then the second part started and I found myself on an emotional roller coaster. I mean I knew the outcome of my suicide attempt, but I was living the whole thing over again--from my utter hopeless love of Matt to my near death experience. Fortunately, I just turned white and started trembling rather than weeping or screaming which I was afraid I would do. When I thought I could stand it no longer, the third part started. It was so beautiful that I felt myself relaxing. It was only then that I realized I could taste blood. I had bitten my lip until blood came. Further, I saw I had clinched my fists to the point where I had left nail prints in my hands. But all was well and I knew it because the chorus, organ and ensemble began a simple, beautiful version of "More."
By the time the final movement was over, I was absolutely on an emotional high. I wanted to run and grab my Sarang Hanun Pomul and kiss him until we both fainted, but the ensemble, chorus and Matt weren't through because everyone in the audience was standing and applauding. There were many shouts and whistles. After the ensemble and chorus had stepped forward and taken several bows, Paula held up her hand for silence and said, "I guess you want an encore." Another explosion from the audience. As soon as they had quieted down she said, "I suspect some of you are wondering how this group of musicians could get together and neglect one piece of music. Well, we decided if you wanted more, we would save it for an encore. She turned, gave the signal, and Handel's "Hallelujah" from "Messiah" rocked the rafters. After its conclusion, the audience still begged for more. Eugene signaled for quiet and started a very spirited rendition of Independence's fight song followed by the more sedate alma mater. The audience still wanted more and Paula said, "Matt, this is a gift from the chorus and ensemble for asking us to be a part of this wonderful evening. This is for you and the one you love above all others. The ensemble and chorus then did the most lyrical version of "More" from "Yonghon Tongmu." I tried not to look at Matt for fear it would reveal too much, but I couldn't keep my eyes away and when I looked up, he was looking directly at me, a huge Matt smile covering his face and that hot Lakota Korean, so help me, mouthed, "I love you," then joined in singing "More".
As soon as the song was finished, Millie came up front and presented flowers to Paula, Matt and Eugene, then turned and said, "You have had half of this evening's treat. The second half is the art exhibition. May I suggest you go by the tables set up on the lawn for refreshments and to meet these young people, including Mr. Luke Larsen, and the go into the Common Hall and enjoy his exhibition."
I made a quick dash and was able to go against the flow of traffic to get to the front and then raced down the stairs. Matt was in the center of the room surrounded by members of the ensemble and chorus, but I didn't let that stop me. I finally reached him and grabbed him and lifted him off the floor in a great bear hug. I was thinking, "Man, I would like to do more than just hug you," when Matt leaned forward and kissed me full on the mouth.
When he broke the kiss--it was pretty short for a Matt kiss--he looked into my eyes as he said softly, "Luke Hans Larsen, I love you and I don't care who knows it!" I wasn't sure I didn't care, but when I looked around the kids were either applauding silently or looking away--not in disapproval, I suspect, but just to say, "It's your private world". Matt then took my hand and started racing up the steps as he said, "Let's meet our admiring public, Mr. Larsen". When we reached the back hall, Larry had finally completed his work and had Eugene in his arms.
Admiring public they were. Of course, these were family and friends. Nonetheless, it was obvious they had thought the group had done a splendid job. Mr. Smith came by where Matt, Paula, Eugene and I were meeting people and said, "I am very pleased I didn't have anything to do with spring concerts this year. Had I been in charge, we would have done a passable job, but you three have set a standard I hope I can achieve one day. You outperformed any college group I have heard and, as for high school groups, well, they aren't even close. Fantastic job. I only wish I could claim part credit, but it all belongs to you. Bravo!"
"Not so fast," Eugene said. "This is the end result. Sure we put the concert together, but where would we have been had you not taught us well from the beginning? I guess, as is true with all teachers, people only see the end results and not the hours devoted to getting kids to that point. Thank you, Mr. Smith. And thank you for having confidence enough in us to allow us to try to pull this off."
"Well spoken, Eugene," Paula said. "I couldn't agree more."
"Add my name to the list," Matt said. "You were the one who decided I could do an independent study. Had that not happened, tonight would not have happened."
"Matt, Eugene and I and our groups owe you big time as well. There was no real reason you should have chosen to share the spotlight with us. Not only did you share it, you made it shine very bright for us and our groups. Thanks," Paula said and kissed Matt firmly on the mouth. "I wish there was some way we could really show our appreciation."
"I guess, in a way, we owe Michael Gray something for being an..."
"Asshole, Matt, the word is asshole," I helped out. Don't think Matt will ever be very good at being a foul mouth.
"I accept your thanks," Mr. Smith said, "but I don't think Gray deserves any for being an asshole. It was just natural for him," and laughed.
Millie walked up while we were talking and said, "Larry, the committee will soon complete their initial tour of the exhibition. They will take longer tomorrow, Luke. Now they would like to meet with the engineers from PBS. Larry, do you think you could ask them if they would be willing to do so? I know it is getting late and they would like to get back to Lexington, but it would be very helpful to the committee if they could spare the time."
"Sure, I'll ask, but I don't know if they are willing to stay any later or not."
A Special Place--Part Thirty-five--Narrative Continued--Larry
When Paula said she and Eugene owed Matt and would like a way to show their appreciation, I saw a gleam come into Eugene's eye. I knew my man well enough to know he was hatching up some plot, but I didn't have time to talk with him. I had to go inside to find the engineers who were preparing to tape the exhibition. They wanted to get some work done tonight so I wasn't sure how they would respond to another request. "Mr. Steinbeck, Mr. Greentree, there is a committee here interviewing five of us for possible admission to Oberlin College in Ohio. If I am accepted, I will also do joint enrollment in Case-Western Reserve in audio-video engineering. They have asked to meet with you tonight if you can spare the time. I know it's late and you want to get home but if you..."
"We'd be happy to Larry. The only problem is filming the exhibition. Actually, we're not making alot of progress because of the people inside and we don't have anyone to do the voice over. Poor planning on our part. I guess we thought we could just grab Luke, but I see that's not possible."
"I'll talk with him and see if we can't make arrangements for filming tomorrow afternoon before the performance and before the exhibition is open to the public. Would that be helpful?"
"It would be great. We'll plan on doing that and if we can't, we'll make other arrangements if this Oberlin thing is important to you."
"It's damned important. Thanks a million."
I found Millie and told her what we had discussed. "I'll talk with Fr. Tom and make arrangements for filming about 4:00. That should give you plenty of time before the concert begins. I'll also check with Luke. I'm sure he'll have no problem with helping out. You go and get the engineers and take them to the conference room."
When the three of us reached the conference room, I introduced the engineers--Mr. Ralph Steinbeck and Mr. Henry Greentree--and the committee members and turned to go. "Larry, if you are not busy, I think we'd like to have you sit in on this interview," Professor Paul said. He then explained why they were in Concord and that while the others were able to demonstrate their talent and skills, I had not been able to do so. "I know that before it is broadcast, the tapes will be edited by professionals and we can't really learn much about Larry through them. We thought if we could talk with you, we'd get a clearer picture of Larry's talents and how you see him doing in the field. First off, just how much input has Larry had in the whole process?"
"Before we ever came to Concord, Larry had done an evaluation of St. Mary's from the standpoint of the placement of cameras and mikes. The first we knew about what we might be doing came from a fax of his layout," Mr. Greentree said.
"And when you got here, what did you find?" Professor Pross asked.
"To be honest, we did not find what we expected. We expected to see little correlation between the plan and reality. What we found was that Larry had done a job which would been accepted as that of a professional. He was realistic as well. Soon after we were introduced he said, 'Now we'll see the difference between what I thought was and reality.' That's a great insight. Most young engineers spend hours trying to make reality fit a plan. Larry was very clear that the plan could be changed, the reality could not."
"So reality and plan were not the same?" Professor Moler asked.
"Are they ever?" Mr. Steinbeck responded. "However, Larry's plan was closer to reality than many I, and I suspect, Henry--Mr. Greentree--have made. The first day we were here we did meter readings using some very sophisticated equipment which Larry did not have available. But his ears and eyes served him well. Very few changes were made from the original plans."
"And many of those, I would like to point out, were the result of our having better equipment than Larry had seen in the school TV studio. You can't plan to use something you don't have. For example, most of the cameras we used were remote controlled. Larry is used to using stationary cameras or holding one on his shoulder. But, within minutes of having the controls explained, he was handling them as if he had used them for years," Mr. Greentree said.
"We also, unknown to Larry, went to school to see some of his work with the very limited equipment they have. If you want to see pure Larry work, get a copy of the campaign spots he made for the race for student body president. No-one had anything to do with those tapes except Larry."
"Actually gentlemen, we have seen those tapes. Mrs. Willingham sent copies, along with Larry's application as she did tapes of the music and photographs of Luke's art."
I was waiting, I guess, for the bad news because these two fellows were painting me as a professional and I knew I was not. And the campaign tapes were really rush jobs. Anyone could see that.
"There is something I want to add which, in one way, has nothing to do with his talent and skills and potential for success, although I do want you to know that those are there, but so far as I am concerned, something else is more important and I think you should consider it as well," Mr. Greentree said.
I knew it. Here comes the bad news.
"There are a lot of rotten things which go on in our business from child porn to doctored stories to false advertising. We're not proud of that, but it's there. We haven't known Larry long, but when you work and sweat with someone, you learn about them quickly. Ladies and Gentlemen, Larry Watley is one of the finest young men I have met in a long time. I only hope my son grows up to be as honest, hard working, disciplined and dedicated to his calling--that's what it is for you, Larry--as Larry Watley."
"I couldn't agree more, Henry," Mr. Steinbeck said. "Frankly, I have no question about Larry being a great addition to Oberlin. If I didn't know Oberlin's reputation, I might want to question you as to whether your school was good enough for him and that is said only half joking," he said and laughed.
"Gentlemen, we appreciate your taking this time with us. And," Professor Paul laughed, "I hope it doesn't give Larry a big head, but I think we would tell you that we have only known him for a few hours and we see nothing which would make us question your evaluation of him. You will be back tomorrow?"
"Yes, we were going to film the exhibition tonight, but this interview was more important so we are making arrangements to film it tomorrow afternoon."
"Again, thank you. And if your sons grow up the way you hope, give Oberlin a call. We always need good people who are good students and they don't always come together as in this crew we have met here."
We shook hands all around and left the conference room. "Larry, we meant every word we said in there," Mr. Greentree said. "We would have said no less had you not been present. It's a real pleasure working with you and with the others. See you at four and you'll have someone to do the voice over as we film?"
"Sure. In fact, I'll have Luke and a couple others. That way someone can act as docent and Luke can make any comments he wants to make."
"Great, see you at four," Mr. Steinbeck said.
After they left, I went to the exhibition where I found the docents still busy and Luke standing to one side talking with a group of people. Millie found me and said, "Larry, I have asked Luke's and Matt's parents so Matt and Luke can stay with you and Eugene tonight--I told your mom you would be staying over. You four have had a long day and if Luke and Matt are already in town, they can sleep a few minutes later in the morning. I expect the four of you to get some sleep and not play around all night."
"Millie, I think we are all too beat to play around, but I sure hope there's time for a massage. I know Matt could use one after his time at the organ and I suspect Eugene could as well."
"Sounds like a good idea for all four. Hot tub, massage and then to bed, Ok?" I nodded.
When I went looking for the others, I saw Paula and Eugene talking to Fr. Tom. Before I went over to where they were, Matt and Luke came up and Luke said, "Understand we're staying over".
"Yea, but Millie has laid down the law--hot tub, massage and to bed. No playing around."
I don't think she needs to worry about that on my part," Matt said.
"Ditto," Luke added. "I didn't get the workout Matt, Eugene and Paula did, but just dealing with all these people has really taken the starch out of me."
It was midnight before we got to leave for Eugene's. When we reached his house, Millie was already there and handed Matt a travel bag. "Luke, Matt, clean underwear, socks and shirt inside along with something else. Yong Jin said it was from Margaret for the four of you."
When we got upstairs, Matt opened the bag. Inside were the clothes along with two bottles of massage oil. "Hey, Larry and I have made a discovery about warm oil. Be back in a minute," Eugene said as he took the two bottles and ran downstairs.
The three of us sat on Eugene's bed and talked about the evening. I told Luke about the taping tomorrow and the interview the committee had with the engineers. Just as Eugene returned with the oil, I said,"This would have been a hell of a weekend with the concert/recital and exhibition OR the interviews, but both? Damn!"
"You are forgetting something, lover boy, there is also the bishop tomorrow morning. I'm coming to think of this as the survival of the fittest weekend!," Eugene said.
"Damn shooting," Luke agreed. "But man, we are surviving. Hot tub!" Ordinarily we would have left clothes from the bed to the tub, but we had to take the time to hang up blazers and pants. The rest got tossed in a pile. After a quick shower, all four of us hit the hot tub. A nanosecond later Matt and Luke and Eugene and I were entwined in our lover's arms. I mean, is there any real benefit to just soaking in a hot tub when you can be holding your love, kissing the reason you are glad to be alive? I think not.
A Special Place--part Thirty-five--Narrative Continued--Luke
After fifteen minutes or so in the hot tub, I looked at Larry and smiled. Our lovers were almost asleep. After all, not only had they the stress of the performance, but both had done a hard day's work physically. I lifted Matt out of the tub, dried him and, when he started to dry me, he was so sleepy I had to finish the job. I noticed Larry was having the same problem with Eugene. Larry and I picked up our lovers and took them to the bed which Eugene had covered with two beach towels. On the night stands on either side of the bed were glass cylinders of water holding the oil. "Eugene suggested using a water bath to keep the oil warm," Larry said. "It works like magic." He took a bottle of oil and began massaging Eugene's shoulders and back as I did the same for Matt. We turned them over and did their front and before we were through, both were sound asleep. "My babe is one tired man," Larry observed.
"Same here. I sure don't want to wake them. Maybe I can get the towel out from under Matt without doing that." I did, as did Larry.
"I think we could roll them on the floor and they would still be asleep," he laughed. "I must confess, I am pretty bushed myself. Good night, Luke," he said then he gently kissed his sleeping lover.
Millie let us sleep until 9:00 so showering, shaving and getting dressed was done without any love making beyond a good morning kiss. When we were dressed, the four of us went downstairs where Millie was waiting breakfast for us. "Hope you guys got some rest and didn't play around all night."
I laughed and told her just how little playing around was done. "I doubt that Matt or Eugene remember anything except going upstairs."
"That's about it," Matt said. "I do remember dreaming about a wonderful massage--at least, I think I was dreaming."
"No dream, lover," I replied.
When we got to St. Mary's, Fr. Tom said the bishop wanted to talk to Matt. Matt went to the office and Fr. Tom, unlike most Sundays, was vested and ready to start on time. When I got to the back of the church, I noticed the committee was again sitting behind Millie's pew. I hadn't expected them to be present. I almost fainted when I looked to where the family was sitting because Mom and Dad were sitting with them. I guess they wanted to see their two kids received into the Episcopal Church, but it surprised me. As I walked toward my pew, I saw Fr. Tom walk down the side aisle toward the front when he should be going to the back for the processional. I looked again and saw that Eugene wasn't with Millie. I had a feeling something strange was going on here.
Fr. Tom signaled Matt before he could start the prelude and walked to the chancel steps. "Last night, the Independence High School Mixed Chorus and Brass and Percussion Ensemble presented a concert here. Our organist, Matt Greywolf had invited them to do so when they were not going to be able to have a spring concert at school. Matt was obligated to do a recital, but, in the words of Mr. Eugene Willingham and Ms. Paula Wright, he asked them to share his spotlight. The two groups asked me about a way they wanted to show their appreciation to Matt--and to St. Mary's for providing a performance space. I thought it was an excellent idea. Therefore, I asked the bishop to get Matt out of the picture so we could get a surprise ready for him. Matt, if you will discard the service bulletin you have and take this one, you will see the gift of appreciation your fellow musicians have for you. Of course, you have to work at it as well. The congregation will find the correct bulletin in the pockets in the pews. We couldn't give them to you early because this is a surprise. Matt, you'll need the music folder behind the music you planned to play."
I reached forward and took the "correct" bulletin and thought, "Never a better surprise or gift". The music for the service had been selected from the concert program! When I looked up, the ensemble was gathering in the chancel. Matt was teary eyed, but finally managed to get control of himself and start the prelude. It was the Dvorak "Te Deum." As soon as it started, the chorus processed into the church.
But the surprises were not over. When it came time for confirmation and reception, the bishop called for the candidates and presenters. Millie and Larry walked forward to be joined by Eugene; Linda and Bill were together, Uncle Michael was the presenter for Margaret, Michael and David. Yong Jin was asked to present Mary Kathryn since she was her godmother and I asked Matt to present me. We, and a few others not part of the Family or Fellowship, were standing at the altar rail when I caught a glimpse of Greywolf out of the corner of my eye. I wasn't sure why he was present until I turned around and man, what a surprise. Mom and Dad were standing with him!
I don't remember a great deal about the ceremony I was so thunderstruck. But Mom and Dad were there being received into the Episcopal Church! Matt had seen our van that day. Mom and Dad had been meeting daily with Fr. Tom and almost got caught. After a long, hard struggle, Dad had finally decided he couldn't live with being a part of a church which condemned his son. About that time, Mary Kathryn saw what was going on and her mouth fell open. As we turned to return to our pew, I grabbed Dad and hugged him tightly. Then I lost it. I started crying like a baby hugging my dad. Then he came unglued. Well, if people didn't like crying Larsen men, that was their problem!
After the reception--this time it was Mary Kathryn who had a good cry while hugging Mom and Dad--we all went to Uncle Michael's for dinner. He had invited the Oberlin committee and they came. By this time I think they were beginning to think they were family! It seems he was in on the plot Eugene and Paula had hatched up last night and I don't know how he managed it, but he invited the members of the chorus and ensemble along with the bishop and his wife and the Oberlin committee. There were tons of people and tons of food.
Professor Rote-Batten ended up sitting with Luke, Eugene, Larry, Paula, Michael and Mary Kathryn and me in the gazebo. After she got relationships straightened out , she said, "I couldn't help but notice you two were overcome emotionally this morning. If it isn't too personal, what was involved that I didn't know about?"
"Well, it's a long story. Are you sure you want to hear it?"
"All of it. We're here to learn about five people, not check grades or references. We've done that."
Four of us looked at each other and Luke finally said, "You do know we're gay, don't you?"
"As a matter of fact, we do, but that has nothing to do with whether or not you'll be accepted into Oberlin."
"Well, it has everything to do with why Mary Kathryn and I broke down this morning. Just for the record, Paula will be safe with us, not only because we do count her as a sister and would beat the shi... Take care of anyone who tries to do her wrong, but she will be living with two couples who have pledged they are together 'til death do us part'. But the story..." Luke and I told the whole story of how we came together and how Dad had reacted when he learned I was gay. "He has struggled bravely..."
"Now the comment about Beowulf really takes on depth," the professor said. "And the painting of Matt... and let me guess. Matt wouldn't, by any chance, have given you a strange name, would he?"
"Korean--at least I think it is," Matt said. "Yonghon Tongmu, Soulmate."
"Professor, you must know Michael. You almost said his favorite curse words!" Mary Kathryn laughed.
"You two guys told the world of your love for each other and few are the wiser," Professor Rote-Batten laughed. "You are a pair! And, Luke and Mary Kathryn, I can see why you broke down and, I suppose, your parents made this switch without your knowing about it?"
"A complete surprise to all of us," Michael said.
"Back to this 'til death do us part' bit. Do you really mean that?"
"Yea, like being married. Of course, not legally. And while we haven't had it yet, Luke and I will have a commitment ceremony, probably before we leave for Oberlin. We think we will know when the right time comes," Matt answered.
"Eugene and I really haven't talked about a public ceremony--and certainly wouldn't until this mess with the upcoming trials is over. But I think you could say our commitment is as close to being married as a gay couple can have. It's total "til death do us part."
"All of you are awfully young to be talking about "til death do us part," Professor Rote-Batten said. "And you know, you're going into art and music--well, I guess you might be safer in engineering Mr. Watley, not sure--where, for whatever reason, there are going to be many gay men and some are going to be very handsome and very seductive. You are very handsome, all four of you, and very inexperienced. The temptation will be great," Professor Rote-Batten observed.
"And I wouldn't be honest if I said that didn't frighten me," Matt said. "I don't mean next year. I'll have Luke then and, believe me, when he's around there is no such thing as a handsome man compared to him. I am worried about our being separated this summer." I hadn't intended to say that, but it just sorta slipped out.
"Let's be honest. Gay men do not have a corner on talent and creativity, but there does seem to be something which draws them into the arts. I would be surprised if both of you were not tempted to break your promises this summer. But I assure you, it won't be the last time you will be tempted. Temptation is just part of life," she observed. "But, it's amazing the power love has."
"I certainly hope so. Matt and I have talked a lot about what would happen if one or the other were unfaithful."
"So have we," Eugene said.
"Well, don't stop talking. If you keep talking to each other and keep loving each other, you can overcome just about anything. And, as I said, your being gay won't keep you out of Oberlin and while I would like the others on the committee to know of your devotion to each other, I don't think I will tell them. This has been a kind of sacred conversation for me and I'd like to be selfish and treasure it by myself. By the way, I have just had a sudden thought which might be of help with housing. I'll check it out because I'm not sure about it, but I'll be in touch as soon as I get back. Also, I may be wrong, but from some of the looks and actions I have observed, I gather that there is another couple among us. Right?"
"Yea, we're the straight couple in the family," Michael said. "Mary Kathryn and I are responsible for grandchildren, but no one will let us get started on the job." Mary Kathryn, Wild Woman, demonstrated her skill as she smacked Michael a good one.
By the time lunch was over, it was time to get to the filming. Larry asked Mary Kathryn and Michael to go with him to help with the voice over for the film.
The evening's concert/recital went as well as did the night before--maybe even better. After the last encore, Millie came forward to make the presentation of flowers and then said, "I would like for you all to share in a joyous moment for Independence High School and the five seniors responsible for tonight's concert and the exhibition. I would like to introduce to you Professor James Paul, chairman of the Oberlin College Admissions Committee. Dr. Paul."
"Thank you Mrs. Willingham. At the request of Mrs. Willingham, and I might add her expense, the entire admissions committee from Oberlin, along with department chairs and others, came to Concord to interview and observe Miss Paula Wright, Messrs. Luke Larsen, Eugene Willingham, Larry Watley and Matthew Greywolf. We did this because of events which occurred after Oberlin's admissions were closed, but Mrs. Willingham convinced us that those five young people had much to offer Oberlin as well as Oberlin having much to offer them. We went over all their official records before coming, we read their application essays, talked with their principal, counselor, and several teachers. Since we have arrived, we have interviewed them as well as a number of people who know them. We have surely observed their talent, their discipline and potential. I could go on, but I will not. We promised the five we would make a decision about their admission before we left at noon tomorrow. I think we all expected it to be a decision we would have to make at the last minute, but it has not turned out that way. After a conversation with the college president this afternoon, I am happy to announce that all five have been accepted into Oberlin and, Miss Wright, as you so correctly pointed out, we needed to give you full scholarships. Well, you have them."
There were high fives throughout the chorus and ensemble, applause and whistles from the audience. Larry was fighting his way to the front as was I. Soon there was a five way hug going on as the five of us hugged each other.
It took a long time for us to get out of the church and to the reception as we were swarmed by people. I think we were a bit numbed from all the surprises of the day, but not enough for us to miss the fact that Matt and I and Eugene and Larry would be together next year.
Matt and I got home before midnight and were still high from the day's excitement. Thoughtful Larry had brought one of the bottles of the massage oil to St. Mary's and told us he had stashed it in the Jeep. Matt took it downstairs and found a glass large enough to hold it and water and heated it in the microwave. Tonight, he gave me a massage first and I didn't fall asleep. How could I when he started massaging my cheeks and rubbing my rosebud. When he did my front, he--as usual--avoided my manhood until last, then brought me to a roaring climax, literally. I am sure that Yong Jin and Greywolf heard my shout as I exploded, spraying me and my Dark Angel with man's seed. Matt, on the other hand, groaned softly until his climax hit him and then he took a deep breath and held it. His climax past, he grabbed me and started covering my body with kisses. Soon we both were kissing and licking each other, sucking nipples and kissing some more. Matt lay atop my body as we continued our hot making out. Both of us were surprised when a second climax rocked our bodies at the same time. We lay holding each other in the afterglow of our love making until he said, "Yonghon Tongmu, you are my life and my world but, damn, we are a mess!" Laughing, he hopped out of bed, scooped me into his arms and carried me to the shower. When we had cleaned up, we went back to his bed, and I inhaled deeply the fragrance of my Matt and cradled in his arms, went to sleep and dreamed of Oberlin and our life together there.