As well as teaching, I'm a professional singer. I'm not on the concert circuit, living out of a suitcase, constantly traveling, conducting master's classes, always hustling to promote myself while hoping against hope that the voice stays healthy. Rather I sing with a fine chorale that is the principal chorus of a fine symphony, and I'm also paid to sing with a metropolitan church choir that has a few hired choral guns, so to speak. This allows the church to do a higher level of music and more of it, which would not be possible by relying merely on volunteers. It's far from a huge amount of money, but it's nice to be paid for all of those years of rehearsal and effort and equally nice to work with nice people who appreciate my efforts.
So it was that in our warm-up rehearsal this morning, before the second service, one of the volunteer members of our choir delivered a painful reminder that in an instant took me back more than a decade. She and her husband are good people, personable folks anyone would like to know, and it was distinctly disturbing to hear her emotion-choked voice, a voice tinged with terror, as she related this cautionary tale.
Last week, one unremarkable morning, my friend's young daughter, the mother of a newborn, was home alone. Her husband was gone to work, when suddenly, the doorbell began insistently ringing and did not stop. Realizing something was very wrong and clutching her newborn to her chest, she peered through the peephole in the front door and saw two unfamiliar black men, one ringing the bell but being careful to lower his face, the other facing away from the door.
She called her young husband who told her to immediately call 911, and as she did, telling her story in a state of confusion and fright, she saw the burglars heading around the house, and she knew they were going to break into her home through the back door. Staying on the line with the police, she locked herself in her bathroom and taking her two small dogs with her, barricaded herself, the dogs and her baby, as best she could, in a closet in that bathroom.
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