Let Freedom Ring

This morning Tom and I enjoyed a church service with our friends, Gary and Nadine, and later in the afternoon a concert — all at Chautauqua Institute in New York. It was an absolutely delightful, inspiring, uplifting and refreshing day. The speaker for church was the Reverend Dr. Alan Jones, who is not only a wonderful preacher, but apparently a prolific writer. The music was led by a phenomenal choir director, organist, pianist, and a special number was performed by Todd Thomas, who along with his wife wrote words to the familiar tune “Bless this House O Lord We Pray” specifically for the Chautauqua Institute’s worship service:

From each corner of these grounds, echoe your creative sounds.
From the Mystic Heart at dawn to Music on the starlit lawn
From our porches night and day, bless our discourse, bless our play.
Sun drenched pathways, moonlit lake– your wonder giv’n for us to take.
Bless all those assembled here; open hearts and minds and ears.
All our creeds, we here unite — diversity will flame our light.
Black or white, or gay or straight, all are welcome in this gate.
From bell tow’r we hear ring, with one voice now let us sing:
Bless Chautauqua, Lord, as we… strive to live and love like Thee.
After church, a delicious chicken barbeque dinner down by the lake and a stroll around the grounds, we returned to the amphitheater for a concert by the U.S. Army Field Band & Soldiers’ Chorus. Stirring marches, a selection from Les Mis, patriotic medleys, choral numbers, and both vocal and instrumental soloists entertained and moved the crowd…including us!

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