“Our dreams predate us.
They were born long before we were.
Our dreams postdate us.
They make a difference long after we are gone.”
Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson
We are grateful for the musicians who have gone before…. My mom’s dad was a jazz musician, who paid his way through the University of Delaware’s engineering program by playing at the “Black Cat” in Wilmington, Delaware. My dad played the alto saxophone with his own band (“The Melody Makers’) during high school and as he worked his way through undergraduate school at Indiana University in Bloomington. My husband’s family is also full of talented musicians. Many seeds have been sown — for generations — and we continue to reap a beautiful harvest.
As I prepare to travel tomorrow to the 100th birthday celebration for Ella Fitzgerald in her hometown of Newport News, Virginia, I pause to thank all of those who have gone before — including Ella herself! Imagine for a moment the hurdles she faced — being a woman and African-American — growing up in Virginia (and later NY) in the 1920’s, ’30’s, ’40’s, etc. Wow!!!
And tomorrow, my son who is a freshman majoring in jazz studies at Christopher Newport University, will have the privilege of playing in a centennial celebration for the amazing “Queen of Jazz.” As an added bonus, I have the privilege of attending with my 86-year-old jazz-lovin’ dad, and my 16-year-old musician daughter. (My older son is also a musician and plays the bass guitar in a band at his college.) The legacy continues….
Thank you to the many who have gone before us and paved the way. Thank you to all current musicians, and their myriad of teachers and mentors. May your music and your dreams continue to “make a difference long after we are gone.”
Remember. Celebrate! Trust.
Until next time,
P.S. Below is just a sampling of the numerous achievements of Ella Fitzgerald, “The First Lady of Song”:
- 1958 – became the first African-American woman to win a Grammy Award
- Won 13 total Grammys
- Recorded more than 200 albums throughout her career
- Sold more than 40 million albums
- 1972 – one of the first Super Bowl halftime show performers (instead of a marching band)
- 1987 – awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Ronald Reagan
- 1992 – awarded America’s highest non-military honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President George H.W. Bush
- 2007 – the USPS issued an Ella Fitzgerald Commemorative Stamp