I wish I had been bold enough to ask the pastor, Rev. Dr. Ella F. Busby of the Goodwill Presbyterian Church if I could take a few photos during the fundraising concert they sponsored with the Goodwill Educational & Historical Society yesterday, July 4th, 2015. I wrongly assumed there would be plenty of promotional material to copy from the internet. There is stuff out there about Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers, just not in the context of what I experienced yesterday. That’s a shame because this group has been together for close to 20 years and puts on a program that is not only professional, but genuine.
When invited to attend this event by a Camden Writer whose family is closely aligned with the restoration of the historic Goodwill School, I thought the concert would be held in the newly restored building. Lucky for me, the concert took place in the sanctuary of the church.
I admit the draw for me was the music to be presented…spirituals related to the history of this building. And, a desire to absorb something uniquely Southern, as a non-native trying to understand this very different-to-me culture. What I didn’t expect was this magical melding of format with venue that resulted in having ‘church’ on Saturday. Past joining present, complete with a fine BBQ pot-luck served afterwards.
During our eating time, I sat next to one of the Magnolia Singers, Yvonne Brown.
She wore two of her own hat creations during the concert and I got to talk with her about them. In particular, my own lament about how I can’t wear hats because of my smaller-than-normal sized adult head. To my delight, she promptly took off her hat for me to try. Turns out she started her hat-making venture because she too has a small sized head.
Thus reminding me of a poem I wrote a few years ago…
I want to find a hat that’s me
That fits my pea-sized head, you see.
One that’s pleased to cup my brain
of notes unplayed
Rhythms twisting in and out
around the Crevace
between the Hemispheres.
I want to find a hat that speaks to me
And shouts out about a life that’s free.