This is a wild and crazy story, but a true one.
Today, we were driving from Clarksville, MI to Muskegon, MI for the week long Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference/Retreat, and since the week was to kick off with a free concert by one of our favorite musical groups, Selah, I plugged in my iPod and began crooning to their songs and letting my mind wander as the mile markers raced by.
Where my mind wandered was maybe a bit too far off the beaten path into the area reserved for “wild dreams” (which is probably not terribly far from where a few too many of my wandering thoughts tend to roam). 🙂 Just where those thoughts went is a bit embarrassing to share, but it’s an important part of this true story, so I’ll have to share it.
I was thinking…”wouldn’t it be great if I was there at the Selah concert, singing along and Todd Smith, the lead singer for this two-time Dove award-winning trio looked at me and said, “You…come up here and sing the next song with us.” I was driving along another mind-numbing mile or two, singing along to various hymns, thinking about singing onstage with Selah, and continuing with the adventures in oddities I thought, “…and then afterward they said, Alan, you need to come to Nashville and record a song with us.”
Of course, somewhere around there I had to stop myself and think…”that’s stupid! That would never happen! Duh!”
Well, that’s where the strange thoughts and the wild ideas, began to creep into reality.
As it turned out, we were one of the very first in line to await the opening of the doors to the large meeting hall where the concert was to take place this evening. We were pretty impressed that we would get the opportunity to probably sit right up front. And up front, we sat! Right on the first row, centered right in front of the stage! How exciting!
The boys had never been to a concert before and we hadn’t been to a concert since seeing Michael Card at Moody Church in Chicago and I’m thinking that was before Dayton was even born! In any case, it has been over 10 years since we’ve had the chance to go to a concert. And we’ve never sat anywhere near the front row before! I’m not sure the boys were as duly impressed as they should have been. Frankly, I’m not sure I was either, but I was glad I’d be able to see and hear them well.
So, the concert finally got started. These three can really sing and most of the concert was a duet. Todd Smith has a great spirit and stage presence. Surprisingly, they sound just as good live as they do on their recorded tracks.
And then…it happened.
Todd announced, “For our next song, we’re going to need some volunteers.” And in an instant, he smiled, pointed at me and said, “YOU! Get on up here.”
Me?!? You want me to go up there?!? It was a surreal moment. He quickly picked two other men to go up on the stage and as we headed up there Todd continued, “Yeah, these guys were bragging earlier about how well they can dance so we thought we’d let them show us.”
YIKES! Dance?!? I can’t dance. I never said anything to anyone about dancing! I never even saw any of these people before in my life!
Ha-ha…well…I figured he was joking, and he was.
Todd starts to quickly interview me and asks me where I’m from.
“Uh…well…Mexico…we’re missionaries in Mexico.”
“Missionaries? What do you do there in Mexico?”
“Uh…we do a lot of things…ummm…we help missionary families that homeschool their kids, and…”
“Is that your wife there?”
“She needs to come up here too. Come on up here. Give them a round of applause.”
And so, Beth joined the three of us up there.
It turns out, that they did in fact have us sing with them. The only catch was that the song was all in a native African language. He grew up in the Congo as an MK so maybe it was Congolese. It’s a song on one of their albums.
I’m not positive of how to spell my two words, but I think they were “Longwa Satana” (“Get Away Satan”). Beth was given a lot more to try to sing and I know I couldn’t have sung them. He didn’t give us any written version of it…just quickly told us what to repeat. With hers he gave her a couple of words and then quickly strung out about 10 more words that made everyone laugh because it was impossible to repeat it!
Anyway, the song got going and it came to my turn and I sang my two words a few times with the entire audience. Before we knew it, the song was over. I’m pretty sure as he sang into the wireless mic that when he put it up to our mouths for each of our parts that the sound guy wisely muted us, but I’m really not sure. I don’t hear too well to distinguish voices when there are probably over a thousand of them singing at the same time. The monitors seemed to go quiet at that moment, but I made sure to belt it out for all of Nashville, TN to hear!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a video of us actually singing, but I did get us up there on stage as I quickly thought to pull out my camera and take a snappy video. It was great!
Oh yeah, and that part of the wild dream about the recording in Nashville. That part never surfaced. Bummer! Ha…but it was a great and memorable experience! Maybe I should have left my phone number with them just in case….