My dad recently graduated from seminary and it was a splendid occasion, if not for the fact that he dominated and received his 8th degree (his 5th masters degree, if I counted correctly), then because a lot of my favorite people were all together in one place: My entire family, all seven of us, my high school best friend Hiyabel, and Matt all gathered into one tiny house. It was glorious!
The graduation took place on a Sunday. The Baccalaureate service would be at 10 a.m. and the Graduation Ceremony would be at 3 p.m.
A couple of weeks prior to graduation my dad called each one of his daughters to ask if we would sing for the Baccalaureate service. He wanted us to sing one of his favorite worship songs, “I love You so much” by Hillsong. My sisters and I agreed because how many times does one’s father graduate from seminary? 😉
Because we lived in four different states, it was difficult for my sisters and I to practice the song. We attempted to set up Skype video calls but to no avail. Finally, we all settled on the solution that each would listen to the song many, many, many times and would practice it individually so when we all got together two nights before the graduation day, we would be able to run through it several times and be ready to go.
Late that Friday night, two nights before the graduation, my youngest sister Clara, Matt and I arrived at my parent’s house; My other two sisters Vola and Joella had already been there several days. After the initial greetings and catching up, my three sisters and I finally sat down to practice the song. It was a rough time to say the least. We spent time discussing (sometimes arguing about) who would sing which parts, the key the song would be in, what the lyrics actually were, how many harmonies we wanted and so on. We fell into an all too familiar cycle where we would start singing the first verse, stop, analyze, discuss, argue, and start over. This is how we practiced, this is how we’ve always practiced. It is frustrating to us and those around us and frankly, this is why the four of us rarely sing and perform together anymore; We can all be stubborn.
We stopped practicing Friday night about 35 minutes after we started. It was late at night, some of us were tired and we were all becoming sassy.
Saturday night repeated Friday night’s routine except that this time we couldn’t stop if we were frustrated. There were a few breaks – there had to be – but after each we returned to the song, keeping in mind the fact that this was for our dad. Oh, father.
We eventually came to a conclusion about how the song would be sung. At one point while practicing we even decided to incorporate a hymn into the original song to see how it would sound. My dad didn’t like the medley so we stuck to the original. I thought it sounded cool though. We didn’t record the actual performance but below is a video of us performing (with the hymn incorporated).
Except for a few microphone problems, the singing at the baccalaureate service went really well! The entire day went just as my dad expected it to go, which is more than wonderful. In addition, the party following the graduation ceremony spending time with family friends as we celebrated my dad and his achievement was really good to see.
My dad said after the ceremony that this was the last degree he would be getting. I tease him saying the desire to learn is in his blood, he will be back in some sort of grad school in a few years. I look forward to editing more papers. =)