Monday, December 19, 2011

To Succeed

"To know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived; this is to have succeeded."
Always looking up!
Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I've been haunting internet websites and fori concerned with Catholic liturgy and music for almost two decades now. How is that possible?

At one point about six years ago quite a bunch of us geeks held forth at RPInet's boards sustained by a lovely man and Christian gentleman, Bill Burns. That forum at that time provided exposure to some truly great thinkers and practicioners of our profession, one of whom was one Jason Pennington, late of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Lafayette, LA. Somewhere around the spring of 2005 JP was going on about something coined "Six days of musical heaven" and he sure as spit was going to DC to check out this thing known as the CMAA colloquium. When JP posted later that summer he extolled at length about the veracity of that "sales pitch" and of one of the event's more notable personalities, one Jeffrey A. Tucker.

I had, up to that point, been skeptical about this CMAA "thing." I'd long been out of NPM, was up to my eyeballs in having left public school for full time church employment, and typically had no clue about what the colloquium fuss was about. June of 2006 changed all of that, and fundamentally changed my whole attitude about why and how I went about my passion and my professional (in both senses) duties. And there were three persons in '06 DC whose faces and smiles became permanently etched onto my heart. One of those named "Mahrt." The second "Oost-Zinner," and the third "Tucker."

No one even minimally familiar with the Cafe, MSForm, the NLM or CRISIS periodical would not recognize Jeffrey Tucker. And anyone very familiar with contemporary pundit culture would readily concede that even the likes of George Will or Charles Osgood cannot sport the perfectly knotted, natty bow tie like Tucker.

I am going to make this brief. (You can thank me later, Ms. Pluth!)  Jeffrey Tucker is simply an elemental force of nature! He seems to cavort about the worlds earthly and cyber with the momentum and vortex spin of the cartoon character "the Tazmanian Devil, or 'Taz,' " but you can't actually see that he's moving, Jeffrey is so "smoov." (Smooth, for those who don't know hip hop colloquialisms.) But moreso, Jeffrey is a supreme gentleman, a man who will always answer the phone, text, and I suppose tweet as well. And he has always found time to help, to advise, to listen, to try again and harder to get the "good news" out about CMAA and our proper right to fit and beautiful worship.

Today is the anniversary of the date J.A. Tucker graced this planet with his presence.
And I thank God He saw fit to let my trifocaled, jaded eyes set upon his seersucker-suited presence my first CMAA summer.

I breathe much easier knowing that Jeffrey lives in my heart.

Happy Birthday, JT.