Posted in , Jul 2, 2015
Wanted: one soprano for summer position. This notice appeared in the church bulletin on a Sunday morning in 1945. I was new in Washington, D.C., and I wanted to be chosen for that job. I lost no time in presenting myself to the choir director, who set up an audition for me on the following Sunday.
After a lot of thought and prayer I selected Geoffrey O’Hara’s “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked” for my audition piece. All week long I practiced. But back at the church on Sunday I made the dreadful discovery that I’d left the music on the bus. And then, to add to my disappointment, the choir director whom I thought I’d be singing for was not there. He had been called out of town, and the decision about my hiring was now up to someone else. As it turned out, the substitute organist and choir director was a friendly sixtyish gentleman who put me at ease immediately.
Even so I hesitated. Finally I had to tell him that I’d lost my music. “What piece were you planning to sing?” he asked.
“’I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked,’” I told him. Assuring me he could play it from memory, he launched into the accompaniment.
“You sang that exactly as it should be sung,” my accompanist told me after I’d finished. “Welcome to the choir.”
I was overjoyed. Only when I was leaving did I think to ask his name. With a mischievous grin, the organist—and noted composer—replied, “Geoffrey O’Hara.”