Wayne Davis, the choir director of my grad school days, passed away last week. Today was his memorial and celebration, which fittingly involved two choirs. Wayne was heavily involved in the Turtle Creek Chorale, and they and the First Presbyterian Chancel choir sang. (Wayne made sure that there was a choir at my dad’s funeral and that they sang Rutter’s Psalm 23.)
Under his direction I learned to “sin boldly” or make sure to own my mistakes so they could be corrected. I also learned and got to sing some of the best chorale music: Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, a lot of John Rutter, Gabriel Faure’s Requiem. We were a small chancel choir at Trinity Presbyterian with grand ambitions, some classically trained voices, and of course my dad’s glorious tenor filled out our sound. We even recorded a modest CD of traditional hymns. But singing Faure’s Requiem is what I treasure the most and the “Agnus Dei” is perhaps the most beautiful movement in the piece. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest Wayne.