Friday, February 11, 2005

Message to Him:

What a glorious celebration of a life! The large church was filled to overflowing with music lovers, old friends, relatives, students, and a mass choir of about 80 voices of all races and ages -- singers that he and Terry (his son) had worked with over the years. They raised the roof with soulful gospel music, spirituals, and the best jazz I've heard in years. The elite of the Bay Area's musicians (Peter Barshay on bass, John Santos on congas, Babatunde on drums and John Stewart on keyboards) were there in praise of Ed's life. Wish you could have been there to hear the music and the eulogies.

Ed Kelly's music has been heard the world over, from his years of study at the prestigious Berkley School of Music, to concerts in Japan, Switzerland, Paris, both coasts, and for the past 20 years or more from the classroom of Laney College in Oakland. His awards have been many, from Downbeat Magazine to the Bammies here in the Bay Area. He was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Black Gospel Music Academy a few years ago, so his fans and admirers were countless and today filled the church of his lifetime with a loving and melodic sendoff into eternity.

All of the prominent Bay Area black preachers were present and accounted for, led by Rev. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., Ed's pastor at Allen Temple Missionary Baptist Church -- his eulogy was very moving and heartfelt -- a proper balance between the sacred and the profane -- gospel to jazz, though today jazz was accorded full status as Black America's classical music. Today jazz was sacred. I'm so glad to have been in that congregation. Even sang out a few "Praise the Lords" and "Amens" along with the rest of the brethren. (Atheism doesn't hold up terribly well in the black church.)

Not sure I'll arrive until late afternoon tomorrow, surely in time for the art show openings. Saturday is a big day at the store and I'm not at all sure that David can get away to pick Dorian up from practice. It will add some miles to my driving -- having to go to Oakland and back, but I'll be ready to roll shortly after noontime. Should arrive between 3:00 and 4:00 if the traffic is relaxed and easy. The rest of this day will be spent doing last minute tasks in order to leave Dorrie set up for the weekend without me. Will probably get little sleep tonight since I do tend to get burned up by anticipation -- been true ever since I was about six. Christmas was a disaster until I gave up on Santa Claus much later than most kids, actually; ever the dreamer optimist.

Guess I've gotten past my eulogizing now and can get back to living concerns again, like civic meetings, matching socks, and feeding cats. Will get out of my mourning suit and into my blue jeans and tee shirt and catch up with things I've neglected for the past few days.

Hope you're well and that your tests show nothing worrisome. While I'm in my temporary state of religious bliss, will send up a few prayers of support, but I don't think there's much chance that I'll be heard. Sinner status will be reinstated just as soon as I get out of my mourning clothes!



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