As I was driving in yesterday morning, I was listening to “Three mo’ tenors”–Victor Trent Cook, Rodrick Dixon, and Thomas Young. They sang together as a PBS video/CD project, and have started recording as Cook, Dixon and Young. They are incredible singers, with opera, Broadway, jazz, gospel and pop skills.
One of the pieces was a Motown medley. Near the end, one of them says, “And now, a tribute to one of the most famous trios of all time.” The orchestra plays. And we hear “Leaving………leaving on a midnight train….leaving on a midnight train to Georgia.”
And the rest of the piece is the Pips backup vocals. Just the backup.
I laughed yesterday as I do every time I hear that track because it is a wonderful insidy kind of joke. The Pips are an incredibly famous group. And their fame is rooted in their service and support and help. I don’t know their names. I just know that they were great.
Yesterday was All Saints Day, kind of a catch-all honoring of people–both remembered and forgotten–who made their mark by serving. They lived, many of them, as backup vocalists–“Jesus and the saints.” Their significance, their discography, their impact rests entirely in who they were singing with.
Both of these models of supporting were kicking around my head as I went through the day and realized how interconnected with lives I am…and how much text messages and tweets and emails and conversations mean to me. I have a number of people who, as they sing in support–knowingly or unknowingly–of God, end up making me smile, making me cry, making my heart strong. They are saints, they are Pips. Their small phrases of support make the song I hear complete.
Some people, by singing backup, become rockstars themselves.