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The renewal of Harmony

by | Feb 21, 2021 | Harmony, renew, The Fifth Dimension

It is appropriate that the week on Harmony ends where my first experiences were:  singing at church.  Growing up around the College Kids, in the early 60’s they would often be playing/singing Peter, Paul, and Mary songs, and watching them blend their voices “in renewal” encouraged me to learn how to do that.  I don’t know exactly what “ear training” is, but there are pictures of me sitting with my Flute-o-phone and those kids where I was playing Harmony.  Hearing the notes, and trying to get your brain/voice to match was a fun challenge, which eventually I mapped into reading music… sorta…

Being adopted, there is always the “nature/nurture” debate, and I am never sure where things come from, but I know that either way, I have marinated in music for as long as I can remember.  It renews me like almost nothing else can, and all of my major life events are recorded with a soundtrack in my mind… And so are yours.  It is now proven that most critical moments and decisions are made not by the cool, collected logical mind… but by the much more emotional center of your brain – that then convinces the logical portion to go along 😉  And… this is where music is also stored… 

The last member of the classic Fifth Dimension is Ronald Townson, who, at age six like me was singing in choirs and gospel groups in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.  His grandmother fostered his career by arranging for private voice and acting lessons as he grew up.  In his teens, he toured with Dorothy Dandridge and Nat King Cole, joined the Wings Over Jordan Choir, and played a small part in the film Porgy and Bess.  He demonstrated his skill as a classical artist by placing third in the Metropolitan Opera auditions held in St. Louis. 

After finishing high school, he worked his way through Lincoln University by conducting the school and church choir.  After graduating, he organized his own 25-member gospel choir.  In 1965, he was invited out by Lamonte and stayed with the band until 1976 and rejoined to only have to step aside in the late 90’s because of kidney disease.  He died in 2001, the only member of the original lineup not still with us. 

Today’s track came off of the same monster Aquarius album, and was the second single to be released… and did “ok” – which was “only” number 20, and was what pushed yesterdays single out and ahead of it quickly.  It is penned by another great songwriter from that era that would eventually follow the “singer” part of Singer/Songwriter into our memory – Neil Sedaka.  Again I would point out the great playing of Joe Osborne, but that is becoming less renewing and more annoying to anyone but bass players 😉 

So what renews you?  I was recently talking with a leader that literally said this “I have to get 8 hours or more of sleep.  If I don’t, it is bad for the business because I make bad decisions.”  So many of us put ourselves so far down the list of priorities that we expect those ahead of us on that list will actually be better off.  Nope.  Not going to happen.  And I can tell you I STILL struggle with this aspect of renewal.  I think the key to both renewal and Harmony could be a “Fifth” Dimension – not the group, although of course, that is why I used them.  

There is Mission, Vision, Values, and even Purpose – all thought of as corporate-focused.  But where are you in that – the tie to you, and your unique way of putting that together?  Harmony is when you can bring that Fifth piece into alignment. You – knitting those together with your own equivalent.  Many substitute the corporate or secular view of those, instead of digging deeper into what is within them – nature, nurture, or… no dimension.  

As with Ron, the church has always helped me find that – not easy work, and certainly not self-centered, but focused on the Harmony that exists when we are aligned with a larger purpose. Take time this Sabbath day to renew your own Fifth Dimension – you and the unique part you were created for, and realize that Harmony will be…. Working on a Groovy Thing. 

Music moves us along
Your arms around me are snug and warm
Happiness is in my soul
I’m about to lose all control
Working on a groovy thing baby
Working on a groovy thing
Working on a groovy thing baby
Let’s not rush in we’ll take it slow
Working on a groovy thing

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