Love was in the air and Ralph and I were to lead all the music for the annual church of Christ Primer’s marriage retreat. Some 500 couples came together for a weekend of romance and biblical teaching on marriage… we planned the music and chose the band- set up rehearsals- THEN GOT THE FLU!

First Hannah had it all through her February vacation, then Caleb and I got it- and I lost my voice! Then Ralph got it. And this was no quick sickness- I was feverish and dizzy for a week nad even after that could barely talk much less sing. When Ralph got it the week before the retreat, we know we were in trouble!

He decided he couldn’t play at all! I was crushed. How was I goignt o sing our song “Always Kiss Good Night” at a marriage retreat without him? I considered bailing out and staying home with him- but I felt I would leave the leaders in too much of a pickle at the last minute… so we made a plan that Ralph would come to the retreat and rest in the hotel while I led the music. Now something that should have been wonderful became very stressful.

I tried to find another keyboard player to replace him- but none was to be found- The band was gonna be me, bass and drums and 5 singers.

We rehearsed in our new rehearsal space (first time!) that Thursday night and things were a bit shaky. One of the songs we were doing was “You Are Good” by Israel Houghton and it demanded a funky lead guitar player and horn parts- we had neither.

Then on Friday the lead evangelist of the event got me on the phone and wanted to add some songs and have me learn the title song “Love Story” by Taylor swift for the next day! NOw on top of everything I was up late the night before learning another new song! I should have said no- but it fit the retreat so well that I relented- and besides- it’s about Romeo and Juliet and I do have a soft spot for that story!

Well the day came and Ralph dragged himself into the car and we drove to Providence form Boston- getting there later than we’d planned and making sound check very rushed. I had most of my voice back but I knew I was not at my best. All I could do was pray.

God heard me! Everything on Saturday went fantastic- I remembered all the words to “Love Story” and Dwayne did a fantastic job on “Always Kiss Good Night” (which we sang to track with my guitar live since we didn’t have Ralph live- at least he was there on the track!)

After the messages and playing for the day were over I got amazing take out at McCormick and Schmick and spent the evening with Ralph watching movies in the room. Would have liked to go to the dance- not to be.

Sunday was a miracle in itself. Part of the band arrived late, making me very nervous; yet we got the sound check done. Darlene Burgess also sang beautifully both with Dwayne on “Always and Forever” and on her solo on “Sanctuary”! Recently her health has taken a turn for the worse, please keep her in your prayers.

Other singers in the group were Bill Rocha and Ron McCormick with Kenny Hester on bass guitar and Tom Scotto on drums.

Somehow (God) I was able to sing out all weekend! The band rocked, the singers praised and the worship was wonderful. Many many people came up to thank us for the music. I give all the glory to Him. Now I need to rest my voice for a while!!!