Kirk Whalum Blog
A dear friend of my dad's invited my band to perform at his church on 95th St. in Chicago a few years back. After the concert my sound engineer of over 20 years, Mac McDonnell (who happens to be white), received the kind gift of a brand new bible with the following hand-written dedication from the pastor:
The pastor's name is Dr. Jeremiah Wright.
Above my head is the balcony where Dr. Martin Luther King was gunned down. I am always humbled when I visit the National Civil Rights Museum. As we celebrate (on April 4th) the 40th anniversary of this tragedy, my hope is that we will search our hearts and ask hard questions. Are we really willing to HEAR each other's struggles? Do we really care about our neighbors -- enough to adapt our politics to account for his/her needs? Even though these questions are difficult, let this be a time to rejoice that Martin was willing to be in harms way -- he apparently believed that his neighbor was worth it. That neighbor is YOU!
"There is a deep well of both frustration and anger in the African-American community in the U.S. And those feelings are borne of the concrete experience of real oppression, discrimination, and blocked opportunities that most of America's white citizens take for granted. African Americans across the spectrum of income and success will speak personally to those feelings of frustration and anger, when white people are willing to listen. But usually we are not. In 2008, to still not comprehend or seek to understand the reality of black frustration and anger is to be in a state of white denial - which, very sadly, is where many white Americans are."
Very few speeches (collections of ideas with the potential to change things for the good) have left me speechless in my 40+ years of listening to people.
This one has left me speechless.
Just a note to say that I've missed being able to blog during our short stay in the lovely St. Lucia. But I got over it with LOADS of "coco tea!"
For those who would say, especially after the unfortunate and brutal Lester Street killings of last week, that Memphis is "a violent and heartless place," here's proof to the contrary. These are some of the many who make up the real Memphis. These folks volunteered for hours while the rest of us Memphians drove by and donated over $50,000 to the remaining children who were victimized. There are sick, troubled - even wicked people in every town. But I LOVE MY TOWN for all the caring, soulful folks who make up THE REAL MEMPHIS! And BTW, check out the ray of light shining down from Heaven on the money (in the photo) that was given out of the goodness of peoples' hearts -- white, black, brown, yellow. SOULSVILLE USA!!!
"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You." Psalm 56:3
I would be lying if I didn't admit that many times, as a husband, a father, a musician... that I am afraid. There are times when I want to crawl up in the Lord's lap. And I have learned just how to do that. I turn to Him and concentrate on His power to protect, provide and control the circumstances in my life. He is sovereign. This is comforting to me because I also know that He loves me. "I am His and He is mine."
I imagine that the three surviving children to the recent brutal murder here in Memphis this past week must be so afraid right now -- afraid both of what they saw and what could happen next. Afraid of facing the reality of losing their parents and siblings in such a morbid way. I offer this prayer up for them. Would you agree with me?
Dear Lord Jesus: Reveal Yourself to these kids in a miraculous way today, so that they will see you as the Comforter. Cause them to know that you are there when everyone else leaves the room, when all the nurses are on break. Fill them with a supernatural sense of well-being that encompasses their spirit, soul and body. Heal all their wounds, spirit, soul and body. Amen
This band knocked my SOCKS off! This is one of the big bands at "The Music School" in Salt Lake City. WOW!!! What an amazing school. I was so impressed with the passion of these kids as well as the excitement and support of the whole community! You can bet there were lots of proud parents in the house. Props to Caleb Chapman for such an incredible vision for this one-of-a-kind school -- in Utah no less! OK, I take back all those jokes about the basketball team name!
BTW, the wild man to the far left is one of my all-time heros of the saxophone, Ed Calle -- Lord have mercy! I'm headed to the woodshed...
THE MEMPHIS, KINGSBURY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER TECHNOLOGY CENTER
These are the future engineers, producers & film-makers from Memphis who will change the world for the better! They are more concerned with where they're GOING than where (or out of what challenges or hardships) they came from. They'll make Memphis proud and the world a better place. I know what I'm talking about.
Props to director Corey Davis
This is the view from the Timpanogos High School campus in Salt Lake City where I'm about to do a workshop on "Spirituality in Jazz."
The difference between some folks' politics could be described as the difference between "headphones & speakers."
Some say, "I hear the music, sounds good. Just don't mess with my volume and don't tell me what I can't listen to."
Others say, "turn the speakers up so those folks over there on the other side of the room without ipods can enjoy it too."
Which one are you? How about we elect a president and a party that likes sharing the music.
Well, it's a done deal. This is my first time seeing it. Wow. What a feeling of both pride and inspiration (to make something special of my generation of Whalum). But it's nice to know that if I or Kenneth, Jr. or Kevin falter, there's Courtney, Kenneth, Kyle, Kortland, Kori, Evan, Kameron, Kellen, Kalah and even little Kobe to take it into the in-zone!
As I board my flight from LaGuardia I was looking at this photo of my dad and remembering his fierce independence and the dignity that made him seem fearless. He must've had fears, but they sure didn't show.
Tonight's concert was really incredible! John Stoddart and I played at 1st United Methodist and had a wonderful time. It was nice to see so many friends and fans from New York as well. And so, I sit here watching the tube and sipping Earl Gray.