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Your Singing Means More Than You Know

Your Singing Means More Than You Know

Eight pennies, and all the joy in the world for this Colorado quartet

By Jim Johnson

Velcro quartet out of the Colorado Springs America the Beautiful Chorus decided to go Christmas caroling last December. They secured the necessary permits to sing in the city plaza area for about four hours. Up and down they went, singing every carol they knew, getting all the typical accolades.

Then came along an elderly woman. She walked up and handed them $5. They refused. She insisted. They refused again. She told them there was no way they were going to refuse her gift after they had brightened her day so much. So, eventually, they caved in and accepted her generosity.

Then came a man who appeared homeless.

They were mid-song when this man approached and held out a horizontal clenched fist toward them. Continuing to sing, a couple of the guys gave him a fist-bump. "No, man! Hold our your palm underneath!" he said, demonstrating an outstretched, upward palm with his other hand. The quartet bass, Gary N. Hickenlooper, played along and put his open palm beneath the man's clenched fist.

The man opened his hand and dropped eight cents onto the bass's hand. Eight individual pennies.

The quartet halted and told the man they couldn't take his money. He refused to take it back. They tried again; he refused again.

"You don't understand," he said. "I'm out here, and things are tough. Really tough. Then you guys come along and just fill my day with joy. Merry Christmas. It's the least I can do."

When, really ... it was probably the most he could do.

That man didn't care about how many 7th chords the quartet sang, or whether they were in tune, or their contest placement. He only cared so that they transformed his life so much that day, he gave them everything he had-- 8 pennies.

Think that life was enriched by singing?