4 min read

Snapshots: Rosie and the Dragonaires

I was sitting in the cafeteria minding my own business—which probably meant keeping my head down, eating my cheese sandwich, and planning my exit strategy. I had no idea what was about to happen.
Snapshots: Rosie and the Dragonaires
Photo by Frank Alarcon / Unsplash

In today's email:
* Snapshots: Rosie and the Dragonaires -- a story from my past.
* Scripture-Lyric-Reflection (SLR) -- A devotional thought for today.
* Links to recent articles -- keep reading!

Rosie and the Dragonaires

Sometime in the fall of 1988, as a sophomore at Dallas High School in the small bedroom community of Dallas, Oregon, I was sitting in the cafeteria minding my own business—which probably meant keeping my head down, eating my cheese sandwich, and planning my exit strategy. I had no idea what was about to happen.

"Steve, please show up for rehearsal during zero period tomorrow morning."

I looked up to see Mrs. Rosenbalm, affectionately known by her students as "Rosie," looking down at me from across the table.

"Okay," I responded before I had even thought about what she had said.

Zero period began at 7:15 a.m. each morning, an hour before the regularly scheduled first period when the elite high school jazz choir – Dragonaires – rehearsed.

I was a Dragonaire. But I hadn't even tried out.

The first time I encountered Rosie was on the first day of my first year of junior high. She enthusiastically endeavored to turn a motley group of seventh graders into something resembling a choir.

And then she did it again in eighth grade...and again in my first year of high school.

By the time my sophomore year came around, she was well aware of my interest and ability in singing. She was also very aware of my rather intense shyness—an attribute that reared its head anytime I was given a solo to sing!

During the first week or two of school during my sophomore year, announcements were made that Dragonaires during tryouts would be during the lunch hour for 2-3 consecutive days. Dragonaires was the high school elite jazz choir that traveled, went on tour, and sang around town for various occasions.

Rosie invited me to try out. I never showed up at the lunchtime tryouts.

I was too nervous...terrified, actually.

I wanted to try out but couldn't bring myself to take the risk.

So, it was on the last day of tryouts, near the end of lunchtime, that Rosie came to the table where I was finishing my lunch.

I was a Dragonaire, like it or not! I wonder if she wondered whether I would actually show up the following day.

I don't know why she did that, but I'm glad she did. Being in this group, singing with a group of people who took their music seriously, and the encouragement from the upper-level students in the choir did a lot for me. It would still be several years after high school that I would become the young adult who actually enjoyed singing and playing guitar on stage. But I'm not sure if that ever would have happened without Rosie and the Dragonaires.

I suppose she broke the rules for me, giving me something I hadn't earned. Rosie didn't mistake my timidness for laziness or lack of responsibility. She must have known that I just needed a little nudge.

I hope that my use of this beautiful gift of music over years of life and ministry has repaid that undeserved gift that came to my lunch table that day.

Thank you, Rosie.


Scripture-Lyric-Reflection (SLR)

April 20, 2024

person writing on notepad
Photo by Calum MacAulay / Unsplash

“I don’t wanna go through the motions. 
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all-consuming passion inside of me. 
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
‘What if I had given everything
instead of going through the motions.’”

The Motions by Matthew West

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