I had a thoughtful moment yesterday when I realized the date was November 20th. That day will forever belong to Glenn, the young man you see pictured with a very young me. That photo was taken in 1977, the year we sang together in the ReGeneration.
Glenn was my “mike partner”–meaning that we shared a microphone, a stage position, and pretty much sang into each other’s faces every night. Glenn and I had something else in common, too, though we only talked about it to each other. You see, ReGen had ten singers and was known for its exceptionally low bass singer and very high soprano singer. When those two were respectively lifting the rafters and growling like a bass fiddle, someone else had to cover the lead, so there was another first soprano and another bass. That would be me and Glenn. We often joked about being the anonymous “couple on the end”, i.e, spare parts, but it really wasn’t a big deal. And trust me–once I developed nodes on my vocal chords, I was grateful to not be the only one singing the soprano part.
Anyway, Glenn was like the brother I never had. His birthday was Nov. 20th, mine was Dec. 20th. We wore the same size shoe. (Not sure I should confess that in public.) 🙂 He was funny, charming, handsome, and his voice was like velvet. I still love listening to him on the albums we recorded.
Glenn was also the first person I knew personally who died of AIDS. I didn’t find out until a couple of years after he died, because we’d come off the road and gone our separate ways. I knew he was living a gay lifestyle, but he would never admit that to me.
He brought the AIDS crisis home to my heart. When I heard the news, I mourned him and wrote his mother, who wrote me back and gave me the full story about how Glenn had gone home to his family and had been reconciled with the Lord and his parents before he died.
Ever since, I’ve had a heart of compassion for gay people . . . yes, I’m appalled by the way some have refused to accept the will of the majority with Proposition Eight out in California, but still I think of Glenn . . . and I know there’s hope. But we have to see people as people, and not as groups or causes.
I don’t think this post really has a point today, other than to take a moment to reflect upon a young man who lived briefly . . . but touched more lives than he knew.