Monday, June 30, 2008

Amazing Grace

These sketches are of my friend, Ed Gabrielsen. I have known Ed for about 30 years. We grew up together in Houston, Texas and now we both live in small towns in Maine. He in Norway and I in Camden.

We first met in 7th grade. We were recruited by a mutual friend of ours to play in a band for the talent show. We played "My Love is Alive" by Gary Wright and won second place. (the link I added will take you to a You Tube video I found of Gary Wright singing this song on Midnight Special - remember that show? Anyway, I digress...)

Ed and I went on to become fast friends. Following high school, we both studied architecture and shared an apartment the first two years of college. Our paths parted after our second year at University. I continued on with architecture and Ed moved to Dallas to study music at Southern Methodist University and develop his voice. He is talented in many ways but his greatest joy has always been singing. It is a gift he was given and a gift he freely gives to others.

Late last year, as my mother neared the end of her battle with endrometrial cancer, I learned from one of my mother's close friends that my mom wanted Ed to sing her favorite hymn, "Amazing Grace", at her memorial service. When I heard this, I was hit with such a strong emotional bolt that I could no longer continue the conversation. Tears came to my eyes, my ability speak shut down. I saw myself there at the service and in my mind, I heard Ed's beautiful voice. That same beautiful, caring, gentle, deep voice that has been there with me for the past 30 years. It overwhelmed me that it was her wish that my friend Ed sing at her memorial service. I knew she loved Ed's voice but I can't help but think that a part of her also wanted to make sure Ed was going to be there for me at the time of her passing.

My mom went into the hospital on December 29, 2007. Ed just happened to call me while I was with my mom in the emergency room. I probably hadn't spoken with Ed in 2 or 3 weeks. He told me he wanted to come and sing for my mom while she was still alive. A week later, after it became understood that my mom might only have as little as a few more days to live, I asked Ed to come.

He sang for my mom at the hospital the next day.It was the last time my mom heard Amazing Grace.

Since then, Ed has started posting videos on You Tube. One song clips of him singing in different settings. Sometimes singing acapella, sometimes singing while playing the harmonium or piano.

In this one, he sings Amazing Grace.


Janet said...

Is this talented guy my old student at Texas A&M? I can't tell--would like to know! Thanks.

Ken Foster said...

Ed was at Texas A&M from 1981 to 1983 and again sometime in the early 90´s I believe.