Remember, O Lord; make yourself known in this time of our affliction, and give me courage, O King of the gods and Master of all dominion! Put eloquent speech in my mouth before the lion, and turn his heart to hate the man who is fighting against us, so that there may be an end of him and those who agree with him. But save us by your hand, and help me, who am alone and have no helper but you, O Lord.
-Esther 14: 12-14
My experience with the Black community since I arrived in New Orleans was vast. Without going into detail, I’d simply like to offer 2 of many memories.
At one concert I presented Dr Gloria Francis Bacon. It was on Easter Sunday, and Manon and I got a full church to show up. Gloria, with her extraordinary accompanist from Chicago performed a very moving program. But the music could well have been appropriate for Good Friday.
I wondered why?
At another program, Dr. Valerie Jones Francis asked if I would accompany her on the piano. It was held in Marrero. I played some classical songs that she sang; and another Black pianist played the gospel songs. The way she interacted with her accompanist was exciting and amazing to me. It was Martin Luther King Day.
I don’t know much about history, but it seemed to me that for Black folks Christ is still hanging and crucified on that Calvary tree.
I’ve taken race seminars, and worked in our Black universities, all Black blues clubs, and presented and arranged many Black concerts at Trinity over the years. I’ve come away from it only to realize more fully how wide the gulf is between people of color and white folks. I was very lucky to have had this experience. It molded me in spite of myself, almost as if I was called.
Musical Reflection The Crucifixion - Dr. Valerie Francis and Wilfred Delphin
Lord, help me to hear your call to be a bridge that can stretch wide over the gulf that separates us from one another. Amen.