Friday, January 16, 2009

A Celebration Of Thanks (4-8-84)

This coming April, I will be celebrating my 75th birthday! But, just 25 short years ago I celebrated the BIG ONE -- number 50. Ann and I like to celebrate milestones in a big way and she planned a concert in my honor at the church we were attending at the time -- South Coast Community Church in Irvine. I wrote up the story for my company paper as it was unique.

She called the concert “A Celebration Of Thanks”. Here is the story as it appeared in my company paper (edited).

Bulletin insert for South Coast and Liberty Baptist churches.

It’s true -- you don’t turn 50 every day! But it is one of those times of your life that need to be celebrated. Just think -- a half a century!

My wife, Ann, started planning for my party several months in advance and was making it a surprise. However, at one point close to the event, she had to tell me about it since I needed to prepare for my participation. She gave a concert in my honor with a reception following it. For 11 years, I sang with a quartet called The Watchmen Gospel Quartet traveling up and down the coast of California with a couple of trips to Idaho. I left the group in November 1982, turning the bass singing part over to our son, Rick, who did it for 8 years and carried on the Moore tradition. He later started his own quartet called The Crimson River Quartet which is still going though not as active at this time (2009).

Ann wanted to feature The Watchmen in this concert along with other specials. She wanted me to join them so I needed to get together with the fellows and practice once more. It had been 16 months since I sang with them and, frankly, I was a little rusty on the words. Ann also wanted me to sing a solo which is why she had to tell me about the concert ahead of time and not make it a complete surprise.

We had been attending South Coast Community Church in Irvine for about a year when she approached the Board of Directors with a proposal. Could she have the use of the 1850 seat auditorium for a concert to be given in honor of my 50th birthday and invite the church next door, Liberty Baptist, to join us. We’d call it “A Celebration of Thanks,” uniting our two congregations following our Sunday evening Bible study. She also requested the use of the fellowship hall for a reception with cake, punch and coffee. The board thought it was so unique that they gave the use of the auditorium and fellowship hall for no charge. Normally there is a charge for that even though it is only the charge for janitorial services.

Over 300 engraved personal invitations were mailed to friends, neighbors, co-workers, and relatives. A special insert was printed and placed in the church bulletin for three Sundays preceding the concert. The insert was given to Liberty Baptist church also and they used it in their bulletins. An ad was placed in the Orange County Register newspaper featuring The Watchmen Gospel Quartet. A friend who is a caterer was hired to provide the cake and other items needed for the reception.

The Watchmen Gospel Quartet featuring their former bass singer.

One of the reasons we wanted to involve the church next door was the lead singer in the quartet attended there. Also, our church had moved in to this location about six months before and we needed to get better acquainted with them. The music director at Liberty Baptist was a friend of our daughter, Brenda. He and the lead singer for the quartet used to sing with Brenda at La Quinta High School. The two fellows also prepared some musical numbers for the concert.
Ann and I sang in a small group called The Madrigals at South Coast. They were to sing in the concert also. So you see, I had three things to get ready for, and no one would want that just to happen without any practice.

The South Coast Madrigals - Dick Top left -- Ann 2nd from left front row

My uncle and aunt, Ray and Edith Moore from Oklahoma, surprised me and joined us for the celebration. Ray was in music all his life and sang a song for the concert. I had lived with them my last three years of high school.

Uncle Ray Moore singing a solo -- Dick Moore featured on a solo also.

So the big night arrived and, believe it or not, we had about 1,000 at my 50th birthday concert party. And I knew most of them! The quartet sang, invited me to join them, the Madrigals sang, I soloed, Uncle Ray soloed, Danny and Dave from Liberty Baptist performed, a trio called The South Coasters sang, and a good time was had by all. The reception followed with cake cutting, pictures, etc. Ann had a professional photographer and also had the concert put on videotape for my future enjoyment.

Dick & Ann cutting the cake with daughter Brenda looking on.

Relatives that attended the concert and reception.

Looking at the pictures I see many of my relatives who are no longer living. I’m so glad that they were able to participate in my special night of celebration.


Julie Hibbard said...

Wow wow wow!! 300 people? What on Earth is she planning for 75? What great memories, Dick!! I am so proud of you and your marriage and all you have accomplished. And I LOVE sharing this joy with you through your blog.

If you have room for 301 at the 75th, I'M IN!!!

Rick Moore said...

Thanks for posting that. I didn't remember all those family members being there that night. We had a good time, that I remember.