Thursday, June 22, 2006

To most people at ACU, he's the dean of campus life. I doubt most students could tell you half the things he does in a day, though we know he's one of the busiest people on campus. We see him at chapel, sitting on the stage and giving announcements and leading prayers. Because our school is small, we also see him around, in the campus center or the administration building or at special events. But to me, he's also the guy who leads singing at the Highland Church of Christ on Wednesday nights.

Some people call his leading style "old-fashioned" - that doesn't really explain it, but its strict rhythm feels different than the more fluid style employed by some younger song leaders. He is never without his pitch pipe, and just last night he complained, "I can't ever just sing with a Power Point sheet. Words on a page are just words on a page. I need to see the music!" He's not only a "Church of Christ boy," as he says laughingly, but a musician, and I love him for it.

His eyes are startlingly blue among their laugh lines; his smile is quick, and his laugh is always ready. Even on some Wednesdays, when he admits with a sigh, "We're tired. It was hard to get here tonight," I can count on a hug and a genuine interest in how I'm doing. He's old enough to be my dad, but he treats me more like a younger sister, or, more simply, a friend.

Standing on the Highland stage with its hideous orange carpet, we joke around about the music and the sound system and what's going on around campus this week. I tease him when he forgets the words in warm-up, and on nights like last night, when he starts to sing the wrong words during service and barely catches himself, we can't help but look at each other and smile. He trusts me to lead prayers, goes patiently over songs I don't know, accepts my occasional hesitant corrections on the new melodies he knows less well, and never says a word when I slip on a harmony or quaver on an ending. As the lone singer on the praise team who didn't grow up Church of Christ, I have a slight inferiority complex - but Wayne Barnard is always glad I'm there, and he never forgets to tell me so.


Blogger Scott said...

I don't remember thinking so kindly of the Dean of Men when I was at ACU. Of course, he had several corrective meetings with my rebellious behind. (actually, I loved him very much, but he DID have to correct my rebellious behind).

Great post.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

when i was at acu i was sent to see the dean of women (they had that back then)...then when that didn't work they sent me to the dean of men..hahhahah..

Wayne is an old buddy..we've been on campaigns together and i love the guy!

1:46 AM  

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