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A guest post by Ada Brownell: Gifted Musicians

David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets (1 Chronicles 13:8).

Some people are born with amazing musical talent. Our daughter, Carolyn who died of lymphoma at age 31, had perfect pitch. We didn’t know anything about perfect pitch when she was younger. When she was somewhere between age 6 and 8 I was shocked when she walked up to the church organist and said, “You aren’t flatting your E when you play ‘When the Roll is Called up Yonder.’”

I knew the organist wasn’t flatting the highest E in the melody, but I wouldn’t have told the woman.

One day our oldest son, Gary, and Carolyn played at the piano. He must have sensed she had that talent, because while she had her back turned, he pressed different notes and she’d call out the correct key. Then Carolyn announced the washing machine worked on a certain pitch, and the vacuum sweeper hummed on another.

My brother who knew about perfect pitch joined in the fun and explained her musical gift.  At age 3 Carolyn picked out “Jesus Loves Me” on a little Schroeder piano (like in the Snoopy comic strip) and at 5 played her brother’s music lessons by ear when he quit practicing.

When she started lessons she could play anything on the page and memorize it quickly. As she advanced into Bach and difficult arrangements, including accompanying Gary while he played the trumpet, her only restriction was her small hands. When she became a teenager Carolyn played for our singing group. We sang a lot of recorded songs, and she could take the accompaniment off the recording and play exactly like it.

While still in high school she sang in the choir at Red Rocks Amphitheater in the Denver area at the Assemblies of God General Council celebration. The piano hadn’t been delivered in time for the choir to practice. Ralph Carmichael, the great Christian composer and director, asked if anyone had perfect pitch. Carolyn’s friends volunteered her, and she gave the pitches so the choir could practice acapella. Later, Carmichael sent her a pile of autographed arrangements as a thank you.

Carolyn accompanied the mass choir from Denver area churches in the cantata production of “If My People” at Red Rocks in 1976.

When David’s heart was set aflame with the joy of bringing back the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he wanted it brought with music, singing and instruments. Yet, David needed a director. The man he chose was Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, and he was skillful.

Where did this skill come from? According to 1 Chronicles 25:6-7, Levite youth were trained in the music of the Lord by King David, their fathers and other relatives. But God gave them, David and our Carolyn musical gifts.

Prayer: Lord, I give my talents to you. Help me to joyfully praise you with song and instruments. Open doors you want me to go through. In Jesus’ name I thank and praise you.


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To write this inspirational historical romance the author drew from her experiences growing up in Fruita, Colo., near Palisade’s peach country, and from her years as a journalist covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, a former asylum.

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Bio:

Ada Brownell could sing harmony as a young child and she began singing in church when she was about age 5. She sang with a trio in Lakewood (Colo.) Assembly with Betty Vawter and Lila Butrick; Damascus Singers in Arvada, Colo., with Sandy and Jimmy Tetley; for 17 years with Praise trio in Pueblo with Gloria Vigil and Gayle Ortiz. Ada played piano or organ in churches most of her life.

She is a retired journalist, author of hundreds of articles and stories in Christian publications, and seven books. She still writes op-ed articles for newspapers.

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1 comment on “A guest post by Ada Brownell: Gifted Musicians”

  1. Ruby Mae O'Dell Reply

    Beautiful post, Ads! Your Caroline reminds me a great deal of my sister, Moriah. She’s fourteen and she plays the mandolin, guitar, harmonica, and the piano, all by ear. She’s never had a lesson. I’m so thankful God blesses each of His children with different talents so we can all bring glory and honor to Him.
    Many Blessings to you and yours, Ada!

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