Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Every Friday morning I take the Red Line to Fullerton, transfer to the Brown Line, and step out at Western, where I walk two blocks south to school, my trusty guitar in tow.

I first registered for guitar lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music in my middler year, at the same time I was learning to preach. I was clueless about either subject, having only heard the thing done before, never having tried it myself. But I wasn’t alone. Most of my classmates in Guitar 1 were just as new as I was to frets and fingerboards.

Sitting in a circle of folding chairs, we began with the simple chords of Woody Guthrie’s “California Stars,” our first uncertain steps into the wonders of frets and fingerboards. Over time, we learned lots of songs, some old, some new. And then, at the end of every session, we’d gather in the concert hall with students from all of the other classes for a great big sing-and-play-along.

It was like church. (I know, I know… such a seminarian.) And so one day in the spring, we took it to church. Several classmates, including one who was honing his banjo skills at the Old Town School, led a bluegrass Service of the Word for morning chapel at LSTC. It was every bit as awesome as you’d imagine.

Since returning to campus for this final year, then, I’ve continued with my group guitar lessons. They continue to be a Sabbath for me, in more ways than one.

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