The Concert

It’s Been a Long Time Coming

“…It’s been a long time comin’, but I know my change is gonna come!” (Sam Cook)

People who talk with me know that I have a favorite saying- “Everything in God’s good time!”

After my retirement from teaching, January 5, 2015, it took me a while to heal from the losses of several loved ones, the change in lifestyle, missing my children, and quite honestly, an incomprehensibly tough last few months on the job.  I slowed everything down to a snail’s pace, and kept a somewhat low profile for a year, meditating, , praying, sometimes fasting, and some singing-thanks to friends who kept calling me for gigs.  Then, in January of 2016, things picked up, and, lately, my life has been barreling forward at breakneck speed!  Wonder of wonders- I’ve been keeping up!  Not under my own volition, but by the Grace of God! Churches, museums, schools, clubs, weddings, funerals…but wait!  There’s more!

Since the first time I went there, I have been in love with the beautiful auditorium in the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, with its gorgeous design inside and out, and its awesome sound.  As I have sat in the audience and listened to glorious music and witnessed some of the world’s greatest performances, (Sweet Honey in the Rock, Jasmine Guy, Lisa Fisher, Savion Glover, Mavis Staples, Cecile McLorin Salvant and more) there was always this buzzing little voice way in the back of my head saying, “I’d love to sing in that spot-just once!”

Well, it’s about to happen, and I am so, so excited! I’ve been invited to join two brilliant musicians-world renown jazz vocalist Kevin Mahogany and saxophonist Bobby Watson, as well as a jazz band made up of middle school kids, in concert at my “dream” venue- the SMDCAC! From inside my head to God’s ears!  In a series of incredible events, God made it happen! After the concert had already been planned, the publicity had been arranged, and the thought of performing there was the last thing on my mind, I answered my home phone one morning (which I rarely do!), and, voila! I was added to that concert! On that stage!

God had gotten me ready.  One day I was busy behind the scenes at an event, working with others, making sure that things ran smoothly for someone else, making sure that person was honored as he deserved to be. As a footnote to the program, I sang a song.  The next day, that appreciative person changed my life with a phone call- because of that song!  In order to receive my blessing, I had to work behind the scenes for someone else to receive their blessing!

And that, dear friends is the wonderful thing about God.  He does things in His own way, in His own good time!  Now I’m learning-less of me, more of Him. This jazz concert really is His show, and now that I’ve been invited, I plan to sing to His glory!!!

                 1605.JazzInTheBay

 

 

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The Message Today-Love

Brendapic

I’m Brenda Alford, the singer, the newly retired teacher, the wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, neighbor, and friend.  I could not be any of these without God.  His Love, His Mercy, and His Grace have brought me to this beautiful place in my life where I am able to appreciate the gifts that He has given to me without any reservations! The gift of love is what this message is focusing on today.  Without it, None of my identities would exist.  God is Love, and without Him, I would not be.  The Jazz that I sing would not happen if it were not for my love of God and His love for me, plain and simple. As we examine all that we experience, do, have, and hope for, I have found that when we put God (Love) first, no matter how overwhelming, how tragic or how puzzling our challenges seem, things always work out, eventually!  The great jazz giant, John Coltrane, had the most extreme challenges in his life, but what was his greatest opus? What recording is he still best known for?  “A Love Supreme“, a jazz anthem for the ages!  Whether it’s making a living at music, teaching, house cleaning, banking, or anything imaginable, when we connect whatever we do with God and His Love, that Love Supreme, the possibilities are endless!

Love,

Brenda

My husband, my sister, and my daughter and me (in tiara and boa)  at my retirement dinner-Thank you Avocado Elementary School and my 3rd Grade
My husband, Dr. Jomills Henry Braddock, II, my sister, Sharon Alford,  my daughter, Dr. Melody Baldwin,  and me (in tiara and feathers!!!) at my recent retirement dinner-Thank you Avocado Elementary School and my 3rd Grade “A Team”!