Just as the pregame for the BCS National Championship game began to wind down tonight, I noticed a stream of comments on Twitter about the television actress who sang "God Bless America." "Didn't know Audra Whats-her-name could sing," read a typical one.
Didn't know Audra McDonald could sing? Really?
For me, it was just the opposite. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I might have known that McDonald, a four time Tony winner, is on the ABC show Private Practice these days. But to me, she will always be a singer first and foremost. A singer of singular, almost otherworldly talent. A singer whose mesmerizing, lush voice so moved me during a concert at the Kennedy Center that I began to cry, something that had never happened to me before or since. It was a month after September 11, 2001, and she sang a song called "Some Days." It's a signature piece for her, with lyrics from a poem by the great James Baldwin, including this verse, which seemed almost unbearably poignant at the time:
Some days leave
some days grieve
some days you almost don't believe.
Some days believe you,
some days don't,
some days believe you
and you won't.
Some days weary
some days mad
some days more than make you glad.
Some days, some days,
more than shine,
witnesses, coming on down the line!
Fearful that even a single person out there might think of McDonald as nothing more than a tv doctor, I leave you with this.
I'm not sure if I believe in angels. But this is what I hope they sound like.
(Double click to see best.)
Update: The world really does work in mysterious ways.