"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer
Monday, May 14, 2012
In honor of Edwin Heppner
My freshman year at a small Christian college did not go well. I was invited to NOT RETURN by the Dean of Men predicated by my "D" plus average and my really sucky attitude.
The one bright spot of the year was being a part of the Chorale. We sang some great music and we also performed at various churches all dressed up in our Tuxs etc. I was a very average baritone. Average was my specialty.
The director was Mr. Heppner, a small dapper guy with a great tenor voice and a very nice wife. I did think, and do think many years later, he was an excellent chorale director. Periodically I tried to track him down but with no success. Then last week I was thinking of the chorale and decided to use the internet - specifically whitepages.com. There were 3 people listed with his specific name and two of them were too young, according to the WhitePages. So I decided to take a chance, spend a dime and call the one who lived in Arizona. BINGO, I got him. His wife answered the phone, I asked if this was the Heppner residence and if Mr. Heppner ever lead a college choral group. She said, "Yes indeed, let me put you on."
I spoke with Mr. Heppner for about 5 minutes. I knew he had left the college but didn't know why. It turned out he had a very bad back and was increasingly unable to stand and lead choirs so he retired from that profession and became a driving instructor. He said he had a seat especially made for him and it had worked out fine. ( He ended up having a couple of different back surgeries and was never the same. )
I told him who I was and that he would not remember me ( again, I was a very non-descript baritone). He wanted to remember me but he couldn't. I told him how much I appreciated and enjoyed my year in his chorale. He seemed both touched and appreciative. He again asked what my name was and I told him.
He is now very old and sounded very frail but delighted to hear from an old student.
I'm glad I called him; I'm glad I could find him thru the wonders of the internet.
I did not tell him that of the 40 members of the chorale, 39 got "As" each semester and one non-descript baritone received a "B." I didn't tell him A) because I have gotten so much humorous mileage out of that true story and B) I was afraid he might feel badly about it. That would have been thoughtless on my part. [Back in the day, the professor posted your grades next to your name on his door for all the world to see. That's how I knew I had the only Bs. ]
So Mr. Heppner, you were a good man, an excellent tenor and a fine choral director. Kudos to you and may God bless your remaining years.
Posted by S.G. at 2:43 PM