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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Six Degrees of Separation

The older I get, the more I run into these strange and wonderful meetings:

Bruce and I decided to sell our pop-up camper. We've used the trailer for close to ten years, camping in many western national parks. Through word of mouth, a work colleague told a friend that we were selling, and the friend wanted to come up and take a look.

Last Saturday, a big white Tundra pulled into our driveway. Two attractive older women and their nice husbands and one younger man climbed out of the vehicle. We all introduced ourselves to each other. The one man (the potential buyer) and his wife and son went with Bruce to look inside the trailer. I stayed to talk to Bill and his wife Marie.

Something about Bill made me do a brain scramble. He looked familiar but I couldn't quite place him.
We got to talking and he mentioned that he used to be an opera singer but now he toured the country doing sacred concerts.
"Oh really?" Now this was going to be an interesting conversation since I'd trained to be an opera singer myself, but God had re-directed me toward music education and children's ministry.
"Yes," Bill said. "In fact, I used to sing at the Metropolitan Opera. I sang roles with Beverly Sills, Joan Sutherland, Leontyne Price.
Wow, now I was thoroughly impressed. The Met is the cadillac vehicle for operatic performance in the US and the singers mentioned were some of the biggest stars during the 60s and 70s.
"Do you have a business card?"
He handed me his card and I glanced at the name.
Bill was William Harness.
"I know you!" I gave him a big grin. "Well, I don't know you, but I've seen you sing many times."
Bill looked surprised and delighted.
"Yes, the first time I saw you was at Paul Masson Vineyards. You were part of a summer concert series. You were singing with Shigemi Matsumoto and Bruce Yarnell. I especially remember that concert because you sang that gorgeous duet with Bruce Yarnell  from The Pearlfishers.

Bill couldn't believe I could actually remember a concert given way back in the mid seventies.
"And I saw you at the Sanfrancisco opera and also at a concert at Stearn Grove."  I'd also read some articles in Opera News that mentioned roles that Harness was doing.

After Bill and Marie and the others drove off with their newly purchased camper, I ran to the computer to check out Bill's website. He's been a busy man, having spent the last thirty years singing sacred concerts all over the country. I listened to some of the song selections, and he's still got this amazing, Metropolitan opera voice: big, rich, beautiful, perfect diction, great phrasing, amazing high tones.

Gosh, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get him to come and sing a concert at our church? Our church has this wonderful music ministry called "Offerings" the second Friday of the month, featuring one of our many talented musicians, paired with an artist and a display.

Anyway, isn't it amazing how one chance meeting because of a used pop up trailer led to a conversation about a past connection and the possibility of future connection with William Harness singing at our church?
Lots of people would label this serendipity.
But I just say: Isn't God amazing?


  1. Hi Dena -

    How neat that you got to meet this gentleman in person! I recognized the other opera singers' names, but not his.

    Susan :)

  2. Susan,I believe he would have become more of a household name if the Lord hadn't called him away from the opera world and into the vocal ministry world. If you like gospel, check him out. What a voice!

  3. Great story! And Yes! God is amazing! :-)

    God bless and have a nice weekend :-)


  4. Thanks ol' Geezer. You have a nice one yourself.