Rockin’ Jerusalem

I’ve blogged about Jim Thomas’s Spirituals Choir, in which I sing, a couple of times. See especially “Singing for Our Lives,” from July 2012, and “Sing All the Way,” from July of this year. This past weekend we sang at a celebration of the life and times of our late colleague Bob Lee, who died suddenly last month.

On impulse, and with some trepidation, I recorded our performance with my little Flip camcorder. Why the trepidation? I use the Flip almost entirely to record Travvy’s and my practice sessions and Cyber Rally-O entries, so I’ve paid zero attention to sound quality. I was going to record the choir in the acoustically somewhat challenging Ag Hall (it’s big!) with this gadget that fits in the palm of my hand?

I’m pleased to report that it turned out pretty well. Not pro or semi-pro or even high-end amateur, but it’ll give you a feel for what Jim does, and what the choir does, and how much we miss Bob. “Rockin’ Jerusalem,” led by powerhouse soprano Christina Montoya, nearly brought the house down.

P.S. I admin a little blog for the U.S. Slave Song Project, of which Jim Thomas’s Spirituals Choir is a part. So far it’s been mostly about the choir, but we’re hoping to include more about the project, the songs, and related subjects in the future. Check it out and sign up if you feel like it.

Aside: Recording the performance was easy compared to getting it up on YouTube. The usual limit for a YouTube upload is 15 minutes. My video was 16 1/2. For the life of me I couldn’t see anything to cut, certainly not a minute and a half’s worth. Well, there is a way to extend your upload limit if your account is in good standing — as mine is — but you have to “verify” your account. This, YouTube assured me, is easy. All you have to do is give YouTube your cell phone number, an automated caller will almost immediately call that number to give you a six-digit number, whereupon you type that number into your computer and voilà, your account is verified.

Easy peasy — if you have a cell phone. I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t want a cell phone. I read earlier today that 91 percent of the U.S. population has a cell phone and 56 percent has a smart phone. Well, yesterday afternoon a kind friend helped me out. The verification took about two seconds. The upload took more than an hour and a half, which is about what I expected given its length.

But now I’ve got this sinking feeling that sooner rather than later I’m going to have to get a cell phone. Cell phones, I suspect, are going to become indispensable for more and more things that have nothing to do with talking or texting. Arrgghh.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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7 Responses to Rockin’ Jerusalem

  1. Juleann says:

    Thank you for overcoming your trepidation, Susanna. It is a lovely tribute to Bob Lee and I was glad to be able to view this portion of the service. Jim Thomas and the Choir are a treasure as well.


  2. Sharon Stewart says:

    Speaking of cell phones being used for other stuff besides talking and texting…
    A Canadian bank has an app called Cheque-in: you use your cell to photograph a cheque made out to you and it is automatically deposited in your account. No more having to make a trip to the bank. That alone might make me excited.


    • I could get excited about that, although it seems I mostly take checks to the bank to cash them. Everything else is direct deposit. But I could go for a portable device that let me enter checks and debit card transactions into Quicken at the point of sale. My paper check register is on the verge of out of control. Has been for years now, keeping track of checks (fewer and fewer), debit cards, EFTs, etc.


  3. Shirley says:

    Beautifully done, Susanna! I really enjoyed it…..


  4. Anda Divine says:

    ” Cell phones, I suspect, are going to become indispensable for more and more things that have nothing to do with talking or texting. Arrgghh.”

    Yeah, like being NSA’s windows into our worlds.


    • True, but the thought doesn’t bother me much. Maybe it’s because I came of political age in the antiwar movement, when we expected our phones to be tapped (and they often were). Or, later, living in a community where the FBI et al. were forever sniffing around to see what they could discover about Patty Hearst, Susan Saxe, or some other radical on the run. Or living in a small town where it’s possible to keep things private but I’m continually amazed by how much I know that’s absolutely none of my business.


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