My Tribute to Dr. Gerald Moore
by Barron Jones
It was the spring of 1996 . . . after a Wednesday night bible class, my
family and I arrived home to find a message on the answering machine waiting for
little ole' me, a high school senior with plans to attend Lipscomb University in
Nashville that fall. But, this was no regular message . . . in fact, when I
heard the voice at the other end of that message, it literally sounded like the
voice of God. It was not loud or intrusive . . .no . . . it was quiet, calm and
cool, yet both commanding and captivating: "BARRON, THIS IS GERALD MOORE FROM
THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT AT LIPSCOMB UNIVERSITY. I'M CALLING CONCERNING YOUR MUSIC
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION . . "
Dr. Moore would later inform me through our subsequent conversation that he had received my scholarship application to the music department and was excited about me attending Lipscomb. Ha, I felt special! Even years later as I received a short e-mail from him every June 23rd wishing me a happy birthday, I felt special! (NOTE TO READER: Please don't bust my bubble and tell me that you got those birthday wishes too because I felt special!!). Dr. Moore could make you feel special, but not that cheesy, superficial "special" that is so easy to detect. Dr. Moore was genuine. I could not help but thinking after our first conversation 1) that this is a very nice man 2) that the White Barry White lived in Nashville and 3) that I just had to meet him and maybe even get to be in one of his classes.
Through Dr. Moore's generous scholarship offer and encouragement, I decided to pursue a minor in church music at Lipscomb. His was the first music class that I took, the beloved Music Theory course. I'll freely admit I was one of the "weird" students that enjoyed music theory and probably would have changed my major to music had I been a little more talented in the area. Nonetheless, Dr. Moore's classes were interesting and easy to understand. I never remember going away from a class confused. He had a very skilled and systematic way of presenting information. To say he was a good teacher is such an understatement, but it is quite accurate, for he was indeed!
I remember the very day in his theory class that I learned that the time of a song (like 4/4 time) had noting to do with the tempo. Of course, this is old pat for you music buffs, but it was a totally new concept for me. . . that was such a difficult idea for me to grasp at first, but when the light bulb finally went on, it was such a great feeling. This is why we love our teachers. They open us up to levels of understanding and knowledge that make our appreciation for them live on long past our time with them. Today, sometimes I'll hear some unofficial music expert in a local church (yeah, they're all over) say, "They need to speed that song up . . . it's 4/4 time!" I think about Dr. Moore and how he had patience with me that day as I struggled to lay aside that misunderstanding.
Dr. Moore was also my teacher when I studied the recorder, the only other instrument that I've formally studied besides the piano . . . that is, if you're not counting the time or two where he let me hit a drum in Early Music Consort. I think I was in the Consort two or three years. What memories! Whether it was Noel Hicks on his sackbut or Paul Prill making a sarcastic side remark, we had fun, and Dr. Moore was often in the mix.
When I logged into my Facebook account today and read the news, of course I was shocked and stunned. I've honestly tried to let myself feel sad for the last few hours, but I can't seem to do so. Sadness is just not a feeling that I have right now. I think it's because of my perception of Dr. Moore. He seemed to be (and undoubtedly was) very fulfilled and satisfied with his life and what he did to influence and encourage others. While from our perspective it may seem that things have been cut short, I think Dr. Moore would look back on his life and be proud (of course, in his own humble way) of the hundreds of lives he touched and made better. He was a true, Christian example, but not in the way that we most often think of those words.
So, maybe sadness will come later, but not now . . . I truly feel blessed and privileged to have been a student of Dr. Gerald Moore. I am joyous for Dr. Moore and his transition from labor to reward . . . and I, in my own little way, am proud to be a part of that labor. Praise God everybody!