March as National Womens History Month is always an electrifying, incomprehensible, comprehensive recollection of the vast accomplishments of females who dared to be greatjust because they were.
American and world history cannot be complete without the beautiful creatures of Love, Light and Life called WOMEN! I applaud them all, especially my wonderful wife, mother-in-law and countless others. However, I am inclined to share a special tribute to my first fine arts inspirationmy dear mother, Erma Lee Cole (blood sister of the late Deacon Davis).
Although my Mom just turned 76 years young this past Feb. 24, she is still youthful, vibrant, brilliant and lovely. No one ever believes she raised seven children in Freeport (of which I am the last and, possibly, worst of the bunch).
Most people dont quite understand how she taught each of us the concepts of love, harmony and peace, through the sharing of our God-given musical talents in regional concerts that she produced, even appearing twice in the Illinois History publication in the early 1960s. Mom had us out on stage before we knew what fear was!
Ever since I can remember, Ive known Mom as a paragon of a mother, wife and homemaker. She taught me how to clean, cook, cooperate, excel in school and respect others with God first. She healed racism by welcoming anyone into our home for dinner as well as by performing for vast cultures of audiences. I never saw discrimination of hate. I never knew her to curse, smoke, drink alcohol or do drugs. She was a true role model, as she learned from her own Mom, Josephine Big Momma Davis.
Consequently, I am grateful for her life and legacy of poetry and seasonal songwriting. She inspired my lifetime work in the ministry as well as with children and seniors. I owe a huge portion of my RAMI Hall of Fame Award to her! She supported my dream of Sounds of Good News Productions.
Most of all, I am honored for the first time in my history, to be able to share the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center stage with her at our Some Like it COLE concert in tribute to Nat King Cole Friday, March 17 (St. Patricks Day and Nats actual birthday) at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a Its All In Me Womens Workshop with Dianna Cole and 7:30 p.m. showFREE to the public! Donations will benefit our anti-drug/crime/violence youth projects. That night, we will receive a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow covered with four-leaf clovers and music notes. Congratulations, Mom!
Interesting COLE fact: My Dad, James Alfred Cole (deceased since 1973), was an accomplished pianist and singer whose repertoire consisted of many Nat King Cole tunes. My Mom actually met Dad when she snuck away to a talent contest where she won second placeDad won first. His song was Sweet Lorraine by Nat. WOW!!!
Carl A. Cole is a RAMI Hall of Fame musician and founder of Sounds of Good News Productions.
From the March 15-21, 2006, issue