Lifting voices against the darkness

Today’s MPR 50th anniversary segment pulls a piece from the last broadcast of The Morning Show in December 2008. I remember most every moment from the broacast — a full Fitzgerald Theater house at 5 in the morning and an overflow crowd for pancakes at the church next door. Who can forget that? But that wasn’t the highlight of the morning.

This moment was.

It seems a good day to reprint the piece I reprinted a few years ago. We seem to be having more frequent “good days” like that, which isn’t a good thing.

(Originally published December 11, 2015)

Seven years ago, we lifted our voices against the darkness

MPR Photo

We are only allowed so many memorable moments in our relationship with the stuff that comes out of a radio, and there can only be one at the top of the list.

It was eight seven years ago today when the personal lists of many of us had to be rewritten to put a new item at the top.

It was the final broadcast of MPR’s The Morning Show with Dale Connelly and Tom Keith and I think only now can we fully understand the context.

The year 2008 was bad. Really bad. And we knew it was going to get worse. People were losing their homes after losing their jobs. The stock market and economy had collapsed.

So when a theater full of people who got up before sunrise began singing — without cue — with Peter Ostroushko, who was singing a properly mournful tune, the symbolism was unmistakable. In the darkest of hours, we lifted up our voices and sang.

As I wrote at the time:

It felt very much like people were comforting themselves and others, not only against the immediate sadness of the passing of a broadcast era, but against the steady drumbeat of bad news that we’re forced to endure.

Of course, we didn’t know it at the time, but less than three years later, Tom Keith, one of the nicest men ever to grace the planet, would be dead.

(h/t: Julia Schrenkler)