In the late 70’s, I used to go with friends to the Fireside Restaurant with friends and my eventual wife, Carol. They had a place called the East Room, and then moved the entertainment to a new place called the Showplace Lounge. There was always a group who liked to dance and just hang out.
One of the reasons we liked going there was a combo consisting of Jerry and Rick Bisbee. Rick could play the keyboards like nobody’s business and Jerry could sing. Oh, could he sing!
We got to be good friends with both of them. I’d see Jerry at lunch and we’d each have a sandwich, talk a little business and go back to work. He was upbeat, always positive. I’d probably see him twice a week.
Rick and I played tennis together. We also coached a baseball team, went to concerts, double dated, and just became good friends. Rick sang at our wedding in 1980. I’ve lost track of Rick. The last I heard he was playing in Las Vegas. I don’t know where.
The reason I bring all of this up, and why I’m writing this is because I just saw Josh Groban’s rendition of “O Holy Night” on the internet. It’s beautiful.
But, more beautiful to me was going to midnight mass and hearing Jerry sing it. I wish I could share it with you. I wish you could hear what I heard.
Jerry died about 20 years ago from a neurological disease. His widow, Michelle still lives in the area. Every time I see her, I think of him, and I think of those midnight masses.
Christmas lost some luster for me since then. The beauty of a single voice, dominant, yet gentle, filling a church, lifting the souls of many from a single note is something I still think about today.
Merry Christmas Michelle. Merry Christmas Rick. Merry Christmas Jerry.