Alleluia on the Avenue

Ice Cream Social

by Fr. Chris Hardman

I am sure everyone has heard about the "Million Dollar Quartet." If you haven't seen the show you at least know who Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash are. Well, maybe not Carl Perkins. He was not as famous as the others. But, you all have to know that I know those four pretty well. They are a part of my roots because they all recorded in Memphis.

I like to think that Rock and Roll began in Memphis because of them, but I know there are a number of early Rock and Rollers who came from other places. Buddy Holly, for instance, got his start in Lubbock, Texas. Chuck Berry was born in St. Louis but began recording here in Chicago. Little Richard came from Macon, Georgia, but had to cross the country to Los Angeles to find a recording studio. And, then there were the Everly Brothers who moved all around the country before they found just the right place in Nashville, Tennessee. There were a number of other cities that were important too, places like Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, and Cleveland, all of whom promoted this "new" music.

There was something in the air during those times. There was this need to move away from the staid, rigid, and segregated existence of the time and to open up a little. There was a need to enjoy life, to celebrate life and that is what early rock and roll allowed people to do. There was a lot of resistance to that, as you may well know. Most anyone over forty did not seem to get it. But, the young people got it, and our world is different because of it.

You might describe all these cities as "Thin Spaces," spaces where the sacred and the ordinary came together to create a new sound that touched our soul. Out of a milieu of different kinds of music-Blues, R&B, Soul, Gospel, Country, and Jazz- came a sound that turned the country upside down. I do believe it was the Holy Spirit's way of stirring us up, so we could come back together in a more meaningful and life- giving way.

By the early 60's this music began to fade, but some kids in Liverpool, Manchester, and London took this old music and put new life into it. Believe it or not, much of the initial music we heard from the "British Invasion" was re-recorded American music. They gave our old songs back to us in a new and exciting way.

On August 27th we welcome to Holy Comforter the "Neverly Brothers" who are going to help us all experience what I just described. They are going to take us on a tour of America as we hear some of the early rock and roll hits. Next, they will show us how the "British Invasion" took our old forgotten songs and re-introduced them to us. All of this in the context of the "Thin Space" we call Alleluia on the Avenue. Don't miss it-and bring your friends and neighbors.