Feb 20, 2020
At a local bookstore a while back, Gracie and I, along with our friend Hank, performed Christmas Carols for friends. John and Sally Mae dropped in, and I turned the keyboard over to him. Gracie sat on a stool, and she and Hank had such a great time singing to John's extraordinary playing.
You're getting this bonus material as a follower of our podcast!
Later that evening, we all decided that Gracie and John should record a song together. The first time John accompanied Gracie was when she auditioned at Belmont (in Nashville) in the Spring of 1983. She arrived at the college without anyone to accompany her, but John (a professor there) agreed to play for her. She earned a music scholarship ...and started as a freshman in the fall.
Six months later, Gracie slammed into a concrete abutment that accident led to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated.
John and Sally Mae used to visit Gracie regularly ...and formed a lasting friendship.
I transferred to Belmont as Gracie recovered. My piano professor was John Arnn. Meeting Gracie a year later, we started dating and then married in Summer of 1986 John Played at our wedding.
John also played at our son's wedding (but opted out from playing at our grandchildren's wedding - saying he'd been nearly 100 by then ...and it may be too much!)
In March of 2018, thirty-five years to the month they met, John came to our home and rehearsed YOU MUST BELIEVE IN SPRING with Gracie.When lonely feelings chill the meadows of your mind Just think if winter comes, can spring be far behind? Beneath the deepest snows,the secret of a rose Is merely that it knows You must believe in spring Just as a tree is sure its leaves will reappear It knows its emptiness is just a time of year T he frozen mountains dreams of April's melting streams How crystal clear it seems you must believe in spring Alan & Marilyn Bergman/Michel Legrand
Following her performance in the studio, Gracie looked at John with tears in both their eyes, and stated simply, “I sang this to my 17-year-old self.”