Welcome back, Knapp

Megan has always been a singer. From children's chorale to junior-high show choir to various choirs in high school, Megan sang her way through her childhood. When it came time to go to college, she hoped to continue singing ... and to get a scholarship that allowed her to do just that.

One of the scholarships she vied for was a beauty pageant masquerading as  a talent scholarship program. For the program, the contestants were to -- among other things -- sing in front of the judges and audience.

Megan, having always been part of ensembles, was pretty nervous about going it alone with all eyes on her, especially because she had chosen to sing a capella rather than have recorded music to accompany her like all the other girls.

When showtime came, I tried to provide a coping device to help Megan get through the performance. "Just close your eyes so you don't have to look at them," I told her. I figured that if turning their backs on the audience worked for some major recording artists who shunned the spotlight, she could close her eyes and just seem totally engrossed in the song. Besides, Megan had an awesome voice and that voice is what the judges should be considering, nothing else.

Megan closed her eyes and sang her heart out, bringing tears to the eyes of several folks in the audience. This is what she sang ... and sounded nearly exactly like:

 

When the scores for the program were tallied and shared, Megan placed well but didn't win. Her primary downfall, according to the judges, was something along the lines of "Didn't open eyes and connect with the audience during performance."

What? She may not have connected with her eyes, but she sure touched the hearts of the audience. My mama bear instincts came out and the sour grapes mode kicked in. "They don't know anything, Megan," I told her. "You don't want their stupid prize. Those people don't know what they're talking about so they shouldn't be judging you anyway."

Of course my words weren't much consolation, but thank God the experience soured Megan on any further pageantry competition.

I mention this because the singer/songwriter of the song Megan sang, Grammy-winning Christian artist Jennifer Knapp, has been on my mind the last few days as news of her return to the music scene after a seven-year absence has caused quite a hubbub. Instead of the hubbub being about Ms. Knapp's long-awaited CD, her heart-stirring songwriting and her vocal talent, everyone's talking about her coming out, her being gay and finally admitting it.

And it's really got my panties in a bunch. Not her admission, but the crap coming from the angry villagers who have lit up the torches, grabbed their pitchforks and are ready to storm her personal gates.

All I can do is hope Jennifer Knapp will close her eyes so she doesn't have to see them and use her awesome voice to sing her heart out. Because it's that awesome voice that people should be considering, nothing else.

And because those self-righteous, condemnation-filled people shouldn't be judging her anyway.

Today's question:

What's the most recent song you sang in the shower?

My answer: "Bittersweet Symphony" ... but I didn't sing, I whistled.