The Saxophonist

She caught my attention. Her face was unmistakable. This is the face I saw yesterday.  Yesterday was on the penultimate day of our annual Deeper Life Bible Church National December Retreat for the year 2019. Late yesterday evening, I was moving from one group to another, to capture more interesting shots. I was now in the children’s church. The children choir were rendering a special number. The choir coordinator, a strappling of about twelve years, was standing on an elevated bench. It was already dark. But even with poorly lit stage, the joy and the passion of her heart shone through her lively eyes as her fingers deftly plucked out soul thrilling hymns from her saxophone.

Today, our retreat program ended. I was moving through the cavernous auditorium of the church building. It was then I spotted her outside near the printing press. She was at her thing again, playing some tunes to a lively audience slowly milling round her. Their average age was about the same as hers. I was to learn later on that she is just twelve years old.

It was then, I inquired from her.
“You were the one I saw at the children choir orchestra yesterday? “
“Yes, I was the one.”
Leaning on the wall, I prodded her to play on while I admiringly snapped away with my Canon Powershot. After several frame shots, I removed my Infinix Zero 5. Still encouraging  her to play on, I told her that I intended to video her. She graciously obliged me, tidied up her black skirt and blouse and get her headscarf tied on. Her petite figure with her simple dress matched perfectly with her golden music instrument.

One after the other, the songs started streaming out of her instrument deftly under the control of her fingers. Occasionally, a slight disapproving grimace show on her face when her instrument fail to cooperate. But she carried on graciously with unrelenting persistence.
“Whatsoever, you do the least of my brethre, that you do unto me… “
Next comes one of the church’s favourite songs, “… Jesus, only, Jesus ever, Jesus all in all we sing … ” Still more songs were to pour out later.

A few more minutes later, it was time for me to move on. But her mesmerizing tunes lingered in my heart. Turning to her in appreciation, I asked, “Can I have your mum’s number?  I will send her this video clip along with the other shots. ” Her elder sister wrote their mum’s name and number for me.
“Make sure it is a WhatsApp number.”
Her younger sister, quipped in, “My mum phone is a small one.”
“OK, send me your dad’s number.”
“My dad is not at home. He travelled.”
“Give me his number all the same. I will send him these shots. He will be much delighted to see her beautiful daughter playing raoturously on her sax.”
Pausing for a moment, she turned her bright beautiful eyes momentarily on me. Demurely, her voice came through. “I don’t have a father. My father is late.” No emotion  or any desire to solicit for pity at all, her radiant smiling face was unfazed. I consoled her, “I’m so sorry that your dad is no more. God Almighty will surely take care of you.” Walking away from her, I reflectively felt the pain of this pretty orphan Christian girl – now my Christian Sister – the saxophonist. How happy and proud of her talented daughter, the father would have felt if he were to be around to see her little girl of yesterday enlivening audiences with glorious songs.

I got back to the Information Unit’s office. Alas the pictures I took with the Powershot were nowhere to be found. The camera was warning me of the memory card absence all along, but I never pay attention. I was too carried away.  I forgot to return  the memory card back to its slot in the camera after the last time I used it with the card reader. All the pictures shown here are screen grabs from the video clip, I recorded with my Infinix Zeri 5 smartphone.

AFTERWORD: Her mother was in the Church as well. I asked her to lead me to her mum. She wasn’t immediately within reach. Later on, she came with her mum to the unit where I was working. I show her the pictures and video clip of her daughter playing on her sax. Tutua plays sax. Her mum plays the violin. Same goes for all her sibblings excep her younger sister.