• Leigh Gerstenberger

Brought To Tears

Updated: Aug 1, 2019




I’ve had the good fortune to spend a week a month in Orlando this year working on a consulting project for Christian Leadership Concepts, a national men’s discipleship ministry where I serve on the board of directors.


One of the things I enjoy the most about this project is meeting new people and building relationships. Earlier this year I was introduced to Pastors Bruce Allen and George Coar from The Hope Church in Orlando’s Washington Shores neighborhood, just south of the city’s downtown.


As I learned more about The Hope Church, I discovered that the last Sunday evening of each month the church produces a musical event entitled Sacred Jazz featuring the jazz duo of Allen & Allen.


The artists that make up Allen and Allen are the aforementioned Bruce Allen who plays keyboard and Bishop Allen Wiggins, the church’s senior pastor on saxophone.


These two accomplished artists have been collaborating since the mid-1990s, have four CDs to their credit and have received numerous awards for their music and service to their church and community.


As remarkable as these two men are as artists, nothing prepared me for the rendition of Rise Again, an original score that featured the 18-year old Jonathan Wiggins on saxophone.


As Bishop Wiggins introduced his son’s performance, he remarked that arriving late to rehearsal one day, entering the building he heard the song being played and thought he was listening to the recording. Only when he entered the sanctuary did he realize that his son Jonathan was performing live and had, in fact, mastered every nuanced lick and rift in the song.


Bishop Wiggins became emotional as he explained that this was probably the last time he and his son would be performing together before Jonathan headed off to college, at which point he took a seat in the audience and turned the stage over to his son.


To say that Jonathan’s performance of his father’s song was extraordinary would be an understatement. Thought provoking, sublime, smooth are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind in trying to describe his performance.


The song concludes with a saxophone solo that Jonathan performed masterfully. Those of us in the front row couldn’t help to notice that he did so with tears streaming down his cheeks. A fitting tribute from a son to his father.


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