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John Bressler - I am a believer in providence
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John Bressler

    Very recently, I mentioned goal setting and how important it is to have a direction and a plan for life. This does not mean that every hope is fulfilled and every expectation met. Too many folks would rather believe that life is a crap shoot — the throwing of dice — and that means to rely on the slim possibility that luck will slap them on the head when it's their turn. If that were the case, then preparation for the day is to always have a regimented order when it comes to getting dressed, what must be worn, the specific way that things have to be done and never changing that routine. Boy! Talk about a boring life!
    A friend and educator, John Neighbors, asked me if I knew anything about "Mighty Mo" of the famous Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Hey! Anyone who has ever sat in that theater and watched in amazement when that giant organ rises out of the stage and has his or her socks blown off by the amazing sounds knows exactly what the answer is. "It is fantastic!"
    "Well," said John, "I got to play it last Saturday." This called for a lot of conversation because it is one thing to sit and watch and is considerably different to sit and play. He continued, "When dreams are fulfilled, the world becomes a better place. I have wanted to play this organ all of my adult life. It is something I really wanted to do but felt there was no possible way to have it happen."
    There are two statements that I like to teach. The first one is, "If you can see it, and believe it, then you can achieve it." The second is, "Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet." John is no stranger to music and has been playing the organ for most of his life. He most likely cannot tell anyone when he began to feel comfortable controlling one of these grand instruments. By the way, I am not talking about the latest electronic gizmos that can duplicate an orchestra at the touch of a button. I am referring to the mighty pipe organ, powered by air and capable of producing the fantastic sounds we hear when a skilled and gifted artist knows how to manipulate the keyboards, pedals and stops to make music fit for angels. I believe that John was born with the gift of music but had to practice a lifetime to be prepared for the opportunity he was given.
    I do not believe in predestination, but I do believe in providence. The first door opened for John when he just happened to be at an East Georgia College luncheon and was introduced to Mrs. Ada Lee Correll, who just happened to be on the Board of Atlanta Landmarks, an organization that oversees the FOX Theatre. John spoke of his dream and she encouraged him to submit his resume. John's resume was lost about three times. Some would have been discouraged and accepted the delays as a sign of rejection, but John never gave up. In late October, he was contacted by the Booking and Contracts associate at the FOX and was told he had been invited to meet with the organist in residence, Mr. Larry Douglas Embury, on November 6, 2010. I remember watching John's face and listening to his voice as he told me about his sitting on that bench, looking at the hundreds of stops, resting his fingers and toes on the keys and pedals. I could feel his awe as he spoke of hitting the first chord and then playing his very first selection. John played for nearly an hour. "This does not happen to a south Georgia kid. Dreams do come true and for a moment in time, I was the only person in the world!"
    I asked John if he were ready to play old "Mighty Mo" the first time he saw and heard it. His answer, "I was ready but not prepared." But John was both ready and prepared when the opportunity called him. "I am grateful for friends, family and the wonderful feelings that come with dreams dreamed, but most of all, fulfilled!"
    Thanks, John, and by the way, when is your next concert?

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