The Loss of A Mentor: Dr. Odell Hobbs

If you read my book, Angels Encamped About Me: Provision In the Wilderness, you met Dr. Odell Hobbs as he was one of my angels. Dr. Hobbs went home to be with the Lord last week and his service took place Wednesday, May 14, 2008. I tried to attend but finding out about the death last minute meant sky-rocket airline ticket prices and rearranging several things that had already been scheduled, thus impacting others. I struggled because I really and truly wanted to be there to show my respect. Then, it occurred to me that rushing to the side of dead body doesn’t really honor the person; it makes us feel better. I wished I had gone to see him before he died so I could have talked to him. I could have sat with him once more to hear his voice, to talk about music, and to listen to him tell stories. I could have reminded him just how much he meant to me. He and I talked during the Christmas holiday and I told him just that. He never got a chance to read my book but the love I felt for him is forever written in that story.

Every time I stand before my choir, I honor the man who taught me to be passionate about music. So much of what I know and believe about music I learned from him. So much of who I am as a conductor and teacher are rooted in things I gleaned from him. I am forever grateful for the years I was a singer in the famed Virginia Union Concert Choir. Dr. Hobbs was a task master (ok, he was a maniac) but he produced excellence! We sang so beautifully at times that we were all moved to tears. And that man could make a choir do a pianissimo like none I have ever heard since and to which I still strive. He employed tough love before the term was coined. He yelled, he pushed, he threatened and he even hit me on the shoulder once in front of 100 high school students. The fact that I was running my mouth instead of paying attention is still irrelevant :).  After he hit me he made me conduct the choir. I loved that man!! I thank God for him and look forward to singing in the choir with him in Heaven, where I know he’s going to be head choral director.


3 Responses

  1. csnntI Thank you for the material. Do you mind if I posted it in her blog, of course, with reference to your site?

  2. I wish you much peace and healing as you work through this process. How wonderful it is to have been impacted by Dr. Hobbs. May your life continue his legacy!

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