Choir Notes

What a Wonderful World
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4306

Great songs have staying power, not just because the tune is catchy and the words rhyme. Great songs carry a great message—one that is both timely and timeless.

One such great song was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1968, in a nation embroiled in race riots, assassinations, and war protests. In the midst of this turbulent time, a poignant, beautiful song took to the airwaves with a simple but powerful message:

I see trees of green, red roses too.
I see them bloom for me and you. . . .
I see friends shaking hands saying, "How do you do?”
They’re really saying, "I love you.”
I hear babies cry; I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world!1

What a message then. What a message today. Slow down, it says, and take notice of all the good around us. Revel in the majesty of nature and the power of love.

Is it hard to believe that a pause here and there can right our course or lift our sights? That reaching out to another, even a stranger—or, better yet, one who is estranged—can bridge the chasms of disenchantment and disappointment? That taking time to gaze up at clear skies and brilliant moonbeams can renew our hope? That each of us can bring goodness to our little piece of this world?

There is pleasure, comfort, and peace in seeing with such eyes of hope. When conflict seems to overpower reason, when we feel diminished, ignored, or forgotten, remember to look for roses in bloom, friends shaking hands, and the miracle of life in a child.

Truly, this is "a wonderful world.”

1 Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, "What a Wonderful World,” 1968.

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