What I Learned from Tony Bennett

I attended a Tony Bennett concert in Nashville this week and was absolutely “wowed”. Not only was I impressed by the artist musically but learned so much from the evening that I had to take a few minutes to record my thoughts.

First a confession; I’ve not really been a fan of the 1950’s era crooner or the genre’ of music I associated him with. The thought of spending an hour or more in a concert hall was not something I was particularly excited about. I was prepared to make this small sacrifice however. The tickets were an anniversary gift to Patty and I from Jeremy and Erika and they were accompanying us for the evening and treating us to a fabulous dinner. Rob and Sheila volunteered to stay behind to watch the grandkids. I HAD to put a good face on it. As we made our way to our seats in the packed concert hall, I was relieved to note I was only one seat from the aisle. This would allow me a quick ‘break’ if things got too boring.
My need for an escape proved totally unnecessary. I was spellbound for more than 90 minutes by what I saw occurring before me and what it was doing to me. I’m still not a raving fan of jazz, classics, big band era vocals and show-tunes—or whatever it is they call what he was doing. What impressed me was the energy, vitality and passion that came from this man as he performed. He connects with his audience as he sings and dances—yes dances, throughout this marathon performance without benefit of even an intermission. I wanted to learn more about this man. Born Anthony Dominick Benededtto he will be 85 years-old this August and yet he still performs up to 200 concerts per year. He still is recording and producing albums that will sell millions of copies. He is also an accomplished artist with paintings in some of the nations finest galleries. He draws, sketches or paints daily. His musical career peaked during the 1950’s but hit an impasse that sent him to near financial ruin for several years. His greatest productivity and creativity came after the age of 60. His list of accomplishments since that time are staggering.  Someone failed to communicate to Mr. Bennett that he was past his prime and just too old.

My own father is 86 years, five months old. He inspires me every time I visit with him, email him or talk with him on the telephone. I’ve always loved and admired him but never more than now. The years have given him such depth of insight on things that really matter. He has always been a prolific story-teller. In these later years he has begun to write and record his story in his own words. He continues to have an impact—in some ways more than he ever has. He is our reminder that with God there are no accidents or coincidences. God weaves a marvelous tapestry with every event of our lives. If we learn to trust and worship Him we will get the joy of seeing this for ourselves.
I am 59 but I don’t feel old. While it’s true my body does not seem to heal or recover as fast as it did when I was 35, I’m not ready to get “old” yet. If by old you mean ‘over the hill’ or past your prime I choose to totally reject that notion. I refute it based upon scripture, history, medical science and the conviction in my heart that the best is yet to come. I have dreams yet to dream—and to achieve. I have experience and wisdom acquired that I need to share. I’ve been blessed to be a blessing.

I think I’m in good company. I’m of that generation of post-WWII Baby Boomers, who came of age believing we had a destiny to fulfill and a world to change. Many of us got distracted for awhile by the business of living and surviving. We are nearing the time our government and much of society tell us we can ‘retire’ and step aside. There is a ‘fire in our gut’ that tells us we haven’t finished yet. There is a part of us that longs for the freedom from the daily grind but the idea of not being productive is repulsive. This can and should be our greatest hour. Like Old Testament Caleb, who upon turning 80 years old and after leading the armies of Israel for many successful campaigns says to God: “Give me this mountain…”we too long for an even greater campaign. Something ‘lit a fire’ under Tony Bennett that catapulted him to a level of productivity that he had never known as a young man. I want to likewise refocus and submit myself totally to my Creator. What does He yet have for me to do? I cannot control the number of my days; that is in His hands. I can decide that whatever I have left I give them to Him first and without reserve.

About Robert A. Moore, Jr.

It's all about relationships and relationships depend upon effective communication. I'm not a real smart guy but I've tried to be a continual learner. God is my judge, his Son is my model, His Word is my roadmap and His Holy Spirit is my companion and guide. I have taken the time to earn a B.A. in C.E. & Psychology from Lee University then much later an MA in Org. Leadership from Azusa Pacific Univ. and more recently h a Doctor of Strategic Leadership(DSL) via Regent University. My biggest teachers however have been my 89 year old dad--what a man of courage and integrity. My little 100 pound Italian momma who we lost in 2005; my 4 siblings; my three sons Jeremy, Jonny & Rob III; my daughters-in-law Erika Beth Tiedemann Moore and Sheila Skelf Moore; more recently my grandsons Alex and Ben. The person who has taught me the most and keeps me between the ditches is my wife and love of more than 38 years, Patty. This blog helps me to keep learning ongoing and in focus with others.
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2 Responses to What I Learned from Tony Bennett

  1. Ken Gallion says:

    As I was deleting files and icons from my computer I came upon this again. As I was reading my Spirit soared within me. As I am now 50 years old I can reflect upon the past and know there are many things I would like to change but cannot, but I can change the future. You inspired me to reach higher than I ever have, go further than I’ve ever gone, soar higher than I ever have, to believe God for so much more. Thank you!

    • Robert A. Moore, Jr. says:

      Thanks Ken. This encourages me.

      When I turned 50 I had a mental set-back that took me several months to overcome. It ‘snuck up’ on me. The idea of aging had never bothered me up until that point. On the morning of my 50th I slept in just a bit. Upon getting up I looked in the mirror before heading to the kitchen to get my first cup of coffee. It dawned on me that it was my birthday and I took a moment to greet my reflection in the mirror. I said. “Happy Birthday big boy, you are 50 years old today. Yep, you are a half-century old. You probably will not live as long as you have lived and your best days are no doubt behind you. You better get on the stick with what you have left to do.” Even as I made those unrehearsed comments I could feel the emotional “wind” going out of my sails. What a bunch of crock! How could I have been so unaware to a trick of the enemy of our soul? This was not faith talk this was a doubt-inducing, self-limiting pronouncement!

      Here is the truth, our time is in His hands. No one or nothing can limit us except our fear and self-doubts. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, joy and a strong mind. We are wiser, more alert, more experienced and better networked with God and his people than ever before in our lives. The best is not behind us…they are but memories to help us wisely sort thru the bad and even the ordinary in order to go after God’s very, very best.

      Press on Ken, the best IS YET to come…if you will make room for it. Love you bro. Bob

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