One night on a television talent show, three judges sat at a desk facing the stage watching different people perform. Everyone who appeared on stage that evening hoped to do well and advance and have a chance to win the big prize of one million dollars.
The theater was packed and the show was broadcast on a major network. This night would give each performer fifteen minutes of fame. It was a chance to shine and move on or to be voted out and be sent home.
The judges were seasoned professionals in their fields. Bart Simmons was a Grammy Award winning singer, Melba Roberts was a dancer and the toughest judge, Simon Howard, a television producer and creator of the talent show all sat silently, not impressed with the talent that they had seen up to that moment. The performers
had to impress these judges because they could make or break contestants hopes and dreams.
Bart was not impressed with the performances he had seen. Most of the performers had been voted down. During a break he shared his thoughts with the other judges.
“I haven’t seen one contestant who stands out.” Bart said. “They have the right look, but something is missing.”
“They might look good on stage, none of them have been very good.” Melba added.
“Well, there’s one more performer. Let’s see if this person has any talent.” Simon said.
The last contestant was seventeen year old Michael Duggan. Michael had watched the other performers and was nervous as his time drew near. His Grandfather Paul was with him and noticed his grandson’s nervousness.
“Mike, why be nervous? You’ll do fine, just relax.”
“Grandpa, I don’t know. They’ll think that I’m a nerd. What if they laugh at me and tell me that I don’t have the right look? Maybe I shouldn’t go on.”
“Son, you’re going on stage and you’ll be great. It doesn’t matter how you look on the outside or what you’ve been through. Show ‘em what you got on the inside and let your talent shine.”
When Michael stepped on stage, Bart and Melba rolled their eyes. Bart leaned over to Melba and whispered in her ear.
“Melba, a nerd just stepped on stage. Get ready to hit the buzzer.”
Melba laughed. Simon heard what they said and he did not comment.
“Michael, tell us about yourself.” Simon said.
“Well,” Michael said. “I come from a broken home and my parents won’t have anything to do with me because of my orientation. If it wasn’t for my grandfather whose with me tonight, I would have been homeless. He heard my singing and encouraged my to try out for the show. I love to sing. It’s given me comfort and helps me to feel good about myself.”
“What are you going to do?” Melba asked.
“I’m going to sing a song my late grandmother taught me. When I sing it I think about her and it gives grandpa and me peace.”
Michael started to sing, his strong tenor voice filled the auditorium. The audience sat spellbound as he sang the hymn, Ava Marie.
“Ave Maria, gratia, plena Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus.
Et benedictus fructus ventris tu Iesus.
Santa Maria, Mater Dei,
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc,
Et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.”
He then sang it in English.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women.
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners.
Now and in the hour of our death. Amen.”
When he finished, the audience stood and cheered. The judges looked at each other. It had been the best performance of the evening.
Simon was moved by the performance. He looked at the other judges and shared his thoughts.
“I was taught that we should never judge a book by it’s cover. We should take the time to read the whole book from cover to cover. In the book, we’ll find rich treasures. Tonight, we’ve read the book and we’ve found a treasure.”
M.D. Carter 05/23/2018