A chorus from Gospel Water Branch Baptist Church shook the rafters. A quartet from Wesley United Methodist sang with passion. An a cappella singer from West Acres Baptist demonstrated amazing vocal talent.
But the one who brought tears of delight to my eyes was Keylie Johnson.
Accompanied by her grandmother Hazel Norman on piano, 9-year-old Keylie sang the final number at Columbia County's second annual observance of the National Day of Prayer Thursday morning at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center.
More people should have heard her. Keylie's rendition of "The Butterfly Song," a playful tune of thanksgiving, was an absolute delight.
As County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said in opening the event, "We're still a little short on quantity, but the quality is outstanding." He was referring to the audience, which sat in far too few of the center's far-too-few seats.
It was hard to not feel bad for those who weren't there. They missed some remarkable music and uplifting prayers.
The county's observance of the National Day of Prayer has been held the first Thursday morning in May since 2005. It'll be held the same day next year, probably at the Performing Arts Center.
Put it on your calendar. You won't want to miss it.
By the way: Keylie is a third-grader at North Columbia Elementary School (my alma mater), and attends Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church. But at Thursday's performance she was representing Riverview United Methodist Church where her grandfather, Pierce Norman - retired pastor of Lewis Memorial - now preaches.
If anyone needs prayers these days, it's Sue Burmeister.
Hours after I lamented her departure from public office, the news came out of Atlanta during opening arguments in Linda Schrenko's trial that Burmeister would be called as a witness for the prosecution.
The rumors, innuendos and wild theories have been flying since then, mostly revolving around allegations that Burmeister was involved in moving cash campaign contributions.
Did she do something illegal? "I can't talk about it because I'm under subpoena by the U.S. Justice Department," Burmeister told me, adding emphatically that she is not under investigation.
Despite the impossible-to-ignore timing, Burmeister just as strongly denies the subpoena has anything to do with her decision not to seek re-election. Her family, she says, "has been through a heck of a lot" in the past few months, the least of which is her husband's job transfer to Alabama while they were handling serious problems with their children.
Under those circumstances alone, her retirement is understandable. After word of the pending court appearance, it now seems mandatory.
Congratulations to state Sen. Jim Whitehead, whose retirement is still at least another term away.
Like state Reps. Barry Fleming and Ben Harbin, Whitehead recently was handed instant re-election when no one signed up to run against him. Then, on Thursday, state Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson announced Whitehead has been named chairman of the Senate Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.
Columbia County has already done well in securing funding for public safety improvements through homeland security, by way of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and because of the hard work of Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker. Whitehead's ascension can only help her efforts.
Whitehead replaces Brian Kemp, who stepped down from the senate to run for state agriculture commissioner.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.