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Friday, January 4, 2013

A Metro serenade

The Rev. Fisher Yang sang on the Orange Line on New Year's Eve/patricia leslie

On New Year’s Eve I was a passenger on an Orange Line train from Virginia which the Rev. Fisher Yang, 50, of Centreville, Virginia, boarded around Ballston, I think it was. Mr. Yang is the man you may have read about who sings Christmas hymns out loud on the Metro.

Last month the Washington Post ran a somewhat negative story (surprise!) about Mr. Yang and the riders whom Mr. Yang annoys.

Mr. Yang sang for us, too. I welcomed his presence and song.

How nice to have someone take enough interest in us to sing, we the forgotten, the lonely workers off to plow our trade on a day when most others were still celebrating the holidays. We, the silent and expressionless, slumped in depression, and sad about what lay ahead.

With the exception of a woman in a red coat who expressed irritation and asked him to stop singing, the rest of us began to brighten.  We smiled and nodded at Mr. Yang and each other and listened.

He brought a fresh perspective to our trip. He cast a new light on another day. His singing was pleasant, and certainly his words gave pause to listeners about praise and thanksgiving. Thanks to God for the gifts we take for granted.

When Mr. Yang finished several verses, he waved his finger at the rude woman as he exited the train and said: “You need to have an open mind.”

She made some nasty remark about his voice before she disembarked a few minutes later at Foggy Bottom, perhaps on her way to work at a South American embassy, perhaps for a nation which does not tolerate free speech.

Amazingly, three days later Mr. Yang boarded my train again, this time at West Falls Church, and like on Monday, he asked for attention before he sang a hymn about "I Surrender."  The car was much more crowded, SRO, but the riders remained silent and respectful; no one complained, and many clapped when Mr. Yang finished and got off at East Falls Church.
The Rev. Fisher Yang was singing three days later on the Orange Line/patricia leslie

I admired Mr. Yang’s bravery in the face of ridicule. Can you take a public stand for what you believe in?

Thank you, Mr. Yang, for bringing attention to the gifts we often ignore and take for granted. Thanks to God for people like you.


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