August 1, 2021

When I was growing up, I loved watching American Bandstand with Dick Clark on television on Saturday mornings. I loved watching the latest upcoming rock and roll stars perform as the “coolest teenagers” performed the latest dances. I am not sure why I was so engrossed with the dance moves because I was way too self-conscious to try any of this “cool stuff” outside of my house.

After American Bandstand was over, I would watch the super cool Don Cornelius host his show, Soul Train. Soul music artists would perform their latest hits combined with some over the top choreographed dancing. The dancers on the show would set the standards for dancing, in my humble “nerd” opinion. To this day, I listen to this era of music on a daily basis. I can still picture in my mind all of the moves that I once witnessed. To me, it was a very different time because I could easily understand the words being sung!

The soul music that inspired this article is the music that recently touched my heart and soul. It’s nothing like the music that I described above and fondly love; it’s the music of noise! The clang of china and the clashing of glasses and silver sounds so very good. To hear people talking and laughing once again in restaurants and other public settings does my heart good. Words cannot fully express how it feels for me to hear our church choir once again in person.

We recently assembled King Aerospace team members from most of our sites to the KACC Ardmore, Oklahoma facility for a photo for a new brochure. We met for an afternoon get together the day before a sunrise photo shoot. Many of the people present had never met their peers from our other sites. For me, it felt like a “homecoming” or semi family reunion. Always trying to multitask and get the most bang for our buck, I decided that I would share some of our heritage with the group. It was the first time some heard my stories. For others, it was an opportunity to be reminded one more time of what we profess and why. It is really, really hard for me to hide my passion for service to God, Country and Family!        

I also took some special time to feed my soul by sitting alone. I sat out of sight but within earshot of the group so I could listen to the sounds of their voices and the sounds of good fellowship. For me, the sounds of their voices and laughter — that once was taken a little for granted — has forever become the modern version of my heartfelt soul music. I feel so blessed that we were able to come together, and the photo shoot was a success.

I have to admit that I will always love and at times sing along with the sounds of Barry White, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Isaac Hays, Luther Vandross, The Supremes, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye and countless others.

On a side note, we have been blessed over the past fifteen years to support military special operations in South Korea. I have made the trip many times to Seoul and almost every time I go, I find someone and ask, “Where’s Don Cornelius?” I always get a strange look and then I explain: “You know, Soul Train’s Don Cornelius!”

Thanks be to God from whom all blessings flow; even goofiness!

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.