The latest composition by contemporary Christian songwriter Brandon Fox has received by far the most attention of anything he has ever written. Yet it’s a success that, all things considered, he might have been happy never to have achieved.
The song, “Angel, Keep Going,” is nothing more than Fox’s anguished vocals and his own spare, hymn-like piano harmonies. In its five minutes, Fox offers gratitude and encouragement for health care workers who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Part prayer and part fight song, “Angel, Keep Going” is both a deeply personal statement and an expansively universal message of thanksgiving.
Fox, 38, who teaches eighth-grade math at J.S. Wilson Middle School in Millcreek Township, has also had a long career as a musician since his days with the Corry-based band Dust & Ashes. His current band, Brandon Fox Worship, records and performs extensively, including concerts for patients at area nursing homes.
Jaime Fattler, 38, an administrator at a skilled nursing center, and a childhood acquaintance of Fox’s, sent him a message March 20 with an unusual request.
“I was struggling with feeling overwhelmed,” she said by phone. “I wanted to find a way to honor our health care workers who are leaving their families yet the minute they walk in (to work), there’s a smile on their face. I wanted to find a way to not let fear come in with them.”
Fox said, “She asked me to write a song, and I said, ‘I’ll try.’ I sat down at piano that day, read what she wrote about how she feels, and it hit home. Here I am a teacher who’s being paid to work from home and these people are leaving their houses every day, risking exposure to the virus for themselves and their families. So, I tried to see how I’d feel in that circumstance.”
Within an hour, Fox came up with the idea for a song. “I sent her a snippet and she said, ‘I’m bawling,’ so in a 24-hour period I got the first verse and chorus done. She loved it and I wrote a second verse and sent it to her.”
“It was breathtaking,” Fattler said of the completed song. “I burst into tears and listened to it on repeat for maybe a couple hours. The words, meaning and song, I was blown away.”
“Angel, Keep Going” can be heard on YouTube and on the streaming music service Spotify. The song is also on the Brandon Fox Worship page on Facebook, where it has received more than 12,000 views and been shared more than 300 times since it was posted March 21.
“I write and sing because it gives expression to something that can’t be seen with the eye or touched with the hand,” Fox said, grateful for the opportunity to express, as he wrote in a message, “the joy I feel for producing something that can encourage people.”
Thinking of those people in her message to Fox, Fattler wrote, “There are angels among us and some don’t have wings.”
Some, it seems, have a piano and a voice, a voice that can urge the most vulnerable among us to keep going.
The Erie Times-News is a member of the USA Today Network
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