"Everyone at home was flabbergasted," he remembered, smiling.
A writing 'frenzy'
In all of its genres — classical to hip-hop to blues and rock — music flows from a spiritual river that flows deep within, Statham said. In his own career as a composer, nuggets of ideas have revealed themselves in random places. For example, in 1988, while he was on a plane bound for Atlanta and a National Urban League convention, he had it in his head that he wanted to compose "something big and grand in relationship to Dr. King's life" and started writing on the plane.
"I see the notes in my head," Statham said. "When you get ideas, they come so fast, you want to write them down. I get into a frenzy."
After arriving in Atlanta, "I stayed up half the night," he said. "I called my wife and said, 'you won't believe this, but I finished eight bars of Trilogy of Dreams.' "
Statham said that when preparing for a concert, his expectations are high from an audience, but not as high as the expectations of himself.
"Whatever you do — in any profession — if you do it to the absolute best of your ability, it helps people appreciate what it's all about, and it becomes meaningful."
Owens underscored Statham's durability with an illustration. At a Sing for King program a few years back, he recalled, Statham played "Trilogy of Dreams" with a broken arm.
"He just doesn't quit," Owens said. "His elbow was in a splint. It was astounding. That was his heart on display when you see something like that."
At every show, before striking the first note, Statham recites a silent prayer at the keyboard. Then, as his work begins, the world around him slowly melts away.
The musical energy released, he said, "makes your body tingle. It's like you're being shocked; the music is electrocuting you. It's the most thrilling high you can get in life."
The sixth annual Sing for King is Sunday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Laurel, 15000 First Baptist Lane. The event will include readings from King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail," in recognition of its 50th anniversary this year. The concert is free; donations will be accepted to benefit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., and a local charity. A reception will follow. For information, call Becky Boeckman at 757-408-4890.