I found out last week that my college choir director died. This was a shock to me because I didn't even know she was sick. In fact I had just emailed her a few months ago to see if she could clinic my choir and she just said she wasn't able to at the time. Little did I know. The memorial service is Saturday (tomorrow, today, I'm writing this at 12:30 at night) in Houston. There will be a chorus of her colleagues and former students. I fit in both categories, but I am not going to be singing in the group. That will be too difficult for me. In case you didn't know I'm an emotional person. (/understatement)
She was my choir director the whole time I was at the university. She conducted the women's choir and was my choral conducting teacher. They always used to tell us that she used to get first pick of the girls auditioning. I never believed that and a part of me always longed to be in the mixed choir, but I just don't have that kind of voice. In the end it never mattered because we were always a magnificent choir and I was where I needed to be. We never had to be ostentatious or do overly difficult music just to prove ourselves. We did beautiful music beautifully. She was innately musical and it seemed that she got it out of us with ease. I know it couldn't have been easy and I know we were hard workers, but I don't remember any strife, stress or pains in putting the music together. It just seemed to happen. I'm sure there were bad days, but I just don't remember them. The good far outweighs any bad. Through this choir I met one of my dearest friends and I got the chance to visit Ireland. To this day I love the sound of a good women's choir. I would love to sing in an adult women's choir, but they just don't seem to exist. That's too bad because they are a unique sound to themselves.
This is one of my all time favorite songs from a performance we gave at the state music educators conference. When I listen to it I hear all the things that singing in her choir was: fun, joyful, musical, with a freedom of spirit.
Tonight (yesterday, Friday, etc.) I was at the Art Car parade sneak peek at Discovery Green. I'm going to miss the parade for the first time in a long time to attend the memorial service. They had little replicas of viking ships and the public was invited to put a message to people who have passed away on pieces of paper or on the little oars of the ship. At the end of the night they were taken to the lake, lit on fire and set out "to sea" or in this case pulled across the lake on a fishing line. It really was a lovely ceremony and it was special to me. My piece of paper said "thank you for the music." Thank you for the music, Ms. Carlisle. I will never forget how it made me feel.