Monday, May 22, 2006

Bye, Mom.

Mom passed away this past November, after a brief illness, at the age of 78. She would have turned 79 last week. She spent the last 10 years of her life in Kalamazoo, in a retirement community there.

Before Kalamazoo, she spent 25 years in the Detroit area, and still had many friends there. So we had two memorial services, one in Kalamazoo in November, and another last week in Clinton Township, a Detroit suburb in Macomb County, two days after her birthday.

A number of Mom's friends were too frail to travel, and sent remembrances to be read there. All told there were about 15 people with something to say, although there were only 5 speakers.

Mom was big on church music, I mention that below - and my article here about her influence on my church music career is essentially what I said in her eulogy. For her service in Kalamazoo, she requested several pieces of music: Immortal Invisible (St. Denio), Eagles Wings (Joncas), I Danced In The Morning (Shaker Hymn, Carter), and a fourth I'm forgetting. We also sang Noble's Come Labor On (Ora Labora) and the traditional Steal Away to Jesus at prelude, and I played a postlude on Green Grow the Rushes, her favorite campfire song. Church friends of mine came and played piano and sang - it was a great celebration.

The music for the second service is a little fresher in my mind. My choir came down from Romeo, and we borrowed the Peace Church organist and one of their soloists (their choir couldn't make it), and their pastor emeritus, Jim Kesler, a good friend of Mom's, presided. Here's the music from that:

O Master Let Me Walk With Thee (Maryton)
Ps. 116, The Name of God (Haas)
Alleluia from "Come to Me" (Joncas)
Eye Has Not Seen (Haugen)
Breathe on Me, Breath of God (Trentham)
I Wonder As I Wander (trad)
Beneath the Cross of Jesus (St. Christopher)
I Am the Bread of Life (Toolan)
This Is my Father's World (Terra Beata)

The organist played a prelude and a postlude as well - I didn't recognize those. The 4th through 8th tunes were interspersed with the remembrances. Because they were, essentially, remembrances.