Saturday, June 6, 2009

in memory of...

this weekend in nc i spent most of the time at memorial services. on friday, my parents went to my grandmother's gravesite and added my grandfather's ashes. today, i went to the memorial service for my piano teacher, louise tripp. i'd say maybe 200 people showed up - either all of her church congregation, all of her students (over 60 years!) and family, or both.

i had prepared to play four pieces: eckstein rhapsody, le petit an blanc, chopin's etude in e major, and moonlight sonata. i interspersed the excerpts from these pieces with some commentary about mrs. tripp's teaching. but i was at a point where my memorization was starting to lose its natural touch but my eyes weren't used to the sheet music, and i crapped out several times in the performance. but because they were excerpts with commentary, it think that my flawed performance simply added to the peoples' enjoyment, and emphasized that the most important thing that a child can do even if they mess up is to be able to continue and finish the piece.

there were many speeches, including one lady who had taken lessons with her 57 years ago. that means mrs tripp was 37 at the time, and this lady was a little girl. (my piano teacher was 94.) there were also some other things that were said that caught my mind - bud said that "she saw everyone's lives as a tapestry, intermingled and woven together." thinking about it, no one is really isolated - and those who are have very lonely and sad lives. it's better to live and be a part of the tapestry of everyone around you. the paster also said, "for louise, heaven is not a whole step away, but just a conjugation of a half step, for she was living jesus's teachings on earth." not that i'm religious, but i do believe that the way she was living represented one of the best ways people should live - following not necessarily a particular religion but one's moral standards. and i thought it was fitting that the pastor, who was a good speechmaker, used such a musical pun.

the reception was full of both old and young, mingling and talking about the old times. it's actually amazing to think how many people must have come through mrs. tripp's piano lessons. and everywhere i listen, the stories of the students and family members are the same: her gardenia perfume smell, the butterflies before recitals, long chats on the phone and during lessons or visits, curling up the fingers like you're holding a ball, musical pieces like the claire de lune, christmas classes and cookies and punch, "piece of dried toast" and "knee high to a duck". mrs tripp left a legacy, she left almost a village of people brought together by her music.

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