Saturday, September 17, 2011

“Sharing music was her joy, and brought her close to many”

My friend Jane Scott died this spring.

I’m finally able to write about it.

Jane meant so very much to so many people.

Jane and I met around 1984 through our membership in the Renaissance Revival, an early music ensemble, and we formed a fast friendship almost from the beginning. Our voices were beautifully compatible, and I valued her perceptive musicianship and artistic intelligence. Jane and I remained very close after we both left that ensemble (she around 2000, me around 2007). We both sang in the Hartford Chorale and performed duets together on several occasions before she became ill. 

Here's the story of one of our duet outings in 2008, with a picture of us at a Chorale event where we performed Vivaldi and Handel together:

She was an intelligent, generous musical partner and an exemplary chorister. She always marked her scores properly, she was always on time, she always knew her music, and her technique, intonation, and diction were always great. On a few lucky occasions, I was assigned to stand directly in front of her during Chorale performances. There was nothing like singing Messiah with Jane's clear, supple voice in my ear... 

One of Jane's greatest griefs during the course of her illness was the loss of her singing voice and lack of energy for singing in the Chorale and in her church choir, where she was the much-loved soprano soloist. Numerous head and neck surgeries, oral radiation, and chemotherapy took away her silvery, flexible voice and sapped her strength. She had a marvelous trill and a nice touch with early and Baroque music.

Jane was able to participate in the CONCORA Summer Festival in 2010, and she prepared and sang Handel’s Messiah one last time with the Chorale in December 2010, but she had to withdraw from the Chorale this spring and was not with us for our closing concert. In fact, the announcement about her sudden decline was made just moments before we went on stage for our final concert. The news added a heartbreaking note the wrenching, achingly beautiful Requiem by Stephen Montague. I wept through most of that concert.

There will always be one voice missing from the soprano section in the Hartford Chorale.

When I last saw Jane, she was emaciated and very worn down, very tired, and, I think, getting ready to let go physically, though she was by no means ready to let go of life.

But in this picture, you can see her (at left) as I will always remember her:  friendly, smiling, and always ready to sing.

At the end of this post, I’ve provided a link to her obituary, in which we can read this lovely thought: “Sharing music was her joy, and brought her close to many.”

It is a worthy and fitting epitaph.

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