Most of us have seen the full spectrum of the "circle of life"...We've welcomed new life into the world and bid farewell to lives with legacy. Losing parents will always leave an indelible mark on our lives...
As we grow, we continue to understand more about them, their struggles, and the memories that they left with us.
The quietest day of my life: was when my mother passed away…The quiet was deafening, the reality was immediate and the loss: a myriad of quiet yet chaotic streams of thought swirling everywhere. I’ll never forget when I got the call August 4, 2010…I dutifully started to pack my things for the 5 hour flight back east.
Here I am, 10 years later, with a host of revelations and a ton of emotion. Having spent a good part of the last 10 years organizing memorials, writing obituaries and paying tributes, the tide of losses has somewhat, temporarily subsided. I am using these moments to express my grief and acknowledge the loss of my mother.
Somewhere, the reality of this great loss does not surface for us until this- a reality it becomes. We know it will happen, but until it happens, we get lost in the surrealism of what we must accept. I understand the words "no more", yet my mother's soul is all encompassing. I feel her energy each and every day.
My mother was "fair of face", "Monday's child", born March 7, 1921. She was a beautiful woman with a classic photogenic allure, poise and a winning captivating smile. Her tough as nails exterior concealed the squishy emotions that she kept protected behind a brick wall reserved only for her own soul... To know her feelings one had to listen to the music that she enjoyed. It painted a canvas of her triumphs, defeats and challenges.
The thing that I most remember about my mom was her singing. Her range, mezzo soprano held a strong, educated vocal presence. When I was ten years old, she bought me a piano and then went through a search for the right piano teacher. Within a week I was playing…As time went on, I would accompany my mother as she sang. I spent most of my time practicing, writing and imagining, in the 60s, how I could possibly bring everything I heard in my mind to fruition with full production value. I don’t think if I even had a vision through a crystal ball that I could imagine, where music would go and how the technologies transcribing it in a listening form would change.
What I most remember was that my mother had a favorite song. It was the song that she requested be played for her memorial. I made sure that all of her end of life requests were met and especially her favorite song. I listened as the gentleman played and sang my mother’s favorite song… And the entire time I listened; I was wondering why everyone sang the song like it was a song of sadness. It isn’t…It is really a song of joy…It was then that I decided that I would commit myself to do an arrangement of the song that connected to the spirit of doing for others.
|Alma Bazel Androzzo|
Many Real Schoolers have said that this song was a favorite of their parents. Martin Luther King, Jr. first heard the song and was so inspired by it, that he encouraged his close friend to record it. That was the infamous recording that most of us grew up with released by The Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson in 1963.
Click here to listen
He knows how to tell a story through his vocal work. LaVan expressed the core spirit of what the lyrics Alma Bazel Androzzo's lyrics really mean. He and Mo Beeks start a conversation as the song begins: each in his own way.
Debbie started her career as an Apprentice Artist with Opera Pacific where she sang the role of the Valkyrie in Wagner‘s Die Walkure. She also sang Valkryie at the Hollywood Bowl with John Mauceri directing the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Singing as a resident artist with Repertory Opera Company based in Pomona she has appeared in many leading opera roles...
When I met Debbie it was as a colleague in the fitness industry. When she told me of her vocal career, I was captivated and have been a fan ever since.
Chey lends her voice to the project and definitely nails it, yet another layer from the voice of a whole new generation.
I really thought my mother would be here forever, but as she has become an ancestor, her spirit lives in her grandchildren and great grandchildren and those moving forward who will come to know about her by the visuals left behind...We don't get to pick our parents. They are given to us by destiny...I feel the fortune in that destiny.
My mom's favorite song...