Christopher Richard, COT for Teens Teaching Artist
This was our second to last rehearsal before our final performance, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. All of the students were fattened and lethargic from the feast just 2 days before. We had a lot of work to get done, last minute tweaking of scenes, catching up some students who might have missed something along the way and all the little details that make a scene come alive.
Unfortunately, we also learned about the passing of ASM’s beloved Maggie Daley. She was the heart of ASM and an inspiration to all. We were asked to participate in the public wake that was going to happen the very next day at the Cultural Center. We polled the kids to see how many might be available and if it was feasible to have our group represented. COT for Teens was one of Mrs. Daley’s favorite programs, but it was still an honor to be represented. It seemed after polling that we would have at least a handful of students and a decent combination of voices.
We arrived at Gallery at 10am Sunday morning. We were told of the possible schedule for the day and finally went across the street to mourn and celebrate the wonderful life of Mrs. Daley. We were one of 3 groups from ASM that provided music for the family and the masses of people streaming in to extend their condolences. The groups rotated throughout the afternoon and we sang 3 times. We sang the lovely chorus ‘Ti desta Luisa’ from Verdi’s ‘Luisa Miller’ -- after all, Mrs. Daley loved opera! We also sang our choral version of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘South Pacific.’
As we were singing I couldn’t help but notice how appropriate and comforting those choices were. The Daley family and the staff of ASM were so thrilled with how the afternoon went. We finally left about 3pm. It was a long day, yet the students remained composed and professional throughout. We were proud of them and humbled to be part of such an event.