I have never really written anything that mattered. And I remain without the words to adequately express the sorrow that is currently burning a hole in the pit of my stomach. Singing with Anne, in her choir, was magical. I have often, since graduating, missed the choir and the people in it; I have never missed it more than I do today having found out that Anne has passed away. We were her choir, no matter what name we took, e.g., St. John's Small Choir, St. John's Choir.
When I read about her passing, through tears of denial, I felt compelled to go back and listen to Rachmaninov's Vespers. While listening to them, it's hard not to realize that Anne had a profound influence over the St. John's musical tradition, as well as each of her choir members. I can't listen to good music without thinking: What would she think of this piece?; Anne would love this; or, I wish we were all still singing together.
It kills me that I can't really remember exactly what we sounded like, but I'll listen to something like the Vespers and moments of memory rise within me. I can feel what it was like more than hear it. We were beautiful because of Anne. She had an amazing ability to select just the right pieces of music, to know exactly what we should sound like, and to pound those pieces into us until we sang them as she had imagined they must be sung. She always maintained a sense of humor with her students and friends, never shying away from laughter or a glass of wine as I recall.
It's been almost ten years since we all started singing together. I've been in multiple choirs since and none compare. Thank you Anne.