A dear friend has passed, and although I am sad, I feel so blessed to have shared some wonderful, memorable musical experiences with her.
Carolyn Bendrick and I met Spring 1996 when she joined the music ranks at Normandy Methodist Church, Centerville, Ohio, where I had just joined as director of music. We immediately hit it off as fellow musicians and great friends.
I was the director of choral director, and director of the musical theatre program, but Carolyn, the church’s pianist and organist, pushed me with piano and organ. We performed several duets for services, and several times we switched positions for Sunday services: she conducted the choir, and I accompanied on either organ or piano. She even talked me into alternating for the early summer church services where I played organ. I so appreciate Carolyn’s faith in me, and her encouragement.
Wednesday afternoons, I taught private voice lessons at the church, and before all the choir and bell rehearsals began, Carolyn and I would steal away to the fellowship hall to share supper together. We always had the best times chatting away about nearly everything under the sun. Many times during our three years working together, and even after, Nancy Winslow, Normandy’s secretary joined us for lunches. It was such a delightful trio, and I sorely miss those gatherings with those two very special ladies.
As conductor of the Centerville Community Band, Carolyn joined us for a Mendelssohn piano concerto which was smashing! Carolyn did not hesitate in tearing into the difficult concerto, and we certainly had a blast rehearsing and performing.
Normandy, during our tenure together, produced musicals and cantatas, and Carolyn was always my right hand-musician. I introduced Carolyn to the world of musical theatre, and she strengthened my knowledge of classical piano and organ literature.
The first Sunday of Advent, Carolyn always prepared Bach’s “Sleepers, Awake!” This beautiful selection she introduced to me, and whenever I listen to it, I always am reminded of Carolyn and our musical friendship.
May choirs of angels sing thee to thy slumber, Dear Friend. Know you are loved…