Ode to George

This has been a week to remember. My vocal jazz ensemble knew our bass was ill, but we didn’t know how ill. In an out of hospital for the past couple of months with breathing difficulties, undiagnosed until last week. Lung cancer. Our hearts nearly stopped. The five other members of the group were stunned. Most of all, our soprano… his wife.

George passed one day after our concert. He’s in the better place. It is we left behind to consider the profound loss that has the work to do. For now we sit in shock and grief trying to gather ourselves into some semblance of functionality. Saturday morning will be the final farewell, graveside. It is in his honor that we celebrate his life. He loved his wife, family and music above all else. Rehearsing with the group until the week before his death, he was ever the leader, the inspiration behind our group. When George was in the room, you knew there was music and fun. He will live on not only through his loved ones, but the beautiful musical arrangements he did of some of the best old standards. He made them something fresh and exquisite. Tight harmonies, interesting rhythms… yes, but most of all love. His love for the universality of vocal production shines through and will continue as long as his arrangements are performed. As George said, it’s not the royalties. It’s knowing that others are out there across the nation and globe, listening to something made a bit more special through his hand. Legacy. Thanks, George.

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