Monday, September 28, 2009

The Death of the Old Guard

One month ago Joe Maneri passed away. He was one of the lightest, most joyful spirits you might ever come across. His death left me feeling a little lost. I was not so close to Joe. He was never my teacher or mentor, our relationship was much more mundane and so perhaps I take for granted the impact he had on so many. I used to see him when I would go over to his house to hang out with his son Mat. I've known the Maneri family since 1984 when I was 13. As I make my way in music, I always come back to Joe and his music, to Mat and his. Their music is inspiring to me. I know that Joe is bringing his bountiful love on to the other side and the angels are laughing and crying as he plays and I cannot wait until the next time I'll hear Mat play live again. I hope it will be soon.

Now, just as I was beginning to feel the joy and freedom of his music again in my heart I have just read that another great being has passed: Francis Mason.

Francis Mason was a kind, generous and joyful soul. He helped me get my start composing music for dance during my time in New York. He took me to countless shows and rehearsals and introduced me to so many choreographers that I lost count. Two of the choreographers he introduced me to I collaborated with many times, Doug Elkins and Ben Munisteri. Francis used to take me for lunch to the Century Club; one of those old world, quiet, marble, member's only clubs for artists and writers. It was an inspiring place, but not as inspiring as his homes in Manhattan and Rye. Both were quiet and calming, filled with books and plants. I was honored when he asked me to write an article for "Ballet Review Magazine." I learned from him and enjoyed spending time with him. My deepest sympathy goes out to his daughter, his son and especially his grandchildren whom he spoke so warmly and lovingly of every time we were together.

Peace to all who are left behind, striving.

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