I was really touched by the story, and the demonstration of the power we as conductors and educators in our lives. i look for writing by folks not professionally in “the music dodge” who articulate music’s importance in their life. Though this is not specific to choral music, the sentiment applies. The end of the piece identifies the writer’s profession.
Mr. K. pushed us harder than our parents, harder than our other teachers, and through sheer force of will made us better than we had any right to be. He scared the daylight out of us.
I doubt any of us realized how much we loved him for it.
Which is why, decades later, I was frantically searching for an instrument whose case still bore the address of my college dorm. After almost a half-century of teaching, at the age of 81, Mr. K. had died of Parkinson’s disease. And across the generations, through Facebook and e-mail messages and Web sites, came the call: it was time for one last concert for Mr. K. — performed by us, his old students and friends.