Monday, October 17, 2011

Ave Atque Vale

It's a season of transition here in Greenwich, Connecticut. The first order of business is to welcome Alistair Reed back to the music staff at Christ Church, where he served so ably in his younger days before heading off to Coventry Cathedral in England. Yesterday afternoon he accompanied the Choir of Men and Boys in the annual Sydney Woodd-Cahusac memorial evensong, playing in his usual flawless manner (see Only the split-second-longer-than-usual pause between the verses of the hymns gave a hint that Alistair was still playing as though he were in a reverberant cathedral instead of the more modest dimensions of Christ Church. A festive reception followed at the Tomes-Higgins house, to give us all a chance to toast Alistair's return.

The second, sadder, order of business is to say farewell to Nancy Barton. Brilliant, talented, outgoing, socially conscious, dedicated, funny, indefatigable—Nancy was many things to many people, and a large number of them filled Second Congregational Church on Saturday afternoon to bid her Godspeed. Her youngest brother, Al (the afterthought of the family), acted as master of ceremonies, and forbade sorrow and sadness in favor of light-heartedness and joy. Yet there was much melancholy in what the various speakers, including her other siblings, had to say. Nancy died at the young age of 60 (which some say is the new 40, and others the new 30)—far too soon for her to be taken from us. She is, and will continue to be, sorely missed.

And so, as the rather colorless leaves are falling from the trees (we've had a summer of wild weather here in Greenwich), the change of the seasons brings the usual transitions to our Town. Ave, Alistair, and vale, Nancy. We're glad to have you as part of our lives.


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