Dan Gisvold at Bear Creek

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Singing without Dan

Vocal Arts Ensemble of San Luis Obispo

We were invited to Santa Cruz to sing at Holy Cross Church with the Santa Cruz Chorale. It was a big deal. It was a mandatory concert for all spring series singers. The concert was at 4pm last Sunday.

Melodie, Jed and I decided to drive up on Saturday and stay at Bill's house in Los Gatos. The original plan was that brother Bill and his wife Kathy would meet us there on Saturday. But with brother Bill plans are always fluid.

I got a call last week that he and Kathy had to be in Tahoe with grandson Willie but then that changed and they had to cancel because of the storm but there was a great-aunt of Kathy's that passed and they had to be at the funeral. So the final, as it played out was that Bill and Kathy would be at the concert in Santa Cruz and we would have dinner with them.

Which we did. BUT first, Bill stopped by the Los Gatos house while we were getting ready to go. I was so struck by the resemblance to our father. He walks like him, he talks like him--it is a little freaky. But he came by just to say hi and to make sure we had directions to the church in Santa Cruz.

I had some trepidation about this concert. First, it is two weeks before our Spring concert so we hadn't finished memorizing all the music. Second, we didn't know what the venue was like--acoustics etc. And Third, this was the first concert since Dan had died. Dan would not be there.

Santa Cruz was one of Dan's favorite places on earth. Any place that had an institution of higher learning with a sea slug as a mascot was for him! (University of California at Santa Cruz). It was also a haven for hippies and artists, free thinkers, singers, and general avante garde people.

I couldn't help but think how he would have wanted to be with us.

The concert was going well. Our director hadn't made any gestures to indicate otherwise, at least. I came off the risers to introduce the final number of the first half of the program. And the first face I see is Bill's.

I have a brother there. Watching me and hearing my choir sing.

And I almost lost it.

I forgot the first line to my introduction. It is the Ave Maria by Anton Bruckner for god's sake.

I say a quick line or two in supplication myself and I am back on track and I get through the introduction. I don't think I have ever sung that song better.

Dan would have laughed himself silly. And he would have loved it. Cuz he knew:

It was always Bill, Dan and Gael Ann.

It always will be.

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