Hurray! There’s wifi in the motel room.

Ann Arbor King Guest Room
Our room actually looks a bit like this.

Thank you, jesus. Eileen and I spent the night in Niles last night at a cheap hotel, got up and grabbed some breakfast and made our way to the Basilica of Notre Dame U for Gail’s funeral Eucharist.

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The Chapel where Gail Walton's funeral took place today.

It was a sad day, of course. But I’m very glad I got a chance to support my old  organ teacher in this time of his grief. Both he and Gail were tremendously helpful and supportive of me when I attended there years ago. I have followed the progression of  Gail’s disease and Craig’s increasing frustration and desperation via regular emails that he sent out to concerned friends and colleagues.

This is the ceiling over the altar. The entire interior has been refurbished since I was here.

Being back on the campus was disconcerting to say the least. We had to park in the $2.00 parking and had a nice walk to the chapel where I spent a good deal of my teaching assistantship when I attended this place.  On the way there were many new buildings including a huge fine arts complex that houses Craig’s new fancy organ.

Chris and Anne Reyes Organ and Choral Hall
This is Craig's Fritts organ, his pride and joy. O yeah, it's actually the University's organ, but I'm pretty sure Craig is very happy to be its custodian and resident player. Click on the pic to learn more about this particular organ.

Notre Dame is not visibly suffering for money. Of course it has been 17 years since I attended.

The church was packed. The liturgy was a bit quirky like the Roman Catholic church tends to be these  days (and the U of ND has always been in my experience). The homilist and presider were both men I worked with as assistant to the chapel choir director. They were close friends of Gail’s.

I had many mixed emotions as I sat through this service. The strongest emotional moment for me was the postlude. The priests and the family and the body had left the building. But there were a good number of people who simply stood and sat and listened to the organist’s lovely rendition of  Bach’s beautiful and profound “Schmucke dich.” I was moved to see so many  people paying respect to Gail and this music. I guess I am a bit jaded these days and notice that so many people in our society cannot help but treat all music (including live music) as though it were emitted from speakers.

Musicians are often reduced to same status as a noisy piece of furniture.

But in this case, this was a very sacramental (outward and visible sign of something inward and less tangible) moment for me. I think Gail might have been pleased with this moment. Certainly with the music.

Eileen and I walked over to a fancy schmancy reception area and waited in line to speak to Craig. I saw a few colleagues, but mostly we were vastly outnumbered by people I didn’t recognize.

Gail was a top notch musician who gave her service to an institution that I have some real doubts about (ND, the church). I pray that in the end she thought was worth it.

So I’m settling in for some serious vegging. I brought my electric piano and a counterpoint text by a prof from Wayne State that I took counterpoint from.  Plus some reading. Hopefully I will get some r and r now.

Oh yeah. the title of this post is today’s date. Cool, huh?

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