When I began the MMS, I received a phone call from, Etel, the director of the local professional theater company. She liked the idea of a chamber choir in the area and asked me if I would like to work together some time. I agreed and that summer, the MMS sang at the ITC’s Summer Shakespeare Fest. We sang a few madrigals before the plays began and it was fun and good for us to get the exposure.
Etel and I would bump into each other occasionally, in the local department store, or the grocery or at an IPO concert. We would inquire at to the others current projects and performances. We realized I had studied acting with the same person as one of her sons. We talked about mutual friends and other local arts organizations. We talked about being women directors. But we always, always, always talked about working together again. She told me she would call me about getting together for lunch to talk about it. The next time we bumped into each other, I would suggest coffee to talk. I saw her last summer, in the grocery store produce section, between the bananas and cantaloupe, and we again talked about working together. How I wish I would have pursued it!
The project we talked about was perhaps something by Shakespeare or Ben Jonson or something requiring the kinds of voices I have in the MMS. Etel was one of the most unselfish people I have EVER come across in the arts, more about collaboration than ego, and working with her would have been fantastic. But alas, I will not get that chance. Etel passed away on Wednesday.
My feelings are still too raw to express but I will say Etel changed the outlook for the arts–for all of us–in the south suburbs of Chicago. She was determined and kind and she knew her audience. Her son, Jonathan, will carry on for her and I know he will do what she would want. But oh, how I will miss her!
“……….And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”