Farewell to a Chorister

Unfortunately, we have to bid farewell to one of our singers from time to time.  When the departure is due to death it can be especially heart wrenching, and this was recently the case for The Michael O’Neal Singers.  One of our faithful baritones, Doug Carlyle, died suddenly of a heart attack.   He had participated in our most recent concert a little more than a week earlier.   He was a talented singer and choir member and had been a faithful member of MOS since 2004.   He will be greatly missed.  In thinking about Doug, his life, and his contributions to our choir and many other choruses through the years, I recalled several poems, each of which has been set to music.  I believe they are especially poignant for anyone who lives a life that includes choral singing.  I share them with you now as a tribute to Doug.

       Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep  
       Words:  Mary Elizabeth Frye
       Music:  Eleanor Daley

Do not stand at my grave and weep,I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

       Sing Me to Heaven
       Words:  Jane Griner
       Music:  Daniel E. Gawthrop

In my heart’s sequestered chambers
Lie truths stripped of poet’s gloss.
Words alone are vain and vacant
And my heart is mute.
In response to aching silence
Memory summons half-heard voices,
And my soul finds primal eloquence
And wraps me in song.

If you would comfort me, sing me a lullaby.
If you would win my heart, sing me a love song.
If you would mourn me and bring me to God,
Sing me a requiem, sing me to heaven.

Touch in me all love and passion,
Pain and pleasure, grief and comfort.
Sing me a lullaby, a love song, a requiem.
Love me, comfort me, bring me to God:
Sing me a love song, Sing me to heaven.

         I Have Had Singing
        Words:  Fred Mitchel 
        Music:  Steven Sametz

The singing.
There was so much singing then,
and this was my pleasure too.
We all sang,
The boys in the fields,
The chapels were full of singing, always singing.
Here I lie.
I have had pleasure enough.
I have had singing.

  • Glenn Rosenkoetter

    Unfortunately I was unable to attend the memorial service being out-of-town. I had struck up a friendship with Doug during my time in the chorus. While his talent will be sorely missed, I’ll miss his dry sense of humor and the quiet action of this special person.

    I’m glad I had the opportunity to know him just a little.


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