Thursday, April 14, 2016

Those That Can

You’ve heard that phrase, right? “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.”

Well, I call bullshit.

Rebecca Shepherd could and she did. She was the choral teacher at Lansingburgh High School for nearly thirty years and my teacher for seven. On Friday, she passed away from cancer surrounded by her family and friends.

Her loss has been the hardest for me, in my adult life. And to be honest, I couldn’t figure out why. She wasn’t my favorite teacher and she wasn’t even the nicest teacher. But I cried, and I never cry.

At her memorial service, surrounded by old and new faces, I think I figured it out. Looking around at all the people she touched, all the people she impacted, I knew I was one of them. She was the teacher who nominated me for All County. The teacher who wanted my voice in choir even though I preferred band. The teacher who put me in all five musicals I auditioned for and even gave me my own song to sing in one of them. She volunteered her time for lessons, rehearsals, and Saturday trips to see musicals in New York City with students. She knew the value of music at LHS and she lived and breathed it. She was a teacher who demanded greatness and showed us we could deliver.

She showed me that I could deliver, that I could be great. And that’s what I was forgetting. Rebecca Shepherd believed in me. She showed me that I was and am part of something bigger. The love for music that she instilled in me and hundreds of other students at Lansingburgh will live on through us.

And if that’s not doing, then show me what it is.

In memoriam.

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