Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Marvin Hamlisch - 6/2/1944 - 8/6/2012 - I Remember
“I started studying music at the age of five and a half. My older sister was taking piano lessons. When her teacher left our apartment, I would get up on the piano bench and start picking out the notes that were part of my sister’s lessons.”–Marvin Hamlisch
It was sometime last year.
Maybe it was the year before.
I don't remember. I don't remember the date. I don't remember the time, or the place. I remember it was walking distance from The Guggenheim.
I sat in the back row. I faced a baby grand piano, center stage.
I was waiting for Marvin Hamlisch.
And then he appeared.
He entered stage left. And calm as an evening lake, he seated himself at the piano.
He placed his fingers on the keyboard.
As goosebumps rippled my arms, for the next hour and a half, Mr. Hamlisch serenaded the standing room only audience with his music, a medley of award winning tunes:
Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows, The Way We Were; songs from The Sting, Gypsy, West Side Story, and more.
In between each song, he ad libbed, some personal commentary thing that put a smile on my face and made the audience laugh, sigh and clap.
Looking back, it is a precious moment in time locked forever in my heart and one I will never forget. I was in the presence of greatness.
And I knew it.
The news of Marvin Hamlisch's death yesterday afternoon wrinkled my brow. It caused me to stop what it was I was doing.
I blinked a moistened eye, and said a silent prayer.
No, I did not know Mr. Hamlisch, personally. But, when the newsman announced his passing, I was reminded immediately of one very special evening, one very gifted gentle man friendly as Mr. Rogers, and one huge talent that smothered me softly.
The memory of that special evening, that warm witty man and his music, is with me still.
To Marvin Hamlisch's wife, Terre Blaire, his family, friends and fans, Griefcase extends sincerest condolences.
"Just as sometimes you need a person to be strong for you, maybe sometimes you need a person to be weak for you."--Lolly Winston, from her book, Good Grief."
Q: What kind of hats do they wear at the North Pole?
A: Ice caps