Last month, I attended the annual memorial service at Princeton University, where my father taught for forty years. His death was honored, along with that of every alumnus and every member of the university community who died in the past 12 months - from custodial staff to Nobel Laureate John Nash.
The service was beautiful, observing the many traditions of the community, but it didn't feel particularly personal. After all, dad was one of hundreds remembered that day. I sat in a front pew with other family members until I was absolutely undone by the procession of the choir.
This magnificent group is comprised of generations of singers, from the callow freshman to the white-bearded bass who boomed down the aisle. Memories flooded back: my high school, some 250 of us, sang Handel's Hallelujah Chorus there every Christmas. For years afterward, we Princeton High School alumni made the pilgrimage back to the chapel to join our voices with those of the current students.
All the joy of raising our voices together was remembered deeply and viscerally.
When I lived in New Jersey, I sang in choirs in college and in New York. But when I moved to Seattle, it took me nearly 20 years to find the Magnolia Chorale - just around the corner! Our music is so wonderfully varied, from the sacred to the silly. Every Sunday night I look forward to leaving the dishes behind and joining my community of sopranos - and know that when I'm very, very old, I'll cherish these memories too.