Clear blue skies, beautiful surroundings, friendly faces, a few tears, and angel food cake with strawberries, ice cream, and whipping cream marked a fitting farewell to Dr. Jean-Marie Kent, our creative and unflappable music director for over decade. More than 35 people gathered on the lawn at Magnolia United Church of Christ (MUCC) to express best wishes for Jean-Marie as she takes on her new role as Artistic Director of the Seattle Children’s Chorus.
The gathering included long-time, new, and former members, friends of the Chorale, a former director and accompanist, and other distinguished guests, including David Horiuchi, President of the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium.
After people had a chance to catch up, and finish their dessert, the well wishes began. Founding members of the board expressed their heartfelt (and humorous) appreciation for Jean-Marie’s unique combination of creative talent, patient direction, and adventurous spirit that led the choir to follow her outside our comfort zone at times during her tenure.
The founders presented her with a variety of gifts including champagne (real and chocolate), a check representing contributions from members, a certificate of appreciation, a genuine gold-colored paper badge of musical achievement, and a bouquet of flowers.
Jean-Marie was both moved and amused by the kind words and thoughtful gifts. She thanked Chorale members and the board for the lovely sendoff and for our willingness to explore new creative directions over the last several years.
Of course no Magnolia Chorale gathering is complete without a song, so our new director, Joseph To, directed us all in a spirited rendition of "Dancing Queen". That was no small feat since we were scattered out all over the lawn. But he kept us all together and the afternoon ended on a happy note.
Thanks to all the current board members who made the event run so smoothly. To Neil Jackson for coming up with the ice cream social concept and carrying it off without a hitch. To Nicole Worley, who helped serve the delectable strawberry studded confections. To Darrel and Betty Ede and Mira Hall, who brought tents so we could enjoy our ice cream out of the sun. To Katie Hampton, who made sure we were hydrated. And to MUCC that let the Chorale use their facilities without charge.
Most of all thanks to Jean-Marie. We look forward to hearing about your new adventures and we hope to see you in the audience in the years to come.
A community of singers who enjoy spending time together making great music.