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
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.