John Donne stated in his Meditation XVII that “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
I have always found Donne’s words to be meaningful for those who exist in community, and that essentially means all of us. For those of us fortunate enough to sing in choruses which include friendships as well as musical relationships, there are times when we are especially reminded of our connection with each other. That recently happened within The Michael O’Neal Singers when we lost one of our members to cancer.
Rick Fisher first sang with the MOS Summer Singers in 2005. He auditioned for the regular season beginning that Fall, passed the audition with flying colors, and was a valuable and faithful member from that point on. I remember Rick as being a thoughtful and caring person, as well as a truly committed singer with a lovely tenor voice, who always gave his best effort to whatever music MOS was performing.
It has been suggested to me what a difference MOS made in Rick’s life. I would suggest that Rick has also made a significant difference in our lives. I often tell the members of MOS that we are an excellent example of the Gestalt theory of the “whole being greater than the sum of its parts.” When we gather to sing together, something happens which is well beyond what any of us could do as individuals. Still, it is a combination of all of our individual efforts which creates our music. Rick understood that. He was an integral part of MOS and he will be greatly missed; yet his spirit still lives within each of us and I know our lives and our music have been enriched because Rick came our way. We will always be thankful he did.