Dear Rockburn friends,
Carol says that the church service in Rockburn Sunday Nov 28 was simply the happiest occasion of her life. Fresh sticky early snow bent the birches down into arcs and mounded thickly on the firs to make our drive out from the city very scenic. As Betty Waller remarked in her welcome from behind the pulpit, it was a picture-perfect magical day.
The loving community atmosphere of genuine personal and collective tribute in the Rockburn church was rare and precious. There should be a time in every person’s life that so warmly congratulates their contributions over time. My brother Mark said that he has never before witnessed an entire service dedicated to one individual who was actually alive for it. The gift of time and attention that Carol was given by the Rockburn congregation was a true celebration of life, a testimony, a public acknowledgement of Carol’s contributions to music in the Chateauguay Valley.
The seating was ideal. Bev Jamieson and Mark Bye flanked Carol, she adorned with a corsage, sitting front row center. Covid spacing allowed three per pew so Tina, Marie Lalonde, and I sat in the second front center pew. We quickly got over feeling “on display” because the ambiance was relaxed and entertaining.
And, of course, music is always about MORE than just the music. This really came out in the stories each of a dozen people told about working with Carol as their accompanist, teacher, choir director, song writer, or band member, including Joe Hevesy, Stewart Burrows, Grace Sutton, Rob Ireland, Quinn Burrows, Norm Rennie, Tamara Stevenson, Sarah Fraser, Howard Welburn, Wendy Kell, Maryse Cournoyer, Norm Rennie, John and Connie Wilson, and other members of the Franklin Ensemble. There were memories of past fun, times, dates recalled, humour, and above all, immense affection and respect. The late Harley kept creeping into these stories too (he would). Several people mentioned feeling part of the Bye family at rehearsals and lessons held in the living room in Rockburn. Tasha and Daphne (and even Tommy) were all included in the warm memories. My Covid mask grew quite soggy.
Tina wrote to me that the warmth, kindness, and grace which Carol has served to the community over her lifetime shone back at her through the hearts and eyes of everyone present that Sunday. Tina’s favorite part was when Stewart Burrows opened his personal tribute with, "So, one time when Carol and I were out drinking...." which was met with gales of laughter, which only barely outstripped the congregational reaction to his son Quinn whispering a highly audible bad word to himself when hitting a wrong note in his full-length speed-of-light rendering of The Maple Leaf Rag.
The scrapbook Carole Trottier and her daughter Maryse put together and presented to Carol is thick and rich and stunning with contributions from former students now grown up, moved away and with kids of their own learning piano. Carol also received several other very thoughtful personal gifts; she is working on her thank you Christmas card list. Once her new mailing return address stickers arrive from the printer, we’ll set up an assembly line and mail out individual notes.
With heart-felt thanks,
Beaconsfield, QC H9W 4N5
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