Springfield, Ohio - Wittenberg University’s historic Weaver Chapel was crowded with students, friends and colleagues who gathered to commemorate the life of the late Wittenberg Associate Professor of Music Tom Kennedy. Fittingly, the memorial service, titled A Musical Celebration of the Life of Dr. Thomas A. Kennedy, Jr., took the form of a musical tribute, in remembrance of Kennedy’s long and successful musical career that touched so many lives at Wittenberg and throughout the Springfield community.
For more than an hour, the audience was captivated by various musical numbers and personal tributes, a truly heartfelt celebration of a beloved professor.
The program began with a prelude performed by TOFT (Tons of Fun Trio), a trio that Kennedy formed and in which he participated. Joyce Wendel, associate professor of music, and Barb Mackey were joined by Judy Varner to perform a TOFT favorite, “Trio in C Dur” by Franz Josef Haydn.
Provost Kenneth Bladh then welcomed the audience, sharing a few words about Kennedy and the decision to hold a memorial service in the form of a concert.
“His colleagues, friends and former students know well Tom’s passion for beauty, especially beauty found in music,” Bladh said.
Larry Smith, a close friend to Kennedy, agreed.
“We’re celebrating his life in the most appropriate way possible,” he said.
Among many high points in the concert was the reading of a letter written to Kennedy by former student Dianne Frank Williams, Wittenberg Class of 1996.
“You taught me far more than how to play the flute,” she wrote. “You taught me how to be something. I salute you. I thank you, and I send you my love.”
Other groups performing in honor of Kennedy were the Wittenberg Symphonic Band, the Kennedy Quartet and the Wittenberg Flute Choir, which performed The Lost Flute, a piece written by Bruce R. Smith on the occasion of Kennedy’s death.
Special guest performers were the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, which Kennedy formerly conducted.
Wittenberg Professor of Music Trudy Faber read a personal remembrance written by Rebecca Coudret, a former colleague of Kennedy’s and columnist for the Evansville Courier Press.
“We were good, last-a-lifetime friends,” Coudret wrote. “We just didn’t know a lifetime would be so short.”
A Musical Celebration of the Life of Dr. Thomas A. Kennedy, Jr. provided an accurate measure of just how many lives Kennedy touched.
“A celebration of life does not mean a denial of death,” Smith said. “Tom died. But the music did not. The music lives on.”
Written By: Rachel Morgan '08
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