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   Author  Topic: Dave Fitzgerald has passed away  (Read 578 times)
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What this town needs is a good Renaissance band!


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Dave Fitzgerald has passed away
« on: Jul 20th, 2003, 10:59pm »
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On Saturday afternoon, July 19, 2003, David Fitzgerald, dean of Chicago-area recorder players and a major figure in Chicago early music for the past several decades, passed away after a recent round of illness.  Cry
Dave was long-time director of the Oak Park Recorder Society. He led Musickes Merrie Companions for nearly three decades at the Bristol Renaissance Faire and was a fixture at the Whitewater Early Music Festival for many, many years. Dave also played with the Too Early Consort and, most recently, The (original) Church Mice, among other groups.
When Dave wasn't conducting or playing one of his beloved recorders, he would from time to time pick up crumhorn or drum, or on really special occasions play the serpent, shawm, and other early instruments, and even sing!
Dave Fitzgerald's love of early music was infectious. He was an inspiration to an entire generation of early musicians hereabouts. We have all lost a respected, jovial, and charismatic leader and a special, dear friend.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 11:15 AM, at St. John of the Cross Church, 5505 Wolf Road, Western Springs, Illinois (phone number: 708-246-4404). A recorder prelude will precede the service.
The Chicago Chapter of the American Recorder Society plans to hold a special memorial during the September meeting. The Chicago ARS Chapter meets the third Sunday of every month, 2:00 PM, at St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1500 Belmont Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. People are invited to reminisce and pay tribute to Dave Fitzgerald in both words and music.
Dave Fitzgerald has passed away, but his musical legacy and our fond memories of him will live on...
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"It is our conviction that if anything is worth doing at all, it is worth doing badly."
--Wayne Booth, writing about amateur musicians' passion for playing in For the Love of It

*Lord have mercy on my solo*


Posts: 20
Re: Dave Fitzgerald has passed away
« Reply #1 on: Jul 22nd, 2003, 10:42pm »
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(A poem that I hope provides some comfort to those who need it...)
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush  
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.

I am certain that Dave's spirit resides in a better place, wherever that may be. And I am also certain that his memory and legacy will live on in the lives of each and every one of the individuals that he has touched.
We'll miss you, Dave.
 ~ Laura Osterlund
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"Think of the cosmic eighth notes."
-Tina Chancey
Bob & Lois Scorgie


Re: Dave Fitzgerald has passed away
« Reply #2 on: Jul 23rd, 2003, 10:59am »
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Bob Scorgie met Dave Fitzgerald at Concordia College in 1973 at a recorder workshop.  This began a 30 year friendship which changed our lives. What a treasure we discovered in Dave Fitzgerald.
The following spring, just after we were married, Dave invited us to join Musickes Merrie Companions at the Renaissance Faire..... and the adventure continued.  Through years of faires, weddings, church services, the TOO EARLY CONSORT, late nights and early morning in Whitewater, Dave taught us to live your faith, thank your Maker for all your blessings, respect others, listen, take turns, check to see who's playing what instrument, be tactful, be part of the "group", honestly care about others, be affectionate, be fair, have fun, love what you're doing, do the best you can, work a crowd, laugh in mud and rain, feel success if you stop and start together, be imaginative, tell a story, make everyone feel important.
He and his wonderful wife Mil opened the doors of their home to all. There was always room.  Once Bob arrived on their doorstep on their wedding anniversary. They said, find a bed, make yourself at home.
Every visit at 3937 Grove was a joy. To play music, eat wonderful meals, talk, laugh, sing, and feel so much at home...like one of the family, thrilled us both.  What a pleasure to watch the family grow up to be as amiable, creative and kind as their parents.
Through the years our phone would ring and that wonderful, gravelly voice with the "real" Chicago accent would say "How are you?" We knew he really meant it.  At the end of the call we felt blessed. Dave's humor, concern and kindness made us stand up taller, smile broader, and thank God for such a dear man.
Bob & Lois Scorgie
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Music is life, and, like it, is inextinguishable.


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Re: Dave Fitzgerald has passed away
« Reply #3 on: Jul 30th, 2003, 2:05pm »
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Although longer tributes may be forthcoming, I just have to say that without Dave, many of us would not be in Early Music today.  How many of us did he inspire and for how many did he find performance opportunities?  I had always thought my bass recorder was pretty neat until playing with him at the Faire and being introduced to Krummhorns, racketts, serpents, shawms rauschpfeiffen et cetera et al and so on ad infinitum.  (And there are many instrument makers out there who should be paying him tribute as well for the extra business from all of us who fell in love with these wonderful sounds and just had to make them ourselves!)
And how many of us could have pronounced the word "bransle" correctly before we met him?
How many people did he drag into dancing "Joan Glover" over his 30+ years at the Faire?
How many wonderful pieces did we learn under his guidance?  The Fairie Round,  We Be Three Poor Mariners, Suo-Gan, The Silver Swan and about a thousand more, give or take?
And every time one of us passes on that corny story about O'Carolan and his landlady, we can be sure that a certain angel will take a moment away from testing his new wings to tip a sly smile in our direction.
How can we pay just tribute to someone who has meant so much to so many?
By playing on.
And we will, Dave.  
With alacrity.   Wink
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Re: Dave Fitzgerald has passed away
« Reply #4 on: Feb 11th, 2004, 4:38pm »
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[Kim Katulka, current president of the Chicago ARS chapter and co-chair of the Oak Park Recorder Society, wrote this for the tribute book presented to Mildred Fitzgerald at the occasion of the David Fitzgerald Memorial Concert last autumn. We think Kim's remarks deserve a wider audience, so we post them here. -- Forum Admin]
As I write this, it is September 11th, and the morning news is filled with stories of tributes to a tragedy that united our nation and our allies in shock and grief. Two years later, and you can still see the rawness of emotions on those faces captured by the cameras as the memories come forth from their necessary suppression when a video image is shown or a name is read.
Some tragedies are lived on a grand scale. Other tragedies affect smaller communities, but the loss is no less grand.
This summer brought such a loss into our lives. And for each of us, that loss is felt somewhat differently. For one it was the loss of a lifelong partner and love. For others it was the loss of a father or grandfather. For many it was the loss of a friend and leader. When you take these all together and look at the number of lives affected by this loss, you must come to the realization that what was lost was a grand life, indeed.
But such words are far too impersonal for a tribute.  Lives are lived in the details, and I would like to share a few details of how a magnificent man named David Fitzgerald touched my life.
I have played recorder since I was a little kid. A toy store purchased beige plastic instrument was my first venture into the realm of wind instruments, and I soon learned all the songs in the Trapp Family Singers recorder method. That and a little green book called “First Duets for Recorders” were the only two recorder books the local music store carried. For many years, this was the only recorder music I knew. In college, I finally ran into one other person who played recorder, and we found a couple more duet books and a few solo sonatas to play. I played my first Renaissance Faire in Chicago’s Oz Park in 1987 with John Ryan as my duet partner. By the next year, I was in grad school and had moved away from my recorder-playing friend. After that I relocated to Philadelphia. Recorder playing was relegated to just a bit of private recreational fun once again. I still had my 6 or 7 books of music that were the entirety of what I knew of the Early Music repertoire. In my last year in Philadelphia, I happened upon the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Recorder Society. They met monthly, and I only had a chance to attend four meetings before I moved back to Chicago. At one of these meetings, I was informed of the Princeton (NJ) Recorder Society workshop. It was there I met Stan Davis, the man I credit with showing me that a recorder could be a “real” instrument and deserved to be practiced as such. I bought some more music at that workshop and started giving the recorder the respect I now knew it deserved.
But, as I said, my newly discovered recorder world was about to be left behind with my move. Once I returned to Chicago, I knew that I would have to look up the Chicago ARS chapter and find more recorderists to share in my newfound enthusiasm. And boy, did I ever find them! It took all of about one half-session at the Chicago meeting for me to be approached by a smiling man who was to change my musical life more profoundly than I could ever imagine. David Fitzgerald invited me to come out and play with the Oak Park Recorder Society which he led every Tuesday night. To say I haven’t looked back since would be a phenomenal understatement.
David also invited me to play two weekends at the Bristol Renaissance Faire that summer. Eyes I thought couldn’t open any wider were. Since I was little and first starting in music, I have always been interested in playing all sorts of instruments. There is a paragraph in my senior High School yearbook about me entitled “Kim K.—23 ways to play” reflecting the number of instruments I had a basic competency on at the time (yeah, I kinda cheated by counting each voice of recorder separately, but it was still an impressive number). But in college I had focused on double-bass as my “real” instrument and relegated all the others to the level of recreational diversions. I still loved learning new instruments; I just figured it would always be a hobby.  Yet here sat Dave with not only recorders, but krumhorns, cornettos, a shawm, a serpent, a suitcase full of percussion instruments and a few other things that I’d never even heard of like a racket and a rauschpfeiff! This I cannot emphasize enough—this man had shown me what my musical life was meant to be. God had given me a gift. My college band director had called me a “double threat” for my proficiency on playing both bass and bassoon. I considered that a great tribute, but he didn’t know the half of it. And now I was faced with a man who appeared to be able to see into parts of my soul that I had never tapped myself. There was that knowing smile again. Without saying it outright, he had looked into my eyes and told me “this is what you were meant to do with the gifts you were given.”
I was far from the first, and certainly not the last, who David had recognized and optimized as a player. He had the gift of knowing what each person needed to be the happiest musician they could. From those who needed a little nudge now and then to put down their tenors and pick up their altos to those he started on the path to professional careers in the world of Early Music. Everyone could fulfill his potential under Dave’s insightful guidance.
My music collection is far more than 6 or 7 books now. And my latest soprano recorder cost a heck of a lot more than the three dollars that the one that came from the toy store did. David also encouraged my passion for conducting—something I had studied in college but had few opportunities to use afterward. He also taught me about the responsibilities that come with God’s gifts. I can’t say that I ever thought I’d be in co-charge of the OPRS. I guess I figured Dave would always be there.  Even now, I can’t help thinking that he will one day again step up in front of that room and start distributing a pile of music. I just wanted to sit back and play, not to assume the awesome burden of keeping alive a group that has been around since the 1950s. But do this I must.  And there is no way I can be Dave. His energy and dedication shame me—how can I hope to match them? Look at what this man has built. He has taken his music to anyone with the inclination to listen and shown countless people that the recorder is the avatar of some of the most wonderful music that was ever set to paper. The pieces we have come to love under Dave’s direction number in the hundreds, if not thousands. Those are shoes that none of us can fill. But Dave has also held a mirror to each of our faces and shown us our capabilities and strengths. And his example has taught us that this music brings joy to those who play it and hear it and that it is worth our personal sacrifices to make sure that this legacy lives on.
None of us who were there will ever forget the last time we had the privilege of playing under Dave’s direction.  We watched him struggle with his walker to cross the park to lead us as we played prelude music for the first Shakespeare in the Park performance of the summer. Then he slowly and painfully made his way back to the car and negotiated the stairs to the basement of the Pilgrim Congregation Church one last time to lead the group that had flourished under his guidance for the past 30 or so years. He had to sit on a stool and he only had the strength to wave his arm a bit to start the songs. As we played, though, we could see him smile. It was the same smile full of the love of music we had seen countless times before. That was something that could never lose its vigor. And our hearts smiled back at him in response. At the end of the session, I conducted for a while as Dave sat and played. None of us knew for certain that that would be the last time we’d see and make music with the man who had meant so much to each of us. But I’m sure we all realized it was a possibility and the joy of our music making was tinged with melancholy. It was the final lesson of love, dedication and sacrifice that Dave had to teach us. None of us who were present will forget the grace and dignity with which that message was delivered.
I can’t pretend to know what David Fitzgerald meant to everyone whose life was enriched by his. I can only really know what he taught me. And every time we place “recorders in mouth,” we will know the part Dave has played in what we are about to do. The most fitting tribute we can pay to this wonderful man is to keep doing what he taught us to do.
You taught us to play on, Dave. And play on we will.  With love.
And with alacrity.
--Kim Katulka
« Last Edit: Feb 11th, 2004, 5:26pm by Forum Admin » IP Logged
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