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On to your next adventure, Mom...

Posted on September 9, 2017 with 0 comments
The photos below were taken just before Mother's Day, 2016.

After a long stretch of complications from Type I diabetes, My mom, Ann Marie (Witmore) Holmes, made her peaceful transition early this morning with my Dad and one of my sisters at her side. I am grateful I had the opportunity to say goodbye to her in hospice just a few days ago. I was able to tell her how much I loved her and how grateful I am for everything she gave me – first and foremost, the gift of music.

I a...m utterly convinced of the power of exposing children to music while they’re still in the womb (and throughout childhood). Study after study shows the myriad benefits to intelligence and social skills.

I firmly believe that my mom teaching piano lessons, being an organist and/or leading a church choir while pregnant with me is the reason I came into this world embodying music. And, not just innately being able to find pitch, harmony and rhythm but also hearing beyond the notes to the very soul of a song or composition and the ability to articulate when and why something sounds “off.” In other words, I also inherited her “good ears” (which have served me well – literally and figuratively) and her razor sharp, intelligent sense of humor.

My mom was a staunch and vocal advocate not just for music education in public schools but for quality music programs no matter where we were (either as participants or audience members). It is with pride (if not a little embarrassment) that I recall many a music teacher, band director, and yes, even a school superintendent and church bishop quaked at the idea of Mom giving them shit if she thought the music in their organizations was below her standards.

A dear friend asked this morning how best to honor my mother’s life. Since “music” was at the top of that list, this friend suggested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Mom’s name to the “Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.” This landed so deeply that I know it is absolutely the right place.

In addition to making sure underprivileged youth and under-funded schools have and keep music education alive and thriving, the foundation is also affiliated with “Music Rising”, ( the national relief fund for schools affected by natural disasters. The Texas Gulf Coast (particularly the towns of Rockport and Port Aransas, where schools are now closed indefinitely) is a place in much need of that right now.

Godspeed, Mom. Thank you for everything. You did good.
I love you.

Ann Marie (Witmore) Holmes
Jan. 4, 1935 – Sept. 9, 2017