Last Sunday I had the life-altering experience of attending a befitting memorial service and celebration of the life of Thelma Hunter, an incredible woman, with a zeal for living that few could match. My husband and I left her memorial service with a renewed sense of “Carpe Diem” in the wake of hearing about her well-lived and never wasted life.
Thelma was not only a talented pianist and collaborator, devoted wife and mother, tireless supporter of the Arts, and encouraging force to other musicians, she also had the knack of making whomever she was talking to feel their personal contribution to the artistic community was important, respected and viable. I admired her sense of personal style, independence, philosophical life wisdom and never-wavering intellectual curiosity.
We have performed chamber music together which was pure joy both in the rehearsal process and during performance. Thelma has also played Chopin on our family’s Steinway C and I will cherish her DNA on the ivory keys for years to come.
I will also treasure Thelma’s hand-written note she sent to me the week after I performed Poulenc’s Gloria last May. She reiterated what she said after the performance: about that particular piece being made for a voice like mine and how clear my diction was. She always liked to complement me on my diction and I always loved hearing that feedback!
One of the speakers at her memorial service described Thelma as someone having died young at an advanced age. What a wonderful goal to strive for! I’ll miss Thelma Hunter very much. She will always be with me, both with my memories of her playing and remembering her joie de vivre attitude. The music continues on.