[Note: Of all the ubiquitous annual reviews, my favorite is The Lives They Lived in the New York Times. Death and the assessment of one’s life is among my favorite things to ponder. A good funeral makes me want to be more faithful. A good life brings everlasting inspiration.]
Somebody beat me to the punch when he wrote about Maggie Roche here. We didn’t know each other but she was a big part of my life. HH and I attended every Roches concert at The Birchmere for decades and The Roches Christmas album was a staple in our family’s holiday playlist.
We were different in many ways as far as I can determine. There is nothing about my voice that says “wow” much less “contralto.” I am not personal friends with Paul Simon. And if I learned I had breast cancer, I would certainly not wait a decade to tell people. But the fact that breast cancer impacted her life is something that bonded us. (Breast cancer is my special enemy.)
Her music brought joy from street corners in New York to Carnegie Hall, and that’s a lot. To bring joy to the world in every season indicates a life well-lived – even the throes of financial insecurity and isolation. The fact that her family considered her an angel was only the beginning of this world’s love for her.
One of The Roches’ hallmark pieces was their a cappella Hallelujah Chorus. But my favorite song was Big Nuthin’.