Welcome to an online memorial space for Kjersten Oquist and Angela Svendsen.
A place of healing where their memory can be honored by those who knew and loved them.
If you have a photo you would like to post and do not have a place to link it to online,
send it to me at email@example.com and I will host it and post a link on this board.
To add a message, scroll down to the end of the page and click on "Share your remembrance".
If your browser hangs (takes a very long time to show that your entry has posted), do not despair! Simply go on to another page, or quit your browser. Your post has been submitted and will show up after the server catches up with the backlog (it is handling lots of other dreambooks at the same time). Do not try to post again, you will only end up with multiple duplicate entries. Thanks for your patience. -- Charles
Remembrances posted: 135.
|Comments:||I hope that this remembrance board helps with the terrible loss that all of us in the Vancouver/Portland/Salem/Eugene musical community have suffered. After the death of Marty Jennings, I found much solace in reading the memories and tributes of him that people from around the state wrote, and his family was deeply appreciative of the online memorial. So I offer this as a small token of my loss of two wonderful people and musicians.|
A tribute to Kjersten Oquist and Angela Svendsen
Posted by David Stabler February 13, 2007 09:28AM
Niel DePonte was the first to call, Monday, with the tragic news of the two Portland musicians who died in a car accident on their way back from Eugene, Sunday. Kjersten Oquist a violist, and Angela Svendsen, a violinist, both played in the Oregon Ballet Theatre orchestra, as well as the Eugene Symphony. Oquist was also the librarian for the ballet orchestra, which DePonte conducts. He wrote this tribute to the two women, but through the sadness, he also describes in a powerful way what it's like to be a freelance musician.
A Farewell To My Musicans, My Friends
"I'd be happy to pick [the music] up on Monday at OBT or at the Schnitz.
I'll be downtown at 11:00. Let me know."
That e-mail was sent to me on Sunday, February 11th at 4:52 PM and is the
last one I'll ever receive from Kjersten. Kjersten Oquist was my orchestra
librarian for the Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) Orchestra, a respected member of its
viola section, a wife, a mother, and a friend. She died Sunday night around 11
PM near Albany...a victim of yet another drunk driver on Oregon's highways,
driving southbound in the northbound lane of I-5. Also killed in the crash was a
first violinist from our orchestra, Angela Svendsen, also a wife, and a
friend. Nearly killed, but miraculously spared, was Kelli Gronli, our Principal
Oboe. All three musicians were returning from a rehearsal of the Eugene Symphony,
where they occupied the Principal Viola, Principal Second Violin, and
Principal Oboe chairs, respectively. That means they were great players and great
These three colleagues are what we in the music business call freelance
musicians. A freelancer's career is usually made up of playing in various
orchestras, teaching students, perhaps teaching in schools, or getting involved in the
everyday business of keeping an orchestra running by being its librarian for
example, as Kjersten was. There is nothing a freelancer desires more than a "
steady gig", one that comes with health insurance and a regular paycheck. But
those jobs are few and far between.
Not that Kjersten and Angela ever gave up that dream. In fact they embraced
the job of becoming better musicians every day, hoping to move up in the ballet
orchestra string sections, join the Oregon Symphony, or becoming principal
chair players as they had become in Eugene by dint of their talent, tenacity and
hard work. I know that they both auditioned at various times for chairs in
the Oregon Symphony, seeking that elusive "steady gig" because smaller
orchestras such as Eugene, OBT's Orchestra, and the Portland Opera Orchestra (in which
they all played) in and of themselves cannot hire full time musicians, pay
them a living wage and give them benefits. It is too expensive. That is a fact
of life for a freelancer.
But don't think that these artists were in any way less worthy than any of us
who have been lucky enough to get a job in a full time orchestra. It often
has more to do with it just "not being their day" at the once-every-3-year
auditions for chairs in the "big" orchestra.
And what Kjersten and Angela do between auditions? They played at your
wedding, or the wedding of your daughter. They played at your mother's funeral, at
your church on Easter Sunday in a "pick up band", as the vernacular goes. They
provided background music at your company's reception, accompanied a local
professional chorus, and taught your children how to play the violin. They made
the musical community of Portland vibrant and viable. For without freelance
artists, there wouldn't be enough competent musicians to perform at all the
venues where we see and hear music...and so often take it for granted, or take for
granted the artists who make it.
Did you even notice the players at your last fancy fundraising gala? Did you
thank them for playing for you? They are not just in it for the money, I
assure you. No one is getting rich playing classical music in Portland as a
freelancer. But each and every professional musician you see at a performance of any
kind is offering you part of themselves, and doing it gladly. Because they
love to make music. And they live to make music.
Kjersten and Angela lived to make music...and they died to make music, in
Eugene, at least in part because we as a community could not offer them enough
employment at a high enough wage to keep them from having to make that four-hour
round trip late at night many times each season.
So the next time you, or someone you know, think that musicians are overpaid,
or charge too much for your son's bar mitzvah, or think that they are playing
for free because they must enjoy it so, or think that the arts don't matter so
why pay to have them in the public schools, remember Kjersten and Angela.
They lived to make you happy performing the music they loved up and down the I-5
corridor and beyond. They deserved so much more in life than what we paid
them, given what we received from them. And they deserved so much more life.
I know I shall miss them. And whether you know it or not, you shall miss them
|Comments:||I didn't know Kjersten and Angela as well as I would have liked. I was just getting to know Angela better when I left Eugene and moved to Iowa. She was such a lively woman! I was playing a one-year replacement position on third oboe and English horn, and not many string players would approach the wind 'sub'. Angela came right over on one of my first rehearsals, not to compliment me on my solo, but to say, "I had to come over here to tell you...those shoes are fabulous!!" That says a lot coming from a shoe fanatic!
As we grieve, we remember, and we smile.
My deepest condolences to their families, and to my Oregon colleagues. And to Kelly, my friend, may you find strength and solace in the support around you.
|Comments:||I went to Boston University with Kjersten and had been IMIng with her as recently as this fall. I know she loved her freelance life and her family. She was always up late doing bowings, copying, or practicing. For an orchestra to lose two colleagues at once because of drunk driving is unimaginable. My condolences to both families and to all the orchestras and communites affected by this tragic loss.|
|Name:||Irving G. Steinberg|
|Comments:||I meet Kjersten in September of 1992 when I came to study at Boston University. We were housemates over in Brighton for most of the Fall into the Winter. We had fun times living together. I lost touch with her after she left Boston, unfortunately, but assumed she was doing well back in the Pacific Northwest. Hearing about this tragedy and its randomness is absolutely heartbreaking. I can only offer my profoundest condolences and thoughts to the families and friends in this terrible and dark hour.|
|Comments:||My 14 year old daughter, Sariah, took private violin lessons from Angela since June of 2005, when Angela made space for her. She will always remember Angela's instructions, encouragement, her pushing Sariah to do and be her best as a musician, and her happy outlook on life. It was a pleasure to sit in her living room and listen to her gently teaching my child and setting a great example of womanhood. She will be greatly missed.|
|Name:||Sara Greenleaf Seitz|
|Comments:||We did not know Kjersten and Angela personally, but my husband Noah is a cellist, and formerly played with the Eugene Symphony. We were at the scene of the crash on Sunday night. We feel that Kjersten's car saved our entire family's life. We were seconds behind them. Our hearts go out to the families and friends who are touched by this senseless trajedy. These were truly wonderful women.|
|Comments:||Angela was one of the best private music teachers I have ever met. She offered so much encouragement and motivation to her students...my younger brother was one of them. She made playing the violin come alive for him, and he is a better musician and human being because of her. She was always smiling and laughing when I saw her, and I am very sad that she is gone. It is good to know that in all of her students, the love of music that she grew in their hearts will carry on, and that that gift will keep giving and re-giving itself, and in that way she will live on.|
|Comments:||I have played alongside both of them, and I can't believe that they are now gone. They will be very sorely missed.
I was Angela's roommate and stand partner at the Cascade Festival one year, and have very some very fond memories. On the drive down, we had fun filling out the Mad Libs in my Delia's catalog by using the names of other musicians we know. Throughout our weeks there, she showed me how to make these cute little loop ponytails that I wore from then on for about a year! Also, we realized our mutual love for Grape-Nuts. And her fabulous shoes, of course, we must mention those. On one of our final performances, we realized with shock that we didn't have the encore piece on our stand! Angela ran backstage in the tent to grab it in the split seconds while the maestro chatted with the audience - and you could hear her shoes, CLOMP!CLOMP!CLOMP! as she threw the Dvorak on the stand in just the nick of time for the downbeat. Now THAT's style!
And just one more shoe mention - on a PCO concert one year, the maestro asked us to wear a bit of red such as a scarf, tie, etc. Angela asked him if she could wear red shoes. He said, no, I don't think so. Well, our dear Angela wore them anyway - and looked FAB!!!
Kjersten and Angela, we miss you both. Love,
|Comments:||I was in the same class at Boston University as Kjersten and we later ran in the same freelance circuit in Portland. My condolences go out to both of the families of these wonderful and dedicated musicians. I had made that drive to play in Eugene many times and now, as a freelancer in the NYC area, I am constantly on the roads late at night returning from one gig or another. I know how difficult and draining it can be to always be schlepping from one place to another for a job, and now we know how dangerous it is, as well. I am always thankful when I walk in the door safely at the end of a trip. Thank you to Charles and Niel for your beautiful tributes to the lives of these hard-working and talented women. No one works harder than freelancers and they will be greatly missed.|
|Comments:||I went to school with Angela at CWU. We hung out with a lot of the same peeps and played in orchestra together. She was always a great person to be around and it makes me sad the I wont get to catch up with her. My thoughts and prayers go out....|
|Comments:||The first time I met Kjersten was playing the Cascade Festival. I immediately liked her since she was such a sass and had the best snappy retorts for everything. She also understood that a cheap $7 lipstick from the drugstore will solve most problems. Kjersten was a "go to" gal. I don't know how she organized the millions of things she did, and with such style and grace. We used to chat in the "viola nook" at the symphony during pieces from which we were reduced--just about life, auditions, and of course, shoes and hairstyles. She always said something sassy that made me laugh.
My first memory of Angela was her excitement at getting into the ballet orchestra. The first show, she wore a beautiful black tafetta gown that, I believe, her grandmother had made for her. I was in a lousy mood that day, but when I saw her in that dress, absolutely BEAMING with happiness, I couldn't help but to feel better myself. I remember we were excited about the "Shopaholic" books and discussed them vigorously during ballet intermissions. She was such a sweetheart. I still can't get my head around it. When I saw their pictures in the paper I thought they were going to be playing a concert. The world is a dimmer place without both of you guys.
|Comments:||I went to junior high and high school with Kjersten, two years behind her. I wrote the following entry in my journal on Monday evening:
Saying goodbye to someone I hardly knew
I found out today, as described in this article, that my old friend Kjersten Oquist died yesterday.
I first met Kjersten when I was in 7th grade. She was in 9th grade, and played the violin, although even at that age, she was starting to tend towards viola. We played together for a year in the school orchestra. The year ended, and she went on to the high school (I was in junior high, which goes from 7th to 9th grade, and the high school covered 10th through 12th).
Despite being in different schools, we still saw each other on occasion. I know we met at the odd orchestra festival, and we may have attended each others' performances.
A couple years passed in this fashion, as we met occasionally, and we maintained a sort of loose friendship. I always admired her, for her musical abilities, her intelligence, and increasingly for her sheer attractiveness. (As I've previously mentioned, I seem to have had something of a scattershot approach to crushes in my early "love" life, since they seemed to be confined solely to my own mind.)
We met up again in high school. I was now in 10th grade, and she in 12th. We interacted through the orchestra, as well as somewhat through the drama department, and through the school paper.
She was the editor of the school paper, and I quickly signed on to be Photographer General. Actually, I was just one of the photographers, the other was a woman whose name I've momentarily forgotten, who was also a senior. I credit her with teaching me a great deal about how to develop black and white film (yes children, back in the day when a camera used an arcane chemical process, rather than an arcane electronic one!). In any case, I wanted to be on the paper because they needed a photographer, and I was deeply into photography. It was a pleasant bonus that Kjersten was the editor.
I could describe all sorts of things about being on the paper, but all of the memories of Kjersten are pleasant ones. She was a very forgiving boss (if boss is the right term). We would commonly stay late (I think we had a staff of about 5 people), getting the paper ready for the printers. This involved these obnoxious and universally-reviled wax applicators, which were supposed to roll sticky wax onto the back of copy, so it would stick to the layout sheets. Instead, they seemed to apply wax to anything which came within a few feet of them: clothing, hair, hands, shoes, all over the table, all over the layout paper, etc. At one point, I think we'd resorted to using the wax roller as a heating pot, and were just applying the wax with brushes.
Throughout it all, Kjersten maintained a wry sense of humor that kept everyone going. There were tense moments, to be sure, but we were all having fun. It didn't take long for me to develop a full-blown Deep Crush
Between late nights working on the newspaper (which was usually found littering the halls mere minutes after it came out) and orchestra, we saw a fair amount of each other. Looking back on it, we were actually pretty good friends, although the age gap was enough at the time to prevent me from thinking of her as one of my social circle. She was, but I wasn't experienced or mature enough yet to figure that out.
We went to a few orchestra events off-site during that year, and I ended up getting a ride home from her at least one of those times. The only reason I remember this is something she said to me which caught me totally off guard.
We were standing on either side of her car after the event, preparing to get in. Something had just happened which put me in a bad mood. Utilizing my new Adult Vocabulary, I exclamed "Fuck!" about whatever had just gone wrong. I looked back at her across the roof of the car. She smiled sweetly, and said, "Maybe later." She got in the car, and so did I. Utterly disarmed, I sat quietly for the trip home. (This may have been the moment when the mere Crush turned into a Deep Crush
Kjersten had a face like those excessively cute Campbells cherubs from a contemporary ad campagin, cute dimples and all. Except, she looked more grown-up, as if one of the rosy-cheeked cherubs had gained about 12 years but kept the innocence. She had blond hair which fell straight down to her shoulders. I don't specifically recall her height, but it strikes me that she wasn't tall. Mostly, I was perpetually aware of the simple presence of her.
I don't recall, now, if I attended her graduation or not. It seems likely I did, although it was probably in my capacity as a cellist, and I certainly don't have any reliable memories of the event. I had a surprising number of friends who were 2 years ahead of me, and it was within that circle that I found myself most comfortable. My own classmates were never very interesting, although that may have been a case of the grass looking greener over there.
Fast forward many years, to 1997. I'd just graduated from college, and was living in Seattle. I got an invitation to Kjersten's wedding. I was pleased she still thought of me, and gladly attended. I was late for the majority of the service, probably because of traffic. She got married in Bellevue, which from Seattle might as well be divided by a stream of lava at some times of day, traffic can be so bad. But I was there for the recessional, and the reception afterwards. Of course, it was nearly impossible to get near her or the groom (who I didn't know), but I got enough face time to say congratulations and give her a hug.
Practically speaking, that's the last time I saw Kjersten Oquist. About 4 years ago, I got a note from her, passed by my mom, that she'd like to hear from me, accompanied by a phone number. Perhaps a year later, I finally tried calling the number, but it rang with no answer, and I put it in the back of my mind to try later.
Of course, now it's too late. I don't feel too bad about that, we chose our separate paths, and I don't think she felt neglected by my lack of contact (I didn't feel neglected by hers). I was pleased to know that she was working with my mom, and I'd hear of occasional sightings as they passed at rehearsals. As has happened with many people in my life, she drifted out of it, but I was still happy to know that she was around. Now, obviously, that happiness has drained away.
When I read the article, it had been forwarded to me by my mom, with the simple title "Bad news multiplies." I read through the headline, thinking one of her orchestra companions (largely unknown to me) had passed away -- some of the players in orchestras can be quite elderly, and indeed that's sometimes how new players get openings to join orchestras.
When I read the first paragraph or two though, a little chill came over me, and when I read Kjersten's name, I felt a physical shock, like I imagine it would feel if a ghost flew through you (see the Harry Potter movies). The conference call I was on became so much buzzing in the background as I read through the details of the article.
So, a little bit too late, but, thank you Kjersten, for helping me get through the morass which was secondary education. I am very happy to have had you as a friend. I hope that, whatever happens after this life, it's pleasant for you; you deserve it. Fare well.
|Comments:||I don't remember when I first met Kjersten. I was 1 year ahead of her at Woodinville High School, and we both played viola in the school orchestra. I always admired her skill and passion for music.
After I graduated, I lost touch with my high school classmates. But about 6 years ago, I saw Kjersten again, thanks to a mutual friend whose daughter was one of Kjersten's students. We caught up with each other's lives and through her, I was reconnected with some other high school friends. I wish that I had stayed in touch with Kjersten after that and gotten to know her again.
|Comments:||Angela and I played often for each other as we prepared for various auditions and performances. She was tenacious in pursuing her dreams, one of which was to play with the Oregon Symphony. I'll always remember how thrilled she was to get to sub with us for the first time, especially when things bug me at work.
She was dogged in her determination to do whatever it took to improve her playing. She was pure spirit, grit, passion, love, all rolled into one gracious, positive, winning human being.
I knew Kjersten less well, but always knew that with her and Angela, you always knew that they were always approachable; they were grateful, humble artists who were always positive.
It's just too soon for me to be able to get my mind around this awful new reality. Cascade Festival just won't be the same without Angela's Mary Kay table backstage. I think that's the most impressive thing about Angela and Kjersten; that no matter how badly they wanted to be professional players, they never let that distract them from how they treated people.
God have mercy on the poor wretch that destroyed these lives; it's certainly more mercy than I can muster right now.
Angela Svendsen taking a bow with the Eugene Symphony.
photo courtesy of the Eugene Symphony.
|Comments:||I just can't believe that Angela is gone. I have so much to share and tell her. I spent all Saturday with her, she and I chatting inbetween student performances in the back of the classroom while watching our students perform at Solo and Ensemble Festival. When I found out this tragedy on Monday I was inbetween my two teaching locations in Vancouver. I was devastated! I didn't know how I was going to face her many private violin students in my afternoon classes. It was a heavy day! I've known Angela since her first days in Vancouver- she came to me at the School of the Arts so excited about starting a private violin studio. She was fresh and right out of college. That's my initial relationship with Angela. She had her resume, business cards, and her calendar with her so she could schedule when she could meet all the students. I knew, right from the beginning, that she was meant and designed for teaching others the gift of violin and music. I have to tell you that Angela gave up much of herself for her students! She absolutely loved the world she lived in when she was able to problem solve or help a young budding student in her home. The students that Angela touched are so lucky to have known her- I am so grateful to have known Angela. She was not only my right-arm in helping build a string orchestra program in Vancouver, but a terrific colleague and friend. I have to say that my classroom environment is not the same right now- Angela's absence has devastated our music-making for the moment. I have a hard time knowing what to tell my students, they are sad and wishing that Angela would walk into the classroom at any moment. Many do not know the impact Angela had on the Vancouver Community- she was my number one teacher! Angela chaperoned for overnighters with me, she assisted with West-Side Story, she helped coach young chamber ensembles, and much, much, more! More than anything.... She touched the lives of some very young people who will forever remember her. I don't honestly know what I am going to do without Angela! I guess time will heal. Just yetserday, one of our joint students came to me and said, "I don't have my teacher anymore, what am I going to do?" With children, it will take time and understanding. I feel for Angela's husband, Eric. He is such a sweet man- holding strong at the current time. I realize Angela was a beautiful violin player, but I knew her most as an amazing teacher that did more than teach kids notes and rhythms, she was their guide and friend. On the side- I was hoping to order another lipstick from her too.
I didn't get to know Kirsten like I knew Angela. I am saddened for her family. Kirsten was super efficient and a solid musician. She was definitely an "in-command" kind of gal. I appreciated all her hard work. She will be missed- I do not look forward to the first rehearsal in the "pit" when Kirsten isn't taking her last sip of Coke from a pink straw to get in her seat on time.
These two woman are amazing- I will miss them greatly!!!
|Comments:||Kjersten and Angela. You will be missed! My heart goes out to Kjersten's and Angela's husbands and their families. May the Lord comfort you as only he can.
I will remember Kjersten, who often played with the OSO, not only as a talented musician but as a kind and caring person. Also, I was always impressed by her professionalism and wit. To her husband and family, my deepest condolences.
Angela was such a bright and cheerful soul. I am sad that I did not get the opportunity to work with her more often. But the time I did get to know her was a joy and a blessing. She had such a bright and beautiful smile that automatically cheered you. I know that she was a terfific teacher, and her students will miss her terribly. My deepest condolances to Angela's husband and family.
I will miss you both.
|Comments:||To the families of Kjersten and Angela, I express my deepest sorrow at our loss of these two beautiful women, and may you feel comfort in knowing how they were loved by so many.
Kjersten and I were colleagues in the freelance world, sharing stories, wishes, hopes, sorrows, and a stand in the ballet orchestra for the last few years. She was a wonderful viola player and always wished to win that position as Assistant Principal Viola in the orchestra. Kjersten always greeted me with a joyful smile and was a very caring musician and woman. She was so very devoted to her husband and son ,and we often shared words of wisdom back and forth about raising a teenager. She was a tremendously hard worker; taking care of the ballet music, and dealing with situations as they arose in a graceful and humorous way. Her coke can would be waiting for her to grab a sip as she sat back down. My colleague and friend, you will be missed in my life forever. The tulip bulb you gave me for Christmas is waiting to break the surface and bloom...I thank you for that precious bulb.
Angela I did not know well.........but shall always remember her sitting across from me in the ballet orchestra with her beautiful smile and her sense of grace and beauty in her choice of clothing and shoes for that day. She was a strong and beautiful violin player, and I was often impressed by her ability to sit Assistant Concertmaster in the ballet orchestra and do such a great job. Angela lived her life with great care and integrity. I am certain she was a fabulous violin teacher and may her love of music remain in the hearts of those she touched.
|Comments:||While I did not know Kjersten and Angela in person, the news of their tragic deaths still has touched me greatly. I am a musician myself (even started learning violin a few years ago at age 27), and I lived in the Portland area for seven years. Any deaths caused by the foolishness of a drunken driver are, of course, tragic. But to have those who were killed be classical symphony musicians is just horrendous and devestating. My thoughts are with their friends and family, and the students of these two musicians as well.
--Jamie Puffer, Alto Section Leader, Madison Symphony Chorus; Mezzo-Soprano, Madison Opera
|Comments:||I am a Board member of the Ernest Bloch Music Festival and the Newport Symphony. I did not know either of these young women, although Kjersten played in the Bloch Festival Orchestra last summer. I just wanted to send the Newport Symphony's deepest, deepest sympathies to all who knew these musicians, especially to the board and musicians of the Eugene Symphony. Their deaths have saddened the entire circle of musicians and others involved in the arts in Oregon. Many of the Newport Symphony's musicians commute from a distance to grace our community with their talent - please drive safely, all, and know that we appreciate what you do.|
|Comments:||I watched the lovely young blond open her violin case. It was filled with the familiar photos, programs and stickers. (As a pianist I've always envied the instrumentalists ability to carry their lives with them.) She proceeded to work with her young students before they went in to play for possibly their first solo/ensemble. She laughed with them, hugged them and gave them many smiles. I enjoyed watching this lovely young woman in her beautiful lavender suit with the very high gorgeous alligator lavender shoes. She made a huge impression on me that I won't soon forget. I am extremely saddened to find out she was the newest member of Clark County Music Teachers Association and I had not had the privilege to get to know her. My prayers go out to the many friends, colleagues,students and families of Angela and Kjersten. They were loved by many and will never be forgotten.|
|Comments:||I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that has shown me and my family so much support during this terrible time. This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to go through, but the caring I have received has made it that much less difficult to bear.
Thank you very much for sharing your stories about Angela with me and everyone.
|Comments:||Bruce Fife, Wendy West and I spent Monday in the musicians' union office in a state of shock and sadness. And then anger. The lives of two young and vital members of our community cut suddenly short by something so unnecessary and ugly as a car crash. And a third member remaining to search for the answer to the unanswerable question that follows any survivor of such a horrible tragedy. And a musical community left to deal with the loss.
Their musicianship was well-known. But not many know how much Kjersten and Angela contributed to the world of music behind the scenes, and how much they will be missed at Local 99.
Angela stepped up to guide the OBT orchestra committee for the past few years, when few others were willing to take on the unpopular work. When you're on an orchestra committee, you get praise for the good you do, criticism for the good you do, and indifference for the good you do. No matter to Angela, who wore her committee membership (and chairmanship) with the same confidence with which she played her violin, and with which she chose her shoes and concert gowns. If it needed to be done, she would get it done, even if no one else was there to help. If it needed to be said, she didn't shrink from saying it. And if it needed to be fixed, she would work for the quickest, most direct solution. If it was going to come with a lot of drippy emotional baggage, she would have none of it. For her, it seemed to me always that the good result was the most important, and that there was nothing to be gained by taking on the small human dramas that so often plague group deliberations. Bruce and I worked with Angela on the last two OBT contract negotiations. Her quick, clean and simple approach to the process was a breath of fresh air, her humor was a welcome relief, her willingness to call Bruce and me on our own failings when we needed most to hear it, and her dedication to the work proved a valuable asset for both of us, and we will miss her very much.
Kjersten volunteered to join the board of the Music Education Assistance Project (MEAP) in 2005. MEAP is Local 99's little non-profit that funds private lessons for talented-but-financially-strapped public school music students. MEAP's biggest challenge has always been fundraising to meet the needs of the kids it supports. Kjersten walked in to her first meeting and immediately set forth a bunch of ideas on how MEAP could increase public awareness and donations. And then she volunteered to work on implementing her own ideas. Her energy and fresh persepctive was infectuous, and impelled MEAP's whole board to redouble its collective efforts. Result: 2005 and 2006 were MEAP's best fundraising years to date. Because a person like Kjersten, with nothing to gain for herself, already very busy in many other aspects of her life, stepped in and said, "Hey, we can *do* this!" And made it so. We need more of that kind of spirit in this world. I wish we still had hers.
|Comments:||I went to college with Angela at CWU, and was one of the many musicians who played for her wedding. Angela was a beautiful person, inside and out. She was so enthusiastic, so full of life . . . She still continues to be an inspiration to me. I will definitely miss her!|
|Comments:||I'm Angels's father-in-law, and I just wanted to second Erik's thanks for the stories and tributes everyone has shared about Angela. The support our family has received has been incredible, and is much appreciated.
It's hard for me to remember a time when I didn't know Angela; I don't think I ever met anyone so completely alive.
There's a line from the Legend of Provence that for me sums up Angela's gift to all of us - of being, for a brief time, a shining example of what's possible...
"No star is ever lost we once have seen, We always may be what we might have been."
|Comments:||Kj – am so glad that we had a nice time last weekend at your Superbowl party. Snacks and the Cokes were delicious – and just sitting, doing the gossip, and chatting about silly girl stuff couldn’t have been better.
I thank you for your advice – and sharing with me many a phone call regarding help in finding subs for VSO.
I thank you for your playing – you were great to work with Ruslan, you saved my butt more times than I can remember with VSO, and it was always fun to play with Aurora.
I thank you for your attempts at matchmaking – I still remember you telling a certain boy that “you can’t wait too long to call” and sure enough he did.
I thank you for including me in a few of your Eugene trips – sure was fun to see Alan Parsons and am so glad we went together.
I thank you for being a bright part of my life and for being my friend.
Can’t believe you’re gone, but I know that you’re already busy taking care of business and running the show. Will expect the next time I see you that you’ve got a great orchestra up and making money! (playing lots of Brahms please, and some Shostakovich, for you know who…)
Stay happy - you know, you can take a vacation now and then…and I’ll do my best to keep it going, down my way.
We miss you.
p.s. – thought of you and Shauna at my very first viola gig last Sunday – didn’t do too bad, although there were a few wrong notes, and who would guess my 4th finger could be so flat, like, all the time?
|Comments:||Like Ken Shirk, I knew Kjersten mainly through meetings at the musicians union, but occasionally elsewhere. She was always full of energy, lively, a complete spark of life, and I always enjoyed her company, and her kindness. I am shocked and hurt, like the rest of you, at her and Angela's untimely passing.
The last time I saw Kjersten was a serendipitous lark--I was doing political canvassing for a candidate and friend of mine who was running for the state Legislature out in the East County area. One night, at the very end of my canvassing, I looked on my walking list, and there was Kjersten's familiar name at the next address, along with her husband's. I surprised them at their door, and we chatted about politics, and what we were each up to, and it was as lively as it always is with Kjersten. I am grateful for having met Collier, her husband, that evening. Of course, we chatted past "quitting time" for my canvassing, and I got back to the office late, but I wouldn't have changed it then or now.
Kjersten will be sorely missed, for a long time, and my prayers are out for her, Collier, her son Christopher.
I did not know Angela, but it is clear that she will be missed just as much, and my prayers go to her loved ones, too.
|Comments:||Though I did not know Kjersten and Angela well, I am grateful for all they gave of themselves to this very heartbroken music community.
...My thoughts and prayers are with Kelly and her family today. May you find strength and comfort in the people around you who love you so much.
Kjersten and the her viola section mates in the pit at Oregon Ballet Theater, 2001 and 2002.
|Comments:||I had the pleasure of being Kjerstens stand partner in the VSO for a year. I will always have fond memories of that year as Kjersten helped me become a better musician. This girl didnt stop! The VSO became a better orchestra because of her and I will always be grateful for the time we shared. Next weeks rehearsals with VSO will be tough, but the show must go on and Kjersten wouldnt have it any other way. She was going to sub with us for this concert and we will all be thinking of her.
Gone, but never forgotten!
It was such a shock to read about the tragedy that struck Angela and Kjersten. My thoughts and sympathies go out to their families and musical community for this incredible and sudden loss.
I sat in Angela's section, the 2nd violin section, of the Eugene Symphony last season. I always wondered how she was able to be so on top of things after having to drive 4 hours night after night on top of her busy teaching schedule. She always was solid, really well prepared and positive no matter what. Besides that she kept the 2nd's morale on high with lively conversation with every member of the section. Her pumpkin cookies that she would bring every once in a while were great too!
Kjersten was often conversational, and once when I was warming up before rehearsal she cracked that only dogs could hear what I was playing. That's a violin joke for you.
They will be missed.
|Comments:||Although I haven't been in touch with Kjersten or Angela for a number of years, I was stunned and saddened by this tragedy. I have fond memories of teaching Angela, who was particularly determined to improve her spiccato. She succeeded in that, and much more! My deepest sympathy goes out to the families and friends of these lovely young women.|
|Comments:||I first met Angela in high school, when we roomed with the same host family at an All-State festival in Tacoma. I was immediately impressed with her passion for music and her thorough professionalism, even at that age. When we were in college together at CWU, she became one of my favorite chamber music partners. I'll never forget rehearsing the Mozart flute quartets with her at 7:30 in the morning, because that was the only time we could find to rehearse. And while I and the other musicians straggled in, barely making it on time, Angela had already been there for a half-hour warming up! She was the consummate professional, wanting to sound her best no matter what the circumstances.
Angela not only knew the right thing to say, but also when to say it. On one particular orchestra concert in which she was concertmaster, I had a flute solo to play that featured a difficult final note. As the concert neared, I was becoming more apprehensive about it, until Angela approached me at the dress rehearsal and said, "You know, I love the way you play that solo because I never have a doubt in my mind that the last note is going to be anything less than absolutely beautiful." Not only the way she said it, but WHEN she said it, gave me the confidence to play my best that night. I'll never be able to play that solo again without thinking of her.
Thank you, Angela and Kjersten, for touching profoundly the lives of so many around you. My thoughts and prayers are with your husbands and families during this trying time.
|Comments:||I am Kjersten's sister-in-law. Like Angela's husband and father-in-law, I want to thank you for all these memories. It's comforting to know that others saw the great things about Kj, just as we did. She loved what she did, and pushed herself to be better--tendinitis be damned! But she was kind and funny and bright and we will all miss her. Thank you for showing me how loved she was in her profession.|
|Comments:||this is one of the hardest things I've ever had to write...I am so heart-broken by the news of this tragedy. These two wonderful people had their lives cut short by the horrible act of that drunk-driving murderer. My deepest sympathies go out to Angela and Kjersten's families, friends, students and everyone else who had the good fortune of knowing them. My heart also goes out to Kelly and her family during this nightmare. I hope that she finds comfort knowing that so many people are thinking of her.
I played in many groups with Angela and Kjersten, but my fondest memories are of the hours and hours spent carpooling with them to Eugene and back. Laughing the whole time about absolutely everything, listening and singing along to hilarious mix cds that we made, discussing that night's rehearsal, snacking on edamame/apple slices and everything else that was in Angela's HUGE lunchbox. I have so many stories that I could share, but I don't know where to start. What I do know is that I will miss Angela's smile and her laugh (which were constant) and Kjersten's "sassy-ness," as someone else put it.
I'm a firm believer that good can come out of the most horrific events----I hope that along with sharing our memories of Angela and Kjersten we can also educate people so we may prevent other senseless tragedies.
I love and miss you both. Rest in Peace.
|Comments:||photos courtesy of blayne barnes:
|Comments:||I don't remember the exact date, but it was sometime last spring that I first met Angela. The Oregon Symphony chartered a bus to Baker City for its annual community music partnership tour. Angela and I were both on it. A few hours into the ride, I walked up to the front of the bus to ask the driver a question. On the way back I passed some people making a fuss about something. Someone was trying on a black wool hat. Angela had just finished knitting it, and people were passing it around, each taking a turn posing in it. Eventually the hat ended up on my head. "Looks good on you, " Angela said. "Thanks," I answered. "How much to make me one as well?" She smiled. This was my first interaction with Angela.
We exchanged small talk throughout the tour. There was something so sincere and upbeat about the way she interacted with people. She was quickly becoming the kind of colleague we all look forward to running into.
After the trip we all returned to our familiar routines. Baker City memories were soon relegated to the "tours" file in the brain. The Oregon Symphony season was winding to a close, and my mind was focused on summer plans. I got home from a rehearsal one day to find a manila envelope at my door. "Strange," I thought. I wasn't expecting anything. I picked it up and saw Angela's name on it. I opened it and stood there in disbelief. Angela had knitted me a black hat just like the one on the bus. I called her right away to say thank you...I got her voicemail.
I never saw or spoke to Angela after the tour. I was sitting on the stage of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with all of my OSO colleagues when Peter Moore broke the news to us the other day. I just sat there. Thoughts of the tour, the bus, the high school gym, the hat, and of course Angela herself, raced through my mind.
I frequently drive up to Mt. Hood to ski. Next time I go, I'll be wearing Angela's wool hat. Thanks Angela. Thanks for being the kind of person who keeps warm the ears of someone you hardly knew.
|Comments:||My heartfelt condolences to the families, students, and colleagues of Kjersten and Angela.
Kjersten was utterly committed at all her wedding gigs. That exasperated look I got when I didn't see her left foot rise, indicating "stop at the next cadence," said how much she truly wanted to please the folks who hired us musicians - it may have been "another gig" but never one to be portrayed as such! Driving back to Portland with Kjersten afterward, she would always have kind words and astonishingly frank advice. What a genuinely sweet-hearted young woman.
Angela was always a welcome bright spot at OBT. I did not get to perform close to her but her 110% energy was shining way across the pit. It is most pleasing to read how well involved she had become in representing her fellow musicians. Hanging out by the stairs at break with both her and Kjersten contained many a hearty laugh.
|Comments:||It helped me to write this some years ago after a family tragedy. I hope it may help some of you to read it. I post it in loving memory of Angela and Kjersten, remembering that they are still with me in my heart.
CELEBRATION OF THE SOUL
The mysteries of God’s great plan
for each of us are hard to know.
We spend our lives in search for truths,
from every Spring to every snow,
asking why what is,
and knowing we might never know.
But past the mind and through the heart
we find the soul, the very part that God,
in all his wisdom, feels
is that which speaks to us
about what’s real -
and what is not.
About the truths of why we’re here,
though lives may only last a year,
The soft caress of souls made flesh
is only but one way to touch
each other, as God wills,
so that the earthly ills
that seem to come
when least we think they should,
are softened by the bonded-link
of family and friends and kin.
Each link so strong that
even only touching once,
two souls connect and make the chain
one linkage longer. Grief nor pain
defeats that link and all it holds.
It’s influence upon us molds
the lives we lead and how we see
our earthbound, small reality.
For long unto the mists of time
the bonds we form when we touch life:
the bonds a husband forms with wife -
or wife with child, or child with brother,
the bonds we form when, in our space,
arrives another of our race,
or even when we touch a plant
or any living thing, we can’t
deny the knowing that we feel
the bond of souls,
so very real.
And every touch, however brief, of life
doth give our souls relief and cheer,
to know that others know our souls. Our fear
of death is superseded, year by year,
as ever clearer is our sense
that souls we’ve touched are recompense
for earthbound pain.
That all the gain of wealth or place
have little meaning. Only by the grace
of God are souls made flesh so that we might,
in hopeful morn’ or mournful night,
complete these bonds, these bonds of soul,
these bonds which make frail humans whole,
and transcend time, as well as space,
and help us see God’s loving face.
And so we celebrate the soul:
the only source of truth and love;
the vehicle which God above hath given us,
to let us touch each other
in wondrous ways
which words nor time can measure,
which joins us to his plan,
though often, in that we are man,
we know both pain and pleasure.
The greatest truth which we can know,
no matter how we think,
is this (perhaps our truest goal):
that found in touch of soul to soul,
no matter toll,
is our eternal link.
|Comments:||It's now Friday, and I still can't understand or really acknowledge that this tragedy happened. My heart, thoughts, and best wishes go out to Angela's and Kjersten's families. Both were smart, beautiful women, and fantastic musicians. I had great respect for both because of their wonderful attitudes. The life of a freelance musician is not easy, and I can't remember ever seeing them in bad moods. They will forever be a source of inspiration...|
|Comments:||I first knew Kjersten when she was a high school student, playing in the Woodinville High School orchestra with my son, Ian (see his remembrance elsewhere in this Dreambook). Kjersten was a shining light, always with a smile for everyone. I was surprised and delighted when she and I turned up together, later in Portland, playing various free lance gigs, including first (and most recently) Sinfonia Concertante Orchestra. She was the talented player who was the fulfillment of the promise we saw in high school. I enjoyed hearing her talk about her loves -- Collier and Chris. She still always had a smile for everyone, and she will be very sorely missed.|
|Comments:||It is utterly heartbreaking to lose two such lovely young women in the prime of their lives. The tragedy was both completely unnecessary and shockingly unbelievable. While I did not know Angela, I did many times have the total pleasure of "working" with Kjersten. It was always great to see her and to hear her music. Her utter competence and non-stop smile always made even the worst gig bearable. For that I thank her, and I will always treasure her memory. My condolences go out to Collier, Erik, and the children. Rest in peace dear Kjersten and Angela, and forever enjoy leading the sections in your Heavenly Orchestra.|
|Comments:||I've known angela since the first year she moved here. We've gigged together on and off ever since. We've played on the street together, I've helped at a few of her recitals, and we go out to lunch at least once every 2 months. in fact, we were supposed to go out this week or the next to celebrate our birthdays.
The most current memories are those of the carpool rides to eugene. I think angela and I pooled together for 5 years. I think Kjersten and Kelly were in the pool at least 2 of those years. like blayne, I remember the snacks, the wacky angela mixes and laughing. One night, I can't remember who was all in the car with us, but Angela and I tried to sing all the suzuki books. we got up to the Bach Double but it kinda crashed and burned halfway through. we had so much fun on the drives.
Angela was totally devoted to music. She loved teaching and loved her students. She also loved her job playing in Eugene. She did an awesome job. She once confided in me that she thought rhythm was one of her weakest things, but you'd never know it when she'd lead her section. Her rhythm was great. I remember when we did Rite of Spring, she had a copy of the score that she had studied! talk about being prepared!
Most of all, though, Angela was my friend. I will miss her. As I look around in my studio, I actually see the influence of Angela all around - from music she's given me, favorite books we've read and discussed, to photos I have of her in my case, to techniques and tricks we've shared about teaching.
Angela, you went way too soon.
|Comments:||As I write this, I am listening on the radio to Mozart’s Symphonie Concertante for Violin and Viola, a piece requested by a listener in remembrance of Kjersten and Angela. This is one of many tributes paid by so many people in Eugene mourning the loss of our beloved and respected Eugene Symphony Principals.
My wife and I had the unique honor to pay tribute to Angela and Kjersten twofold last night, as I played with the ESO and my wife, Amy, played with the Portland Opera—both performances dedicated to Angela and Kjersten. Their lives impacted so many.
I will miss Kjersten’s smile, and her leadership. I will miss our always amiable quibbling over bowings during rehearsals. I will always remember her beautiful solo in “There’s a Place for Us” in Berstein’s West Side Story, and her perfectly annoying “dog barking” in Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
I will miss Angela’s radiant optimism, leadership and her unforgettable fashion and glamour. I will always remember her beautiful “bird calls” in Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and what a “tour-de-force” she was in leading her section through Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a piece she dearly loved.
I am a better person to have known and worked with these amazing women.
|Comments:||I am mourning the loss of Kjersten and Angela about 2500 miles away.
I met Angela at the section violin audition for the Oregon Symphony last April. While waiting between rounds we talked. It turns out that we had participated in several high school music festivals. I am a graduate of Seattle's Garfield HS and also a graduate of Western Washington University. I was so excited that Angela, like me graduated from a similar program, Central Washington, a good solid strings program, but one where you don't see many music graduates taking national auditions.
She was curious about why I moved to the South to perform professionally and how I had many performances but not as many students. I told her that I was envious that she had so many students. While I have over sixty performances a year, I would love to have more students. Angela was very sucessful as freelance musician as well as a music teacher, given the cutthroat competition in the Northwest.
I wish that I had gotten to know her better and have met Kjersten.
I have said several prayers for the families involved and that they are with God.
Member of Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra and Ohio Light Opera
|Comments:||I am Angela's step mother-in-law. We have been reading your entries through tears, sobs, warmth and the occasional giggle. She and I were more sisters and pals, than in-laws. I know so much of all of you from her gushing praise. I find comfort in knowing that you don't talk a person who's soul longs to climb mountains into staying safe and warm in the cabin.
Not only do we have a huge hole in our hearts, but the world has a huge hole in it. Please continue to shine and attempt to fill that abyss.
|Comments:||I haven't talked to Angela since high school, but I can still hear her voice and her giggle and see her sitting in her chair in our school orchestra, kicking her feet back and forth. She was always so incredibly sweet to me and I really looked up to her.
My heart aches for those of you who knew her better. May God comfort you and help you through this loss.
I miss you, Angela.
|Name:||Ian Harris ( age 11 )|
|Comments:||Kjersten was very dear to me and she always loved my piano playing. I admire her today and respect her. I met her in Coos Bay at the Oregon Coast Music Festival. My mom and I were very good friends of hers. I wrote a song on February 13, 2007 for her. It is called "Scream at The Top of My Lungs". Kjersten was very funny and a very good violist. I know that she is going to heaven.
I didn't know Angela but I know tht she will go to heaven also.
|Name:||Rodica Filipoi Jeffrey|
|Comments:||Angela epitomizes to me someone who adopted the community where she chose to live and made every effort to contribute to it not only as a professional musician but also as a person. I have always admired and respected her for that. She took tremendous pride in the positions she held with notable ensembles here in the area, and worked hard to be a leader in them. As a violin teacher and performer, Angela created a career that had integrity, substance, value, and artistic satisfaction. As a result, her life seemed to be brimming over with the richness of many intangible rewards.
The musical community feels such a loss right now, in part because our profession is such a personal thing, and it draws us together as a family. It is especially sad to see two friends gone before their full potential was realized. Angela seemed to truly enjoy everything she was involved in; she had such a great energy and positive attitude, and was lots of fun to be around. Not that she didnâ€™t get frustrated at times, but any slight grumbling would be mixed in with cracking a joke. I will think of her often, and am inspired by her ambition, tenacity, and dedication.
I wish she and I could continue on our musical paths as friends, and perform together in an ensemble again. There are countless things I will miss, like Angela's winks across the violin section, or her awesome trick where her eyebrows raced up and down along with that knowing "can-you-believe-that-just-happened-in-rehearsal?" look, and the grin that came along with it. I will miss the surprise candies and goodies, tied with a ribbon, which came in my neat little bag of Mary Kay purchases. I will also miss watching her make superhuman use of her time, writing cards during Nutcracker concert breaks. I carpooled with Angela to a few Eugene Symphony rehearsals in 2005, and from those rides I have a mental snapshot image that makes me smile. On her car dashboard were two objects that stood out to me: A pink frilly cell phone holder in the shape of (what else!?!) a high-heeled shoe. Right next to it, a small, oddly funny 3-inch tall skeleton-mariachi-violinist-man. Only Angela could pull off that combination. Thank you, Angela, for being a great friend and for your sparkling personality. I miss you, and wish I hadn't taken for granted that you would pick up the phone the next time I called to catch up.
Kjersten, I didnâ€™t know you as well as I would have liked. Reading the tributes and learning about your life makes me wish even more that I had had the chance.
My thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the husbands, families and friends of Angela and Kjersten. And to Kelly in this difficult time, I send my love and support. My thoughts are with you.
|Name:||Tammy (Rotz) Meredith|
|Comments:||I was blessed to have worked, taught, played, and lived with Angela while we were students at CWU. Her passion for life was infectious--I always felt honored to be included in her circle of friends. Some of my fondest memories of undergrad include our late nights--downing pizza, watching Beavis and Butthead, and attempting to reduce portions of the Mozart Requiem to "3-2-1" in protest of our Schenkerian Analysis class. She was as devoted to her students as they were enamored of her, and as concert master of the CWU orchestra she both inspired and entertained.
To both Angela and Kjersten's families--our prayers are with you all.
|Comments:||Though Angela's obituary has run in the Columbian, the Oregonian hasn't yet published it, so I thought that those of you in Oregon should know the schedule for her memorial.
It will be held Sunday, February 25th at 1:00 PM at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, located at 3101 Main, Vancouver, Washington. Take the 4th Plain exit off of I-5 North, go left on Fourth Plain to Main, and right on Main to the school There will be overflow parking available at the church next door after 12:30.
We look forward to seeing you all & helping us to remember Angela.
|Comments:||Our deep sympathy and condolences go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Angela and Kjersten. It is lovely to read all the comments and get a full picture of the impact these two young woman had on their communities.
Our daughter, age 15, has been one of Angela's students for the last few years. One could not have asked for a better private teacher for a teenage girl musician. Angela was disciplined and professional yet full of wit and comeraderie with her students. She was a fabulous role model. That kind of teacher-student relationship will not be easy to duplicate or replace. We don't know what to do now.
I can still hear Angela's voice; "Sweet!", "Awesome work!" to our daughter, as I sat in her living room with her three little dogs. We were also one of her Mary Kay experiments, and our daughter would make beaded earrings for her.
In addition to helping our daughter in Solo Ensemble and school performances, Angela would come to our Irish ceili dances in Vancouver and play along with the ceili musicians when her schedule permitted. We had been planning an Irish Fiddle workshop for later this spring, with Angela teaching.
Oh, Angela, you will be so missed.
|Comments:||Here is the obituary from the Columbian:
SVENDSEN, ANGELA JOYCE
Angela Joyce Svendsen, 31, passed away February 11, 2007. She was born January 28, 1976 in Bellevue, WA, to Gordon and Kathy Schuster. Angela was an extremely devoted wife, daughter, sister, and friend. As a violin teacher, Angela loved her students and drew limitless pride at watching them grow into accomplished musicians and people. She also enjoyed her time in the Eugene Symphony and the Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra. She is deeply loved and admired and will be truly missed by all who knew her. She is survived by her husband, Erik, and her three cherished pupplies- Johan, Dante, and Ren. Other family members include brothers, Bryan and Joshua and sister, Rebecca; brothers-in-law, Carl, Christopher, and Aaron; Sister-in-law, Brandis and nephew, Nick; father and mother, Gordon and Kathy; fathers-in-law, Bill and Scott, and mothers-in-law, Teri and Sue. A Celebration of Life will be held February 25, 2007, 1:00pm, at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics in Vancouver, WA. Anyone who feels moved to do so, please bring your violin and accompany us in the playing of "Twinkle". Donations may be made to: "Angela Svendsen Memorial Scholarship Fund" at Riverview Community Bank.
Published in the Columbian on 02/15/2007
|Comments:||Nearly every significant adolescent memory of mine is somehow intertwined with Kjersten, and her loss is difficult to believe. We both began playing violin in the fourth grade together, grew up attending the same classes, the same music groups, the same group of friends, from grade school through high school graduation and a little bit beyond. We both enjoyed a good competition and challenge, whether it was a better chair in the orchestra, a better grade in class, a more clever one-liner - and since we shared so many of the same classes, we often were competing against eachother. Throughout, we kept a good sense of humor, and had a good friendship.
After high school, we each went our different ways. I would hear about Kjersten through newspaper articles, on symphony rosters, and through mutual friends. I admire Kjersten for making music her life. She was so talented in so many ways. The fact that she chose music as her profession and life over more lucrative and easier careers, says a lot about her. She stayed true to her love.
A musical performance lasts but a few minutes, yet touches the soul and spirit of all who took the time to listen and participate. The final chord resonates through the hall, and the echo eventually comes to an end, but the memory written on our spirit and soul by the performance is never lost or forgotten.
Thank you Kjersten for performing so well. I am thankful I took the time to listen to and participate in part of your life, and I thank you for having been a part of mine. You are remembered well.
|Comments:||I did not know Kjersten or Angela, but as an ex-violist who grew up in Portland, playing in the Portland Junior Symphony, now working as a physician at Sacred Heart in Eugene, this tragic story touched me very deeply. Reading in the Oregonian about the tribute at the ESO concert this week brought tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to all of the fellow musicians, students, friends, and family members of these two talented, beautiful, and strong women suddenly taken in the prime of life.|
|Comments:||I write this through tears after having read all the beautiful and touching tributes everyone else posted. I am completely at a loss over this tragedy. I am so far away from Portland at the moment, and yet feel the sorrow and the gaping hole left in the musical community very deeply, even from this distance.
Kjersten and Angela were such bright, friendly people. I cannot believe that I will not run into them at David Kerr, or at the next audition, or at VSO rehearsal, or anywhere. I saw Kjersten most recently at my Holiday Party and she was so warm and genuine and funny. I finally got to meet Collier, and looked forward to getting to know both of them better the next time I was settled in Portland for awhile. This news came as such a shock, and as everyone is, I am dealing with it slowly. My heart goes out to their families and friends- to their students and other colleagues. Although with Kjersten and Anglela, I think colleague and friend are one and the same. As we all deal with this loss and thoughts of our beloved friends float through our minds at strange times, I wanted to share one that made me smile through the pain... I was playing "The Beautiful Blue Danube" Waltz on tour in some tiny town in Canada this past week, and I thought "at least Kjersten and Angela will never have to play this annoying waltz rhythm again!"
An Irish Blessing
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
The sunshine warm upon your face
The wind fall soft upon your skin
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand
May the Lord bless you and keep you
May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you
And give you peace
|Comments:||I met Kjersten and her family 5 years ago through business services provided to Aurora Strings. I then was also able to provide Real Estae services to Kjersten and Collier to sell their home and get them into their new home.
Kjersten was very great to work with and always amazed me how she was able to be so good at what she did and so involved. Music was her life yet her family was so important to her. I was shocked, saddened Monday when I found out about this horrific event. Kjersten, Collier and Chris were so close and I can only imagine the pain they are going through. My prayers are with them at this time of grief.
|Comments:|| February 13, 2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I learned the horrible news today that the music world has lost two
great musicians and friends, Angela Svendsen and Kjersten Oquist. I
cannot imagine how devastating this loss must be not only for their
families but also for all of you, their orchestra family. Please know
that we here in Michigan are thinking of all of you and sending our
deepest sympathies. May the music that you make this season in Portland
be a celebration of the lives of your dear friends, Angela and Kjersten.
Principal Viola, Ann Arbor Symphony
Vice President, ROPA
The Knoxville Symphony is so sorry for your tragic loss. Please give our
heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Angela and Kjersten, and to the Portland community. Our thoughts are with all of you as you attempt to cope with such a profound loss. Knoxville, Tennessee
On behalf of the members of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, I extend our heartfelt condolences on the loss of Kjersten and Angela. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Minneapolis, Minnesota
On behalf of the musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony, please accept our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers go out you and the families at this tragic time. Grand Rapids, Michigan
The musicians of the Huntsville Symphony wish to extend our deepest sympathy following the deaths of Angela and Kjersten. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Huntsville, Alabama
The musicians of the Palm Beach Opera send their deepest sympathy in your time of grieving. May the music you continue to create be imbued with the spirit of Kjersten and Angela. Palm Beach, Florida
The musicians of the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra wish to express their heartfelt sympathy and prayers in light of this senseless tragedy. We mourn this terrible loss to
pray that you may find comfort in this time of grief.
We always get angry when we hear about an accident involving a drunk driver, but this one involving fellow musicians is especially tragic.
We in the Hartford Symphony feel so sorry about the whole situation and extend our sympathy to the orchestra and to the families of Angela and Kjersten. Hartford, Connecticut
Please accept the heartfelt sympathy of the musicians of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra and Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra. Musician colleagues aren't just co-workers: they're also friends who share something more profound than just a workplace. We know you are all devastated by this loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and their families. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
On behalf of the Hartford Symphony, I send condolences. Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers. We are so sorry that you've lost two members of your orchestra family so tragically. Hartford, Connecticut
On behalf of the members of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra "family", we are so sorry for the loss of two of the members of your orchestra! We understand how such a thing affects the group as a whole as we are a close-knit group of people! Please express our condolences to your orchestra from their friends in the south! Jackson, Mississippi
Your news has shocked us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. The loss of your colleagues is a loss to us all. Arizona Opera Orchestra.
Please accept the heartfelt condolences of the members of the Long Island Philharmonic, New York
Our deepest sympathies to you all for the terrible loss of Angela and Kjersten. May you all find peace and comfort. Our prayers are with you. Albany Symphony, New York
May I extend heartfelt sympathy to you in your time of grief. We weep for and with you. God grant you peace in your mourning. Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Indiana
On behalf of all the members of the Richardson Symphony Orchestra, I would like to express my condolences to the loss of your two musicians in Oregon.
It certainly is a reminder of the risks we take as musicians in the Freeway Philharmonic Orchestras. Richardson Symphony, Texas
On behalf of the members of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra, I would like
to express our condolences for the loss of your two fellow musicians in Portland.
Please give our heartfelt condolences to the Portland orchestras, and the
families of Angela and Kjersten. I pray that music will provide some solace to you in this time of grief. Fresno Philharmonic, California
On behalf of the California Symphony may I extend our deepest condolences for the loss of your friends in this tragic accident. We send our thoughts and prayers to you, and for Kjersten's and Angela's families, in this time of unexpected grief. San Francisco, California
|Comments:||The memorial service for Kjersten was beautiful. I felt comfort looking around the room seeing so many people from all the many facets of her life sharing in her rememberence.
I first met Kjersten when she played in the Portland Opera for the first time. I still can picture the petite blond walking on her toes through the hallways. Kjersten was always full of questions, wanting to do everything right. I answered what I could and sent to others for the rest of her answers. At the next rehearsal she couldn't remember my name so she started calling my "Red" for my red hair. It stuck and that was what she called me for the last 10 years. She always said it with her half smirk smile. It made me laugh.
Several years ago I had the honor of sharing a stand with Angela in the opera pit. What a riot. When there was a lull in the rehearsal, or someone started yawning, out came Angela's magic bag of candy. She seemed to have an endless supply. I admire her gift of teaching. I know there are a lot of budding violinists lives that she touched and helped mold.
The loss of these two bright, energetic, loving people is a devestating tragdey. The anger I felt at their loss is only tempered by Kjersten's and Angela's love for life and how they lived it as fully and completely as anyone could.
My heartfelt condolences to their families and friends who's lives have a large hole. While the void will never be filled, Kjersten and Angela will never be forgotten.
|Name:||Cathy (Oldham) Bell|
|Comments:||When I first heard the news reports on Monday, they weren't naming the victims, only saying they were two Eugene Symphony players commuting from the Portland area. I was sure I would know them....
I couldn't imagine that it would be Kjersten.
I met Kjersten the day she and I auditioned for the Ballet Orchestra on the same day back in the early 90's, and we met again at a Portland Opera audition shortly after. Then I played with her in both groups until I had to leave in 2001 due to illness.
Kjersten was such a capable and level headed girl. She was ALL the wonderful things everybody else is saying about her. I really can't believe that she is gone.
I hope it will help her family to know how much she was loved and respected by everybody who knew her.
|Comments:||I wish to extend my deepest condolences to Collier and Christopher. I've only known Kjersten about 8 months as she taught my son Viola lessons. I loved to hear her play for my son when he was struggling with a piece. I appreciated her patience, humor and strong guidance with my son. It made me so proud when my son and Kjersten played together. I couldn't of wished for a better teacher for my son's first experience with music. We will never forget her.
Julie Brown and son James Brown
|Comments:||I always thought of Angela as my best friend. We as people are so different yet share many things in common. We arrived in town in the same year and kept showing up at the same auditions and became good aquaintances. Carpooling to Eugene together revealed our deeper selves where we discovered that we had sooo much in common. It was nice for both of us to talk about life and to see our different perspectives. Recently I would stop at her house while going from one teaching location to the next to grab a cup of her famous tea or coffee...she would be teaching but that did not mean the welcome sign was down...sometimes I went in and out without her ever pausing her teaching. I look in my closet and see all the outfits she helped me put together, the clothes I bought when she was with me and feel both comfort and sadness. I accused her of brainwashing my daughter (not even 2 yet) into having a sense of fashion (has to have clothes that match and LOVES shoes). She only babysat Sara a couple of times at most....one of those times was so my husband and I could do a LONG ride on our tandem on our anniversary (I think Erik still remembers that day well).
I have been in a state of denial all week. Thank you to all of Kjerstens loved ones for the wonderful memorial which has allowed me to finally acknowledge the truth and quit running from the pain.
|Name:||Tonya McQuistan- Nichols|
|Comments:||When I first moved to Woodinville, I'd struggled to get out of an unmapped town in Nebraska. Before that, I was from Southern California. Our family first set our sites on Woodinville, Washington, but ended up detoured to the Midwest. The culture shock of moving to a Midwest town so small your basketball coach is also the town mayor was numbing. I never fully 'fit in' because I didn't want to be 'in', I wanted OUT!! I felt like the Israelites sent into the desert away from the Promised Land. I put a stuffed Falcon on my dresser and dreamed for two years of being a Woodinville Falcon someday.
When I finally arrived, my first class was Biology and I walked in and handed the teacher my admit slip. She politely turned and asked where I was from, to which I answered, "Nebraska." Then, turning to the class she said, "Class, this is Tonya-from-Nebraska." The whole class, as if on cue, chorused, "Hi, Tonya-from-Nebraska!!!" The name stuck. For the first year and a half, I was "Tonya-from- Nebraska."
No one meant it to be mean. It was purely funny, but I was constantly reminded of where I never wanted to go in the first place, and frustrated they didn't understand, "I WASN"T FROM THERE!!" My first lasting impression of Kjersten Oquist happened one day, that first month, when she perceived my wince at the name. "You must not have loved Nebraska," she said sweetly. I didn't look up from our work table but said, "I really hated being stuck there." From then on, she called me "Tonya-set free-from-Nebraska" and just plain "Tonya." She always said it with a warm smile that said, "Welcome home, friend."
And thus begins my memory of Kjersten.
Kjersten and I took most of the same classes offered on our honors track. In exception, she persued yearbook and music while I cast my lot with basketball (hey, I was 6'1" and formerly coached by a town mayor), and drama. Owing to many shared friends, I ended up in the darkroom helping develop film, or on an occasional late night layout deadline, while she got pulled in with the stage set to solve all manner of crisis and support her friends by serving as an astoundingly able props mistress.
Kjersten turned in her English papers on time, chugged her way smiling through math, never let her chemistry partners down, organized history study sessions, and was otherwise entirely reliable. If Kjersten was a part of "it," "it" would get done and done well. I would be genuinely surprised to hear if she has more than three parking tickets worth of rule breaking to show for her twenty years of driving!!
Kjersten is the sort of soul that is easily taken for granted. She is warm. Granted. She is funny. Granted. She is stable. Granted. She is refreshingly genuine. Granted. She takes all our issues and seldom burdens us with any of her own. Granted. She will do what is right without holding it against us when we get it wrong. Granted.
I have searched my remembrances of her for a week now, and I can not think of a single time I heard her participate in exposing, illuminating, mocking, or otherwise enjoying another person's weakness. She was simply too classy to participate in gossip or negative discussion. She was also sassy enough (which let us know she was bright enough) to keep up, and opted out by choice. That is leadership. She called us to a higher standard by raising her own bar and chinning it with a grin.
So many girls end up hoping to outlive their high school reputation of self-absorbs ion, low self esteem, and poor choices. Kjersten was an old soul. She had no shame to outlive. I want her son and students to know, she didn't wait to grow up to be wonderful, she purposed to start out that way. She didn't happen to live for what mattered, family, friends, music and the arts, she looked for the moments of matter and lived in them.
This example comes to mind:
Besides my lack of dazzling features, my height excluded me from auditioning for leading roles and ingénues. There were less than a handful of guys taller than I, and most were not prone to audition for school plays. But I was a solid ticket in the running for any leads that needed a mother.
One night at a party, Kjersten heard me mock moaning about how just once I'd like to do a scene cutting that spun me away from the type cast 'mother.' She uncrossed her legs, got out of her chair, and crossed the room to me. Then she gently tucked a wisp of hair behind my ear, and spoke straight into my face in a near whisper, "beauty and innocence can only get girls so far, then they have to grow up and be lovely and wise. This world has plenty of girls, Tonya, but you have a head start on practicing to be a lady."
[That notion would stick with me and resonate far beyond the stage as I took on life roles as a high school teacher, a director, a wife, a September 11 witness and aftermath volunteer, and a mother.]
My sophomore year in college, my parents moved again and Woodinville was no longer my port of call. I blazed into full time work, classes, and a courtship with my husband.
Email correspondence was still a few years out for me (yes, that's how OLD I am), or I might have done better with keeping up with friends-- who knows. I was traveling internationally during the two reunions I would have enjoyed attending, and fell well out of touch with classmates.
This past summer, our well loved theatre teacher, Hjalmer Anderson, retired. Kjersten and I both attended a surprise party in his honor. After the function, a group of us went out for more time together. Kjersten and I were seated at opposite ends of a long table. She got up, moved to my end of the table, squeezed my hand and said, "Now where were we?" and fifteen years slid under the table.
Our catch up chat was all together too short, but long enough to learn how much she loved Chris, Collier, and her students. She invited me to ride the I5 corridor with her this Spring when I am on tour in Oregon so we could catch up more and I could meet her friends on the way to Eugene rehearsals.
She celebrated my recent success in writing a show and was excited to come see it when it is schedualed in Portland. Kjersten didn't give the obligatory,"oh that's nice," she actually wanted to how the piece captured my beliefs, what I think works well and what I am still working on.
She was empathetic to how much I miss my students now that I am a full time mom and no longer in the classroom. We laughed about how hard it is to mother just one when there is a whole world out there that needs loved on. While talking with her, I felt myself start to sit straighter and smile from within my soul, at peace.
All who knew her stand taller, sing louder, play longer, and love more deeply because she took the time to cross the space between us, and call out the strength and beauty we had yet to discover in ourselves, for she was a lady, lovely and wise.
Chris, we too will miss the warmth of her mothering. Be proud that out of all the kids in the world, she chose you to make her very own. You are the one who carries on her heart for the people all around you each day. She left you with a legacy of love, and you honor her everytime you bring out the best in someone else and lead with quiet strength and dignified grace.
May our God hold, heal, and help you through your loss, and give you strength to face the difficulties of days ahead. My prayers are with you and your father.
|Comments:||Today at Kjersten's memorial service I had a conversation with her mother that haunts me. Mrs. Oquist expressed anger at a system that allowed a drunk driver on the road with a previous DUI conviction. She said we should write letters to our legislators and mount a campaign to change that.
I spent the entire 2nd act of tonight's opera performance mulling this over. (OK, I missed a few notes while my mind was elsewhere.) When I got home I went to the web site for MADD, and sent letters to Governor Kulongoski and to my state senator and state representative. These letters call on them to support legislation for mandatory ignition interlocks for people convicted of drunk driving.
It was really easy. On the MADD web site I clicked on the "Take Action" button, then "Action Alert Center", and then had a choice of different issues to act on. The ignition interlock spoke to me, but you might find another one that you prefer. There was a form letter which I personalized by telling about Kjersten and Angela, and why I care. I also made donations in each of their names.
Nothing we do will bring them back. Nothing will fill the holes their deaths have left in our lives. Our pain and anger, however, can be used constructively. We can honor their memory by finding a way to stop this from happening to others. We have such a huge network of people who loved Kjersten and Angela. Together we can make a difference. Are you willing to join me in this?
|Comments:||I am Angela's mother-in-law. What a joy it is to read how much her life touched so many in such a wonderful way. For someone so young, it continues to amaze, the impact that she had on the world around her, and those who were priveledged to have had their life's journey intersect with hers. I met a young gal at her funeral, in Wenatchee, who had been of of her very first students, in that first year of teaching when she wondered if she would make it to twenty students, which was her goal. She shared with me that she was still playing violin because of Angela, and that she was leaving for Poland to study for a year at the Crocow Institute of Music.
I was blessed to spend the Sunday before she died, superbowl Sunday with her. We had a great time, and she shared so much with me about what was happening in her life...she was in such a high place, with so much expectation of the future ahead of her and Erik. I also got to meet Kjersten and her family at the superbowl party they held, and my heartfelt prayers go out to them. Angela had told me that Kjersten was one of her best friends.
Angela was my first 'daughter', as I have 4 sons, and she was everything any mother could wish for her son in a wife. As I told her in the birthday card I had just given her...that as Erik grew, I knew she was growing too, and i prayed for her safety, a good home, and that she would grow to be the wife that would be perfect for him, and that he would grow into being the perfect husband for her...and that God had answered my prayer when she came into Eriks life and became his wife. Angela was an absolute joy to know, and though I will miss my 'daughter' more than my heart can even comprehend right now...I am so greatful that we were blessed to have her live her life's journey as part of our family, as my precious son's wife, and my friend. She opened the world of classical music to me...took me to concerts, blessed me with her playing and was one of the nicest and kindest people I ever met. I know I am all the more blessed for the joy, passion, excellence and effervecent zest for life that she sowed into my life...I will endeavor to honor her by not letting one ounce of that be forgotten.
Thank you Angela...you rock on girl.
PS...I will look forward to meeting many of you at the memorial service. In case you missed the information: It will be held Sunday, February 25th at 1:00 PM at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academiscs, located at 3101 Main, Vancouver, Washington.
|Comments:||Hello everyone! I am Angela's little sister and have so appreciated reading everyone's comments and praises of her. I know that she loved every one of you. I will never forget her calls while she was driving home after having rehearsal or a performance. She always bragged about her friends and fellow musicians. I know that she was the best sister anyone could have, and friend for that matter. Though I wish she was still with us, I am so grateful that I was blessed to have her as long as I did. I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. I know God will bring us through this painful season of life.
Just for kicks, here's one of my favorite memories with Angela: Being ten years younger than Angela, she would often invite me to have slumber-parties with her in her room. She would put on Harry Connick Jr. or U2, light allllllll of the candles, and then we would mud-mask and do our nails. She would read me a bedtime story (which consisted of me reading one sentence of Little House on the Prairie and her reading one sentence of Interview With a Vampire back-and-forth, back-and-forth...), and then we would eventually fall asleep. In the morning, she would always take time to curl my hair for gradeschool. I will treasure those fun memories among many many other.
I still cannot believe how giving Angela was, not only of her time, but of herself. I will always love her and miss her. God bless you all as we grieve the losses of Angela and Kjersten.
|Name:||Tonya McQuistan- Nichols|
|Comments:||I did log onto MADD.com and spent some time on petitions as Sherill suggested. It was simple to do, but gave me some hope that more lives may be spared a senseless end to drunken driving. I urge others to do the same. We do have a voice. These women are worth our time to speak up.|
|Comments:|| A week has gone by since I found out about my dear friend Angela, and I'm still heart broken.
Angela and I attended CWU together along with our husbands-both named Erik :) One of my fondest memories was working the Brahms Horn Trio with Angela. She had so many wonderful ideas and made the whole experience stand out as my single favorite concert I gave at Central.
While working with Angela and taking several classes together I met her alter-ego, Millie. Whenever I was having a hard day or a bad rehearsal she would look at me and smile (with that sweet angelic smile she always had) and started talking in a very quiet, high pitched voice that always made me laugh, and most of the time get us in trouble.
I haven't had much contact with Angela the last few years. I would see her at an occasional gig and we talked as if no time had passed. Angela always had a gift of making everyone feel special and loved. I will miss her warm heart and personality. My comfort is knowing that she is in a much better place, looking down on us smiling and continuing to bless our lives with her memory and her beautiful gift of music. I thank God for giving me such a wonderful friend and colleague.
My prayers are with Angela's family, her husband Erik and Kjerten's family, her husband Collier and their son, and all their students. These were two of the finest musicians I have worked with. They will be missed by everyone they touched in their short lives.
|Comments:||I met Angela in 2004. I had only known her for 3 years..but in those three years I learned more than the last six or seven years. She was a serious music teacher and took her music serious. She was the kind of person who could light up a room the minute she walked in. Not only was she a music teacher but she was a great friend and mentor. In the short amount of time I spent with her, I was able to make my music come alive and be able to show life in my music thanks to her and the way she taught me to play. Playing with her was magical in a sense that made me love music again. She was an amazing music teacher and by far my favorite teacher. I wish she was still here today but I know she is in a better place and was graciously accepted into that place. She will be greatly missed and already is. My condolences go out to her long time students, her family, and friends. This loss is a very sad one but I thank the Lord that she is in a better place. Thank you Angela for being there for me and teaching me so much! I will always remember you.|
|Comments:||I first met Kjersten at an audition for Sinfonia Concertante soon after she moved here. She had also brought her husband Collier and we chatted while we waited for the results. She won that one and we have been competing for the same jobs ever since. I remember thinking it's so frustrating when you really LIKE the new person in town. We've also been friends ever since that first audition. I always enjoyed talking about our families and non-musical activities that we had. I know her family was so important to her and she has done an amazing job supporting and raising them.
One of my favorite Kjersten stories is when we were walking to the Keller Auditorium together and I informed her that I was pregnant with Baby #1. She gave a hoot and stared at me in shock. Well we were still walking while she was staring and she walked straight into a tree. It was then I learned her coordination was not what it could be. I have since learned to be careful about her coffee on the floor by the stand. It's been spilled more than once.
In the last few years it seems that we have been stand partners wherever we are culminating in sharing a stand in Eugene up until my maternity leave in 2006. We also were carpool buddies and so got to spend lots of quality time in a car. With the exception of Angela's car we never listened to the radio - we just talked the whole way. In Angela's car you HAD to listen to the hilarious CD's she had or you would have missed out on some great comedy - not to mention yummy snacks.
As I sat Assistant Principal viola I had the opportunity to sit in between Kjersten and Angela and I always enjoyed the camraderie they shared. I think they rarely got frustrated with each other, and if they did they had a two hour drive to work it out.
My favorite Angela story happened in Eugene last year (I think). We were all driving down on concert night and Angela was running late so she drove herself. Well, 7:45 rolled around and Angela was not there yet but had just called in to say she had run out of gas about 7 miles away from Eugene. I thought to myself - NO WAY!!!!!She is soooo going to be late. Well, she came running in about 7:58 and I couldn't believe it. I asked her how in the world she had done that and she said she had called 911. The police had gone to help her and she had pleaded with them to just drive her to the hall, she'd get the car later. She told them they didn't understand - she HAD to get to the concert....WOW!!! That wouldn't have even crossed my mind. That's how dedicated she was as a musician and how gutsy she was as a person.
Eugene will not be the same orchestra for me. I've lost two friends, carpool buddies and professional colleagues in one accident. I will miss them both and want to let both families know my heart is with you. They were truly kind and wonderful people.
|Name:||Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann - Columbia Chapter|
|Comments:||For Angela, who played for us.
THE PARTING GLASS
Oh all the money that e'er I had, I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e'er I've done, alas, it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit to memory now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all
Oh all the comrades that e'er I've had, they are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I've had, they would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call good night and joy be with you all ...Good night and joy be with you all
|Comments:||Angela was the perfect teacher for my daughter Ashley. We all loved Angela but Ashley adored her. I enjoyed sitting in the front room listening in on their lessons. Angela was an excellent teacher but she was almost a life coach too. And she was so much fun! I still can't believe she's gone. Our whole family is just devastated.
|Name:||Maureen Burke & Michael Tucker|
|Comments:||Our sympathy to both families in their trajic loss. We did not know Kjersten but we were just getting to know Angela and Erik.
In addition to her teaching and playing with the symphony, Angela would fit in a night at the Restaurant at the Historic Reserve in Vancouver where she would get out "Angela's Big Book of Rockin' Irish Tunes" and play beatiful Celtic music for me and then always play Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor for my husband -
We enjoyed sharing a bottle of our favorite wine with Angela one night when Eric was in the midst of tax season and we were the only ones in the bar at the Reserve and we loved hearing the stories of their lives the one night we had dinner together last summer.
We were hoping to get together soon .... now we will remember and honor Angela's zest and love for life by taking care of each other the best we can - and always recognizing the beauty of the world!
We'll miss you Angela
|Comments:||VARIATIONS ON A THEME BY NIEL DEPONTE
Last night I went to the opera
and read rave reviews
of the tenors and sopranos,
but not a word about
the double basses or the alto clarinet
singing with equal passion and prowess,
buried in the pit.
Last week I watched a prima ballerina
dance a beautiful Odile/Odette
to accolades and armfuls
of roses tied with bows
but no roses or kudos
for the bows and batons
dancing just as gracefully below.
Last month I danced at a gala celebration
and toasted the grand accomplishments
of doctors and builders and funders of note.
But no one stopped to praise
the subtle syncopated notes
of the noted violinist and the accomplished saxophonist
playing with perfection for our pleasure.
Last summer I cried at my friend’s daughter’s wedding.
I was moved,
not by the tender phrases of bride and groom, but
by the tender phrasing and sweet intonation
of the string quartet
speaking from their hearts
in the back of the room.
This afternoon I listened to a gifted teen musician
play a Gershwin concerto
with clarity and depth and style.
No mention was made of the teachers
who coddled and coaxed and coached this artist
to such confident mastery.
Perhaps someday she will play Gershwin
like I heard it tonight at the symphony
to the rousing applause and vocal appreciation
of a captivated audience.
More likely you will hear her
when you watch Aida
or Swan Lake,
when you weep at your daughter’s wedding
or your father's funeral,
when you smile at your grandson’s first rendition of Bach
or his first audition on solo viola.
And then let us, the music lovers,
remember in some small way
to say, “Thank you”
to these talented musicians
who give their hearts and souls,
and sometimes their lives,
to gift us with their art.
Thank you, Angela and Kjersten,
Thank you on my part.
|Comments:||I was in such a state of shock to hear the sad news about Angela - I was sitting at my desk at school and thought it was a horrible joke. Then when I read the news article and heard about Kjersten too, I was devastated. I was fortunate to know Angela and Kjersten at different times in their lives.
The first time I ever saw Angela was when she performed Zigeunerweisen with the Wenatchee Symphony. She won the student concerto competition when she was in high school. I was sitting in the viola section. When she walked out on stage she was dressed as a gypsy. Full costume, scarf in her hair, the whole works. I remember thinking, "CRAZY GIRL." I learned later that she was in every way.
Kjersten and I were fellow viola players in high school. We didn't go to the same high school, but we were stand partners in Cascade Youth Symphony, went to the same music camps, did All State Orchestra, etc. We always had a little competitive streak between us. I still remember a moment in time back in high school when we were at solo and ensemble festival and I watched her play the Telemann viola concerto. I remember a voice inside of me saying, "I can play that better". It was petty and immature, and I regretted it through the years. I think about it today and now I wish I could thank her for putting that drive in me to be a better violist.
It is a strange place to be in when you are so devastated with grief and loss over people you have lost touch with through the years. It makes you feel a little guilty that you didn't stay in touch and you can't even begin to understand the grief people that were closest to Angela and Kjersten are feeling now.
I was closest to Angela because of college. I stayed with her family in Wenatchee on occasion when I visited. Angela and I were quite the gal pals at CWU when I was there. After she got married and moved to Vancouver, we lost touch and every once in a while she would pop up at a music festival or a concert and we would catch up again. But when were at CWU together, those were the times I will treasure and never forget. She practically lived at my apartment for a time. After classes or Prep Program we would run back to my apartment to catch up with soap operas and make dinner or get Dominoes. Run to Encredible Espresso - lattes were an obsession with us. Then we'd race back to Hertz Hall to make orchestra rehearsal on time. We would run off to Seattle every moment we could and go shopping, always on the hunt for the most PERFECT BOOT. I always envied her red hair (I wonder if that is why my hair is red now) and she always dreamed of being a professional violinist. I always encouraged her to teach, I think I influenced that in her a bit. I think she influenced me with the girly girl stuff. She made it COOL to like velvets and lace and romance novels. And the candy - what was it with her and the candy?
I have this gorgeous long hooded black velvet cape with purple satin lining that my mother made for me back in college. It looks like something some maiden on the foggy moors would wear to meet her secret lover. Its quite dramatic and Angela was obsessed with it. I wore it to symphony concerts and promised Angela someday I would let her borrow it. That day never happened. I would wrap it up with a bow and give it to her now if it would bring her back.
Angela and Kjersten will never be forgotten. They will always be here and I can really feel them now inside of me. Whether its the seriously determined Kjersten or the fiery larger than life Angela, they each brought something to our lives that made us who we are today. I wish I could thank them for that now, but I can't. What I can do is look for them in my classroom. Whenever I see that quiet yet seriously determined violist or that fiery, larger than life violinist, I will always remember Kjersten and Angela.
|Name:||Ann Arbor Symphony|
|Comments:||It has been devastating to follow the news about the deaths of your two colleagues. We're sure that all musicians who share our career routine immediately realized our direct connectedness to the tragedy regardless of the miles that separate us. The energy of that bond has by now certainly transformed into what we hope is comfort and sympathy for the families, friends and colleagues of Kjersten and Angela.
With deepest sympathy,
Ann Arbor Symphony, Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra
|Name:||Shreveport Symphony Orchestra|
|Comments:||On behalf of the members of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, all of whom are traveling musicians, I offer our sincerest condolensces on the loss of Angela and Kjersten. The extent of your sadness is unimaginable and we hope time and your continued music making will lessen it's severity. Shreveport, Louisiana|
|Comments:||OUR HEARTFELT THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU IN THIS TIME OF GRIEVING. A LOSS OF A MUSICIAN COLLEAGUE IS LIKE THE LOSS OF A FAMILY MEMBER. MAY YOU ALL BE BLESSED AND COMFORTED BY THE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC YOU MAKE TOGETHER!!!
Ann Gilbert/Cleveland Opera and former member of Portland Opera 1984-85
|Comments:||Please accept my condolences on behalf of all the musicians of the Harrisburg Symphony. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you, as well as the families of Angela and Kjersten. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania|
|Comments:||I have the honor of having an office right next to Angela's husband Erik. Erik joined our firm 1 1/2 year ago and this is when we (Moss Adams) met Angela. From the beginning, it was as if Erik and Angela had always been part of our family. Angela peronality shined the first time you met her. We will miss her.
My friends have an annual girl's night out charity event in honor of one of our friend's who died young. Last year, we went to watch Angela play her violin and asked if she would play at our event. Angela said yes without hesitation and even donated lessons to our silent auction. I wish I could copy the picture from this site but it is not working. Go to encouragingothers.com - under current event. Her picture is on the slide show.
|Comments:|| Music's Angels
Music flowing in sound and mind,
instruments moving side to side.
The focus wanders. I look to see
an angel staring back at me.
Arms open wide and smiling as if to say,
this is the gift of us, we freely give away.
Kyersten and Angela have earned their wings
and I feel blessed to have known them. Our
hearts will mend with the gift of music and
you will not be forgotten because of your
many gifts which you openly shared. My thoughts
and prayers are with your families.
|Comments:||On behalf of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, I offer our most heartfelt condolances. Eric Crawford, Orchestra Committee chairman and ROPA delegate|
|Comments:||On behalf of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, I offer our most heartfelt condolances. Eric Crawford, Orchestra Committee chairman and ROPA delegate|
|Name:||Nick and Rebecca Peck|
|Comments:||Angela came into our lives, almost as soon as she came to Vancouver, through Ann Medellin at the Vancouver School of Arts, who recommended her highly to teach our son John-Luke; he had been suffering at the hands of some very banal music teachers for too long. Her spark, her passion for music, and her love of teaching and her love for her students given unconditionally, rekindled the fire for music in John-Luke. It was not long before we counted Angela as a friend. We rejoiced with her in her triumphs as she paid her freelance dues and got better and better gigs with the various orchestras she played with; we shared her cheerful disappointments at the rare audition that didn’t go quite as well as hoped, and learned from her that few setbacks could survive her keen, self-deprecating wit. We rejoiced with her as she planned, with so much gleeful and mischievous love, the surprise of Erik’s 30th birthday party, and shared that wonderful and somewhat rowdy evening at the Kennedy School. To our eternal regret we could not share her own 30th birthday.
We loved Angela, the brightest flame to burn in the lives of anyone who loves music in this community. She brought so much to the lives of her students, their parents, and her friends. No other teacher would take her students out busking in Esther Short Park on a summer afternoon, sharing her passion for playing in that most public forum to sink or swim, and teach them to enjoy the quarters and the dollars left in open violin cases as much as if they were the paychecks from salaried orchestra positions. We knew her expressions well enough to catch her eye from time to time in the annual studio recitals as an earnest, tiny, dedicated pupil, struggling with his or her eighth-sized violin, massacred Frere Jacques, knowing that even as she chewed on her cheek to stop the laughter she believed, with all the core of her being, that just maybe, from the discords and missed notes, in a few years’ time a talent might rise, and we knew it would be Angela, and only Angela, who could bring that talent out. She taught violin; and she taught much more besides. She taught performance, she taught professionalism, and she nurtured her students with compassion. And she nourished them – who will forget the seemingly endless supply of bananas forced upon every student in preparation for a significant performance, for State, or for concert or recital?
We laughed with her as she described her sense of awe at sharing a stage with Itzak Perlman, and we laughed with her as one of her studio-recital impossibly-virtuoso party-pieces disintegrated into a mangled tangle of missed notes – which immediately she redid to perfection and beyond.
She was a serious, highly professional working musician who strove to better her career; and she was a wild, fiery, passionate musician who could make a Hungarian heart break with her Czardas, and play traditional Irish music to make you laugh and cry all at the same time. When she jammed with our Irish band, she brought harmonies and rhythms with her to lift the roof; and when she played O’Carolan with us, I wanted to catch those moments and preserve them in glass. We are left only with the memories.
One of the last times we saw Angela, she was, true friend as ever, ready to help out in an emergency. A family friend of ours had lost a son in a tragic boating accident, and we were asked to play a few Irish tunes at the funeral. John-Luke was not able to; as she always did if at all possible, Angela stepped into the breach, and graced that miserably but beautifully sad event with her wonderful playing over my background guitar. Ashokan Farewell was never played so perfectly, so hauntingly; and I will never be able to hear it again without the memory of her. Nor will I ever play for a funeral with a friend again.
We saw her last summer, caught in a shopping spree and happy to pause for a coffee by the Park, chattering away about the latest enhancements to her ever-expanding collection of shoes and what she had on lay-away at Urban Eccentric. We remember her caught at home by surprise, unmade-up in her ragged jeans and sloppy shirt; and we remember her dressed to the nines in emerald green, the color perfect for her hair and eyes, ready for a concert. We remember her dropping by for a quick drink at the Grant House not that long ago, casual and carefree and joyous in her life with Erik and happy to be caught up for a while in the chatter of our group of re-enactors.
We remember many visions of Angela, all of them vibrant, passionate, and alive. The thought she is not around the corner, not with us to share her wonderful gifts, her laughter, and her music, is very hard to bear.
That there is to be a scholarship in her name is the best way she would want us to show our grief; but we cannot help our tears.
Nick and Rebecca Peck
|Comments:||Knowing Angela has been a blessing in my life. I've always thought of myself as a good person but after getting to know Angela i know now what a truly good person is. She was the sweetest, most caring and all around beautiful person. The story about Angela that sticks out in my head is last year she found out it was my birthday from her brother in law and she made a special trip to the Restaurant just to give me a very sweet card. I'll always remember her vivacious personality and the beautiful music she played. I know that she is still with us and i know that from time to time we'll hear violin music because not even death can keep Angela from sharing her passion with us.|
|Comments:||I lived and worked in Portland for only two short years. Kjersten was a regular player with the Oregon Symphony and played in the ballet orchestra which I conducted for a time. I'll never forget her smile, one of the most disarmingly warm and generous smiles I've ever had the privilege of experiencing.|
|Comments:||I am still in shock over hearing about Angela's death, she was a colleague of mine at Central and someone whose talent and musicianship I respected highly. She asked to be her accompanist on several occasions, the first of which was my first concert performance at Central. I feel the musical community in Portland and abroad have lost a shining talent in both Angela and Kjersten, whom I did not know personally but whose life has touched deeply those who have left remembrances here. My thoughts and love are with both families now.|
|Comments:||It has been over a week since Angela passed away and still there are moments when it is difficult to believe she is gone.
Angela was my daughter's violin teacher. Meera has been taking lessons from Angela since she was five, starting with a quarter size violin and the variations of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". Almost every week for 4 1/2 years we had lessons at Angela's house and Meera always looked forward to her half hour with Angela. I was struck countless times by how gently Angela guided Meera, how organized, poised and confident she was, how she always found something to praise in Meera's playing, even if she hadn’t practiced the week before, and how much my daughter flourished as her student. Through all the challenging and frustrating pieces Meera learned, Angela was right there encouraging her, teaching her to believe in herself, and to keep trying. I am sure all the parents and grandparents who accompanied the kids to their lessons and recitals recognized in her a rare and wonderful gift for teaching. There is no doubt that Meera loves playing violin entirely because of Angela. We could not have been more fortunate in the teacher we had.
We will always remember her saying “You can go ahead and get set up, kiddo” and “You can pack your fiddle away now, kiddo” at the beginning and end of each lesson. We will always remember her love of all things Napoleon Dynamite – the “Vote for Pedro” and “I love tater tots” iron on patches on her violin case, and the sign on her music stand that read “I’m training to be a cage fighter”. We will remember her accompanying a student at a spring concert on her electric guitar. We will remember how her small studio swelled with the warm, golden sound of her beautiful playing. We will remember what a great musician and wonderful human being she was. We will miss all of those things and so much more.
Goodbye Angela, and thank you.
|Comments:||When my family and I moved here from Colorado in 1999, I wondered whether I would make any new friends or even like my new "home". I remember meeting one of my really good friends and being referred to Angela. So my mother and I had been around looking at violin teachers and none of them seemed to really match up. We went to Angela's house in January 2000 and I can remember everything with such clear detail.
We had been sitting down and I had gotten done with my tumbling and jazz dance lessons when I saw this women with red hair and a beaming face. She warmly invited us in to the studio and got to hear her play. She played the jig "Butterfly". I was so impressed. I later told her that she should audition with that piece and I know she would have gotten in. Years later did I realize that it was really a simle song and that it really wouldn't have helped her get into any orchestra or music group.
From that day on, I looked forward to lessons with her every week. I remember when she had her cat Ed and I would chase him around and Angela would just kinda give me a look. I also remember when she got Johan, Dante, and Ren. She loved those dogs with all of her heart. They really were her boys.
I can remeber every recital that I have ever had. I remeber that she was always there cheering me on and giving that one of a kind Angela smile. I was there for her first Mary Kay party and have bought from her ever since. I know that half of our lessons where about Mary Kay, or the really cute clothes in Lucky, or the boys that I thought were really cute. Every time she would laugh with me and give me a hard time. She would always give me advice about a number of things that happened. She would tell me stories about her days in elementry school and other times in her life.
Angela was really my big sister that I never had. She was my best friend, my mentor, my hero. Seven years I had known Angela. She was the only constant in my life besides my family. She was apart of my family. Now every time I play I will think of her. Her passion, her drive, her love will keep me going on. She was a rainbow in my clouds. Always shining, always bright. She still will be there. Her rainbow will never fade away from my life. It will grow brighter and stronger everyday.
When I order Mary Kay, she'll be there. When I watch Napoleon Dynamite, she'll be there. I will always remeber how we talked about chickens with large talons and complimenting each other on our real big sleeves.
I know I will see her again.
|Name:||Carin (Haines) Schmidt|
|Comments:||When I got the news of Angela's passing I was in shock. I couldn't believe that it was real and I was hoping that it just couldn't be true.
I knew Angela from CWU and haven't kept in touch with her since we graduated except to ask about her through mutual friends. I was always so impressed with her. She could play anything she set her mind to and whatever came out of her instrument was always beautiful. She was the same way as a person, she was always glamourous and could braid her hair in ways that didn't seem possible. Sometimes I would be distracted in rehearsal trying to figure out how she did that with her hair!
From various symphonys and summer camps Angela was always so much fun to be around and we carpooled a lot together from Ellensburg to Wenatchee or Yakima. I, being a viola player, would dare to give bowing suggestions and she would never hesitate to consider them. Angela led the quartet that played at my wedding nine years ago, of course it was perfect and I feel so blessed to have had her be a part of that special day.
I am far away from Washington now, living in Arizona, but my fondest memories were of CWU and my time with the music department. That experience would not have been the same without the elegant leadership that Angela brought with her.
My deepest sympathies go out to Erik and all of Angela and Kjersten's families whether bonded by blood or by music. We have all lost two very special people who will never be forgetten and whose influences will live on forever.
|Comments:||I just want to tell you all how very saddened I was to hear of Kjersten and Angela death.
Kjersten was a wonderful violist with a very engaging smile. I enjoyed working with her as a sub in the viola section and found her to be a fine principal violist and friend. I will miss her terribly.
|Comments:||I first met Angela at a coworker's birthday party after her husband Erik joined our CPA firm. She was so full of life and effervescence. One of the nicest people I've met - she always seemed to be laughing and happy. I remember a conversation we had about Napoleon Dynamite that night. Just about the only adult I knew besides myself who actually liked that movie.
This last fall, my daughter Melissa was playing violin in high school but we wanted to get her a private instructor so we asked her teacher if she had any recommendations. And top on her list was Angela. And I heard it from more than one music teacher. Then I heard her play...well that was it. My daughter had been struggling at the time about whether to stay with the orchestra in school but after Angela took her on, she looked forward to playing and to what Angela was teaching her. She was a tough teacher but she made it fun and Melissa looked forward to her lessons.
I am forever grateful to Angela for giving my daughter encouragement and by being a wonderful role model to her and I'm sure to all of her students. We will miss her!
|Comments:||Having just found out about this tragedy, I'm still in shock and disbelief. I went to high school with Kjersten and although we lost touch after graduation, we were recently reconnected this summer for the retirement of our high school drama teacher. To echo Tonya McQuistan-Nichols comments about the reunion that occurred during this event - it was an amazing time as so many of us were reunited for the first time since graduation. The past 15+ years slid away and it was like a day hadn't passed. Any insecurities I felt going into that party, quickly subsided as the "family" came back together to reminisce. Kjersten was as sweet and kind as ever; she truly had become more graceful with each passing year. Kjersten's death is truly a loss and she will be missed by so many people.
|Comments:||I met Kjersten in Orchestra at Woodinville High School. Even then her dedication to music was rich and strong. I grew to give more of my time to Theatre than music. My commitment to music faded. Kjersten on the other hand took up an additional artistic interest in Theatre. What can as easily be said about her now was true then, she is never committed to anything less than her full effort. Music was her strength, but her commmitment to theatre was as true and strong as if it were her main artistic pursuit. As Tonya McQuistan-Nichols and Dawn Schuller-Yoder so elequently mentioned before me, Kjersten was part of a family of students at Woodinvelle that would not have been as loving and rich without her a part of it. This summer at our reunion for our retired Theatre teacher, Hjalmer Anderson, she invited my wife and I to visit her. This was after more thatn 16 years between seeing one another. It feels like a friendship cut short. I will contact MADD. I will also dedicate to my memory what Kjersten stands for, good vaules, passionate choices, and dedicated hard work, but mostly her smile and gracious voice.
All my love and thoughts to the families of Kjersten and Angela,
|Comments:||On behalf of the Wichita Symphony, I would like to add our condolences for the great loss of Kjersten and Anglea. This is something that every "Driving of Dollars" orchestra musician fears. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kjersten and Anglea. Wichita, Kansas
I would like to extend condolences to your orchestra members on behalf of the players of the Erie Philharmonic. It will indeed never be the same without the participation of these very special people - Our thoughts, prayers and sympathies are with you all. Erie, Pennsylvania
The musicians of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra want to share our sadness at the tragic passing of our friends and colleagues, Kjersten Oquist, and Angela Svendsen. Their brightness enriched us all and it is with heavy heart that we realize that they are no longer with us. Please pass along our sincerest condolences to their family and friends. Los Angeles, California
|Comments:||I was shocked and devastated to hear of Angelaâ€™s untimely passing. My condolences go out to her family. I knew Angela when she was but a young teenager. We met at the Olympic Music Festival and then later on at numerous State festivals and competitions. My memory of Angela is that of a fiery young person who loved music and had a work ethic that knew no bounds. Many of us rose hell that summer at camp; we could even get Angela to come along--though even then she was showing a maturity that would take the rest of us years to reach. I remember her most for her imagination, creativity, compassion, and desire to always be a better person and musician. Iâ€™m sorry I didnâ€™t get to know â€˜Angela the Adult,â€™ but feel as though I always could see that inner brightness that would let her become an extraordinary woman, shining behind those excited eyes of a extraordinary young woman. A shoulder to cry on, a friend to share the silly things with, and a young woman who inspired me to always strive to reach the starsâ€”Angela will be greatly missed.|
|Name:||marka wilcox akins|
|Comments:||I have been in a state of shock, only able to get an immediate response out to the ESO and a personal note to Kelly. This is the message that I sent to the ESO during their sad meeting on Feb. 13th.
The shock & grief that I feel is not diminished by the miles between us.
I grieve with all of you.
Our lives are fuller for having known Angela & Kjersten.
It is my hope and surely their wish,
that this gaping hole that we feel at the moment,
be filled by their energy & spirit,
that they have passed on to us.
I am thinking of all of you, your families & your communities during these difficult times.
Marka Wilcox Akins
I am still trying to get my head around this and have only recently been able to play and listen to music, which is really the hardest, that is when our pent up emotions let loose. So now as I slowly let those tears take over I have good memories as well.
Spending two years as concertmaster in Eugene I worked with both of these beautiful people closely. The first thing I learned to do while unpacking backstage with Kjersten was to keep my violin away from her soda and her mustard sandwich, as one time she dumped everything all over the violin table, but this somehow remains an endearing quality about her, as was her reliability and stable character, very diplomatic.
I knew Angela much better, probably because she was always eager each week that I was there to have a lesson or masterclass . She not only wanted to improve her playing but wanted to be a great violin teacher, I have never seen anyone so driven and boy did she take it all to heart, always learning. I feel honored to have been on the audition committee to hear her play the Tchaikovsy violin concerto for an audition, I was sincerely blown away and can still say now that it was the absolute best I have ever heard and I have taught a lot, been on a lot of committees and heard a lot of auditions. She sounded like David Oistrakh reincarnated.
I am happy that she had so many students & that her gifts have been passed on. I know she always wanted to know where a fingering came from , the teacher lineage, I remember her having an ah hah experience when we discussed the importance of a pause or rest, her questions never stopped. She was so organized that at rehearsals she had color coded post it notes on each page regarding a question about a bowing or something.
Talking to my sister Gretchen Tucker these difficult weeks brings many more memories of Angela , as they were good friends. In fact I had sewn a jacket or two and gave them to Gretchen, but it was Angela who always showed up to rehearsals wearing them, Gretchen said that Angela had somehow confiscated them out of her closet, because they were homemade and special, she did love clothes, I am glad something so simple made her so happy.
Yes, Angela knew how to live, never missing a new opportunitiy, she dragged me to many places in her vehicle just because, she had an amazing CD collection with her at all times and where ever she went she looked like she was moving in, lots and lots of bags, we all remember the food, the makeup . She was very comfortable with who she was and i hope that confidence and joy for life has been passed on to all who knew her.
I hope families, friends, colleagues , students find some comfort in these remembrances, I am sorry that I am not able to be with all of you in person.
with fond memories,
|Name:||Vancouver Symphony musicians|
|Comments:||On behalf of the musicians of the Vancouver(BC)Symphony, I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences on your loss of Kjersten and Angela. It is difficult to imagine what you must be going through. Our thoughts are with all of you.|
|Name:||Camilla Wilson Scott|
|Comments:||To the families of Kjersten Oquist and Angela Svendsen
Thank you for the gift of Kjerstsn and Angela and for allowing their music collegues,along with many students and friends,to mourn this deep loss and to celebrate their amazing lives together with you.Thank you for the tremendous effort you took at a heartbreaking time to make the Memorial Services on Saturday, February 17th,and Sunday, February 25th such a meaningful rememberance for us all.
I still have fresh tears this morning as I re-read
the 59 pages in the "Dreambook"I printed out to share in studio. This week my students and their families will hear more than my personal stories of Angela and Kjersten,as special as they are to me. They will get a teacher re-dedicating herself to her profession in their memory.
May the example they lived and the light in their lives, warm us all and strengthen God's good everywhere.
Cami Wilson Scott
PS Now after the contributions and letters I can begin to think about the perfect spot to plant Kjersten's flower seeds, and the mint for Angelas 'mojitos'.
|Comments:||Kjersten's family,especially her father and I and brother Eric and sister-in-law Noelle Hahn Oquist want to thank all the people who have shared their thoughts with us. The loss of Kjersten and Angela has been devastating for so many people. Erik and Collier and Chris have a long road ahead in healing from this tragedy; they will continue to need support from all of you. We hope everyone who has been touched by this will remember Kjersten and Angela by redoubling efforts to separate intoxicants and automobiles by whatever means necessary. Thank you again. Joan Oquist|
|Comments:||What a wonderful blessing it has been to make music with these two ladies. It's so hard to let them go. I only sat with Angela once when she first came and played in the firsts before winning the principal second spot. I could not believe she was so good, so fashionable, and so NICE! I would come home and rave to my husband about how cute she looked in her latest outfit and he would look at this hardened old hippy tomboy like I had lost my mind. "You don't understand," I would say, "She's really FUN! And NICE! And she's a great player!" "O.K., O.K.," He'd reply. "I just can't believe YOU are telling me about someones SHOES!" Recently I was learning to know Kjersten better, and enjoying especially her wit and her grace in all kinds of odd or uncomfortable situations. After the viola section had been on the receiving end of yet another joke during a youth concert, she was shaking her head backstage. I told her that we violinists couldn't possibly be the butt of such jokes. After all, we're much too neurotic and high strung. If some one made fun of us, we'd all get hysterical! I told her it was only because violists were so easy going and mellow that people could get away with those jokes. She gave me that wonderful smile and said,"I'm going to take that as a compliment!" And that's how I will remember her, thinking on the bright side of things. Angela and Kjersten, you will be missed.
I am Angela's mom and I am so touched by what everyone has written about my daughter. I knew she was an incredible person, friend and daughter, not to mention a devoted and loving wife and a dedicated teacher as well as an excellent professional violinist, but I did not realize she had made such an impact on so many people. It is so wonderful to hear the personal stories from each of you. It is easy to think well of one's child, no matter how grown up they get, but it is quite another thing to read the positive statements her friends have written about her. Thanks, for writing.
Truthfully, I am still struggling with the realization that she is gone. She is on my mind constantly, and I, like many of you, would give anything for one more conversation or email or lunch date. I am so very proud of the person she was and all that you are saying fills my heart with joy,knowing that she had so many wonderful people in her life. They say that those who give the most, receive the most, and I think it must be true. Angela was a giver and she was also the first to say she had been given so much by so many.
She had so many loves in her life, fist and foremost, her sweet husband, Erik, then her dear little puppies, her many talented students and her colleagues and friends. I know, of course, that she loved us, her family, back home but we weren't a very big part of her daily life or activities. But - we did hear often all about the things she held dearest in her life, her time with her Erik, her students and her orchestra friends and well as her Mary Kay friends and customers. I marveled at the schedule she kept and wondered if she really ever did sleep or just sit down to eat or watch tv. She seemed always on the go and always accomplishing enough to keep three people busy.
She so loved being a part of the Eugene Symphony. We were thrilled to be able to have attended her November concert. She and her brother, Bryan, a student at U of O, frequently spent time together on her "gig" weekends and she would raz him about his "office" - the Autzin Stadium -(he was in the marching band as a percussionist) and he hers "the Hult Center" and on and on they'd go about work and practicing for their gigs. He will so miss those times with her.
She ususally called or emailed me to let me know when she had a big audition coming up...usually with the Oregon Symphony. But I think if she had ever won a spot in that Symphony, she would have had a difficult time parting from the Eugene group and her dear students as well. We often talked about the change she'd have to make to participate in the Oregon Sym. and I rather think it was a goal she felt she should reach for as a professional but she wasn't sure she'd like it if she made it. She adored teaching "her kids" and she was wild with delight at the programming and growth the Eugene Symphony was making each year. In the last years so many of her favorite pieces were on the program that she was constantly stating how very fortunate she was to be able to play in such a fabulous organization.
She never saw the juggling of her schedule and constant driving time as a challenge too big to overcome...for the result of living in both the world of teaching and that of performing - both were dreams come true for her.
I have heard so much about so many of you. She treasured your friendship, your sense of fair play and fun and she especially appreciated how she could feel so free to be herself with all and each of you. We were amazed at how she managed to sell Mary Kay at rehearsals, at summer concerts and even to her students. I told her once that she was lucky no one complained about her entrepreneurism and she just laughed and said, "Mom, everyone loves being the best they can be!" And that was that. She was a modern Mary Poppins, making wonderful things happen with people where ever she went. I am not sure she'd like that comparison!
Thank you, each one, for taking time to reflect with kind words on Angela's life. It was too short, and yet she managed to live it with such joy and energy that she left an example to us all to live each day to the fullest, make each opportunity count and give your best to everyone you meet. She believed in working hard, speaking her mind, setting the standard for herself at "comfortable overdrive" being as elegant and beautiful on the outside as you were on the inside - right down to her shoes.
Frankly, I think she has left some pretty big shoes for us all to fill in this world. I don't know about you but I intend to try and follow her example as a way of keeping her close. I miss her so much. I love her so much. I look forward to being with her again one day in heaven. Until then, I will think of her daily, cry a great deal as my heart aches to have her here again, and wonder at how the world can go on about it's business without her.
As I said at both memorial services for her, I don't think the world will ever be the same without her....and I know I never will be.
God bless you for loving her as you did. Please do one thing for me, would you? Please don't drink, if at all possible. And if you do, please make every arrangement to never, ever drink and drive. Personally, both my husband and I have committed to remembering our daughter's death and honoring her life by living the rest of our lives abstaining from alcohol. It won't be much of a sacrifice compared to the one Angela made at the hands of one who chose to drink and drive.
I once had a conversation with one of my children about drinking. They were telling me that if they did ever drink, they promised they would not ever drink and drive. I told them that they could not guarantee that they'd keep that promise if they did choose to drink. "Why not", they asked?
I told them it was because,"your sober mind is making that promise now, and yet if you drink, it will be your non-sober mind that will tell you that you are quite capable of driving yourself home - drunk or not". No one ever plans to drive drunk and put themselves or others in danger. But a person who has had enough alcohol to be dangerous, has no idea they are a walking or driving weapon. The drunken mind and sober mind do not work synonymously.
So, I ask you....please do not drink in the first place. And if you do, make sure someone who isn't drinking at all, is going to be with you. Thank you, for your thoughtful consideration. I wish with all my heart that Fivea had done just that. Don't you?
Kathy Schuster, Angela's mom.
|Comments:||We have so many happy memories of Angela. She was such a person! She was a total blessing to know. My son Jed started taking lessons from her about 5 years ago and we loved her instantly. Going to lessons week after week you would think it would get old, but we never felt that way. She did so much more for Jed then teach him the violin.He would come out of her class standing tall, totally encouraged and able to conquer the world. I remember the last class that I was blessed to listen in on from the cozy front room easy chair. Jed had asked her how he was going to do two orchestras and hold down a job along with his other responsiblities. Angela spent the next 10 minutes or so talking to him about scheduling his time. It was Time Management 101! Jed really valued Angela's opinion and he would ask it often about a wide variety of things. They had a wonderful friendship and shared so much. She had a fabulous sense of humor and we really enjoyed that. Angela took her teaching very seriously though and she knew how to get down to business when it was time but the work was seasoned with fun and laughter. Her love for music will live on in her students hearts.
Last spring we hit some hard times and we were going to have to put aside lessons for awhile. Angela wouldn't hear of it. She knew how much Jed loved to play the violin. She offered to teach him free of charge. Jed was able to do some work for her in exchange for the lessons, but believe me we got the long straw there. Many times she worked right along side of him and he had so much fun. They would often stop by Subway on the way home, or run errands with the puppies.
I admired her deeply and her love for life was very contagious. You could not possibly know her without becoming a better person yourself. We are praying for her family. I do not know her extended family personally, but I know that you all must be great people because a person like Angela doesn't just happen on accident. The love that you built into her she shared with all of us. Jed commented on the wonderful marriage that Erik and Angela shared and how someday he hope to have that for himself. We are thankful to the Lord that He put Angela into our lives. May God be very near to you, to comfort you and carry you through this difficult time of sorrow and grief. We are praying for you. We also pray for Kjersten's family. And although we didn't know her, it is obvious by all the expressions of sympathy shown here that she too will be greatly missed. Annette for the Bartausky family
|Comments:||I was Angela's student for about five/six years. The first time I walked into her awesome house and saw her and her dogs, I was hooked. She was so much more than a teacher to me, she was my best friend. Some times I would come over to her house to do yard/housework and we would always find some excuse to make a Starbucks run. I dont know how she did it, but whatever we did whether it was trimming hedges, or working on Isolde's Love Death by Wagner she made it loads of fun. She always had a kind word for everybody,and she loved what she did. She was one amazing person. She left a big hole here that nobody can fill, but her legacy lives on. All this shows just how unpredictable life is and it has helped me to notice the more important things in life. It has also made me love the music that she was so endeared to so much more. I hope that every time I play my violin, or do anything for that matter,that it would be a testament to all the time and love that Angela gave to me. My prayers are with Eric and his family and with Angela's family. I miss Angela greatly, but I am comforted by the thought that one day I will see her in heaven with Jesus.|
|Comments:||Angela and Kjersten were beautiful people.
I’m so lucky to have known them. I’m so lucky to have played beside them. I’m so lucky to have been able to call them a friend.
Every time I have a Coke, I’ll always use a straw and think fondly of Kjersten.
And Angela with those shoes – I’ll wear my high-heels proudly in her honor.
The two services were so great – it gave a sense of joy that we were all able to be a part of their wonderful adventures of life. But at the same time a horrible sense of loss – what if, why, when will it get better?
It all just proves that life is so short and we should definitely love more, do all we can and don’t worry so much.
Everyone I part company with now, my final words are “drive careful”, hoping the other guy will too.
My thoughts are prayers are with Kjersten and Angela’s loved-ones – the words are difficult – but please know that I think of them often and will do my best to keep their warm and shining faces in the front of my memory.
My heart is sad. But I will continue to share their stories and passions with my students and musician friends. If we keep them alive in our hearts, in our everyday conversations, and in our thoughts, we will always have them close.
They were lovely, elegant, fun gals (‘women’ seems too stuffy) that enriched many lives and will be so missed.
So terribly missed.
|Comments:||Just a quick testimony to what Angela imparted to her students as Erik hinted at the legacy passed on from teacher to student.
The day before Angela's memorial at VSAA was the Solo Ensemble event for our daughter who was one of Angela's students. She was there with a new accompanist, since Angela was to have accompanied her.
The judge asked my daughter who her teacher was and she replied that Angela had been. The judge's response was that she thought so; she could hear Angela's style or words to that effect. Then she told our daughter that any one would be proud to have her as a student and offered to assist in the search for a teacher.
Well done Angela, well done, and thank you.
|Comments:||I am Gordon Schuster, Angela's father. Reading your expressions of love, remembrances, and words of kindness provides joy and comfort. Angela was an incredible young lady - I use that word as that is what she was - a lady, yet not stuffy or one to put on airs. She was real. She loved life and was more than willing to share her love of life and music with any and all who came her way. It is hard to express how much she loved each student - how concerned she would get about a student who was having a "tough time" and how concerned she'd get if a student was thinking about quiting violin.
Her joy was overflowing when she talked about her playing with the Eugene Symphony. I recall her calling me the day that she won the audition to become the principal second violin in that organization. Another milestone for her was when she received "tenure"...she joked about feeling so glad that "they can't fire me now..."
I'd also like to share the comments that I made at both Angela's funeral in Wenatchee on February 16 and at the Memorial service in Vancouver on February 25, 2007. I trust that these words and thoughts may help bring comfort to you as you read.
This time is so difficult to understand and I’m sure many of us have many, many questions. The first being simply, “Why?” We can go down that path which leads us to a host of “what ifs…” What if they had stopped for another latte? What if they had left the rehearsal ten minutes sooner or later?...and on and on and on. This is natural as we struggle to make any kind of rational sense of this wretched situation. There are also other emotions ranging from guilt, numbness and even anger. Some of us are very angry today, and it’s understandable. We are angry because we have suffered extreme loss. However we look at it, this just isn’t fair!
So, what are we to do? How are we to reconcile all of this?
The fact of the matter is that we live in a tragically broken and fallen world. We live in a world full of pain, suffering, inequities, strife and, yes, death. So how do we cope? What sense is there to all of this?
May I share a perspective that may help us all as we face the long days, weeks and months ahead?
The first perspective is that every good and perfect gift comes from Above; gifts such as sight, taste, touch, hearing, a loving hand to hold, friends, a loving smile, a cheery voice on the phone, beauty. Have you ever thought about just the miracle of being able to enjoy beauty – creation, art, music? Days of goodness, days of grace. Days filled with joy, with love and with life. At first it appears that all of those gifts have been taken from Angela through her death and though this time is excruciating for us, I am so thankful that Angela is not living out the rest of her days tragically paralyzed or maimed – alive, yet unable to live her passion for music, teaching and life! In many ways I view the form of her passing as a gift.
It can be easy for us to place blame and focus our grief toward an individual, but what will be accomplished by it? When we are tempted to blame be it an individual, the injustice of these events, or even God, perhaps we need to understand that the pain we each feel in this tragedy is the result of a fallen world. Our world is broken. And, perhaps we should consider that there is indeed a Deceiver who was a Liar from the beginning. There is one whose mission is to lie, to steal, to destroy and, yes, to kill. The anger I feel today is directed towards the recognition that evil has brought huge loss to my family. Evil separates.
Yet, there is hope – there is confidence. There is confidence because the same One who blessed us with Angela; the same One who day after day pours out good gifts upon us, has promised that we will be re-united with her. The same God who blesses us even when we are unkind, resentful and living in rebellion, has provided the gift of eternal life. Through this promise, I know I will see Angela again someday.
As Kath shared earlier, Angela asked Jesus into her heart years ago. We know and testify to her faith and because of that faith we can have hope. For the same One who has promised is faithful.
So, what can I say?..... For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, nor will anything separate me from the future I have with Angela for eternity.
You know, Ange would call me from time to time, just to chat. Her voice was always happy, charged with energy and bubbling with life. She’d say, “Hi Dad, this is Ange!” as if I didn’t know…and we’d talk and talk.
I can’t help but believe that if I were to receive a cell phone call from Ange today it would go something like this… “Hi Dad, this is Ange…hey, THIS PLACE ROCKS!!!”
Angela’s funeral service – February 16, 2007; Angela's memorial service - February 25, 2007.
|Comments:||All of us at the Northwest Sinfonietta are grieving the tragic loss of Kjersten and Angela, our beloved colleagues. We send to their families our most heartfelt sympathies and wish to dedicate our next concerts on April 6 and 7 to their memories.
With kindest regards,
Music Director, Northwest Sinfonietta
|Comments:||Dear Friends of Kjersten and Angela:
I returned to this site especially to read the responses of the parents of our departed friends. I am so glad that the generosity of spirit that moved Charles Noble to set this up has been echoed in the comments of all who took advantage of this opportunity to share in the grieving process with the families. And to the families, my thoughts and prayers shall be forever with the girls and with all of you. My final posting to this site appears below and was sent to the members of the OBT Orchestra today. I would like to thank Eric and Collier for affording me the honor of speaking at the girls' memorial services.
Dear Members of OBT Orchestra:
This evening at the opening night of OBT's Winter program, Christopher Stowell, OBT's Artistic Director asked the audience to remember in their thoughts and prayers "our dear colleagues, Kjersten and Angela" before he left the stage after his opening remarks. In addition, the performances have been dedicated to their memory, and that was stated as well at the bottom of the program page in the program booklet. I do not recall ever hearing of such an honor given to musicians at a ballet company. I was deeply appreciative of Christopher's thoughtfulness and respect.
I know that many of you are still processing the events of the last three weeks, trying to make sense of them. I know that I cannot. I spoke at both of their memorial services. There were 400 at one and probably 700 at the other. It was not easy. But it was my honor to represent the company and all of you.
What does it say about our dear friends that so many have reached out to remember them? Certainly it says that the manner of their death was untimely and shocking, and we struggle to cope with the reality of their absense and the senselessness of the accident. But it also speaks to other factors. Firstly, it reminds us that we are bonded together by the effort to do good in the world through music and art. This inspires others to recognize the good that we do in a moment of tragedy. We must appreciate that. Secondly, it speaks to the essence of the women who are gone...good musicians...good colleagues...leaders...bright spirits.
And that brings me to the idea that what good we put out in the world, whether through music or good deeds, is not for naught. And this is why we must move on, in spite of our grief, and continue to do our good work, just as Kjersten and Angela were doing theirs in the moment of their passing. There is nothing more important than that. I continue my work with that spirit in mind and remember that every day I do good work I honor the memory of others who have gone before me and set the example... friends I have known, and millions of others I have not. I honor the memory of my father, Kjersten, Angela, Van from the symphony, Dennis Spaight from the ballet, and others, for I continue to follow the path that they, and all of you, are on. The path of service to others. Through music and through other good deeds that you do.
Maybe people applaud you when you do a good deed, maybe they do not. But either way, it is clear to me, by the reaction over the deaths of our colleagues, that good works matter, and they affect people you don't even know.
We will move forward, holding on to that thought, in the days and months ahead.
My best to you always,
|Comments:||I live in Wenatchee, where Angela grew up. I was not privileged to know her, as she left for college shortly after I moved back here in 1991. (I also am a CWU grad, and music postgrad, but long before she was born.) My brother is a friend of her father's, and my mother attended their church then and knew the family, and remembers Angela as a precocious child playing her violin in church. She was pointed out to me a few times in musical performances here in the early 1990s.
So, I only knew OF her, but after reading these comments, and attending the memorial service here with my mother, I am increasingly envious of those who were closer to her. The descriptions of the Galway concert were especially poignant, for me requiring Kleenex at hand. It is obvious that these two were among the best of the best, both as people and as musicians, and it is always especially tragic to see highly trained and unusually gifted natural talents muted much too soon. The tributes above from over 20 different orchestras coast to coast remind me of the tributes to fallen policemen from their fellows, and are very moving.
I attended a lovely concert on Saturday, of choral music accompanied by a small orchestra, and it occurred to me that, after reading of the white roses on the empty chairs in Eugene, I doubt I will ever watch a live orchestra performance again, for the rest of my life, without thinking of Angela and Kjersten.
I would like to think that at this very instant, Angela and Kjersten are discussing with W Mozart some bowings in the tricky third movement of his 229th string quartet, which they will soon be playing with a violinist and a cellist, both famous and greatly beloved, who previously departed this world. I'll leave it to you reading this to picture who they might be.
|Comments:||I've set up a free, non-commercial photo-sharing site for anyone who'd like to share photos of Kjersten or Angela. I didn't know Angela myself, so the focus of the site is on Kjersten, but I welcome pictures of Angela as well. The site is linked under my Homepage URL, above.|
|Comments:||Kjersten was one of my best friends and I have known her for half of both of our lives. I still don't know exactly what I want to say about her here, so I'll come back later and write some more.
Right now, I want to thank those who suggested going to the MADD site. The process to write letters to your representatives is easy and although I've done this for many causes, as I'm pretty sure Kjersten did, for the first time I had a heartfelt and compelling way to personalize my letter.
My heart continues to go out to Kjersten and Angela's families and all of us who feel this tremendous and needless loss.
|Comments:||My Aunt and Uncle run a company that leads horseback trips in Tibet and Mongolia. I received this email from her last night...amazing to think that people are praying for Angela half way around the world.
Dear Erik, Bill, Sue -
Last month I had told our dear friend Ethan in Sichuan about Angela. He recently met with my head wrangler Solang, in Tibet, and sent me this email.
"I told him (Solang) about Angela. He is going back to Zoergai tommorrow and will check up on Dhondrup (monk friend) to have prayers said for Angela (fortunately her name transliterates very easily into Tibetan as well as Chinese). He was genuinely moved to hear about your loss. I already sponsored one set of prayers at a Chinese Buddhist monastery but now he will make sure the Tibetans do their part, so she is covered better than any other good soul from Oregon. You have some good friends on this side of the planet. Take care,
|Comments:||Where Everything is Music – Jelaluddin Rumi
(translation by Coleman Barks)
Don’t worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.
So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.
Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.
|Comments:||A number of Angela's students and some local viloin teachers have commented that it will be hard for all of Ang's students to find suitable teachers. I thought you musicians out there could be thinking of a way to serve these kids.|
|Name:||Amy Goeser Kolb|
|Comments:||Dear friends near by and and in Portland. I have waited a long time trying to find a way to express, what I simply can not. Angela and Kjersten were so precious. I did not know Kjersten and Angela well, but I always heard wonderful things about them. My husband, Andrew and I are relatively still new to the musical community both here and in Portland and this has saddened us both right to the core.
Recently, I had the opportunity to play with the Portland Opera and during the production, we lost Angela and Kjersten. The colleagues around me cried, they hugged and they comforted each other. I absorbed the pain and played on. It all seemed to senseless, so unimportant, we are two beautiful friends short. Look around. Amy
PS. Here's to Kelly Gronli...we love you and support you.
|Name:||Amy Hefner (Bridges)|
|Comments:||Angela was my best friend in Middle School at Orchard Middle School. We met playing the violin (of course) and she was not only naturally gifted (unlike me) but worked so hard to be the best (unlike me) I can only echo the words so many people have said about her energy and the joy of knowing her but wanted to add one thing. I was shocked by how much in common we shared after so many years. I only wish we could have stayed in touch. My heart goes out to all of the family members. I was at the memorial service in Wenatchee and it was so beautiful. One more memory of Angela, in my sixth grade yearbook she signed it: Angela, Future Concert Mistress. It will be always held as a dear memory of her dreams and her passion for music.|
|E-mail address:||Keith Clark|
|Comments:||It was a privilege to know Kjersten and Angela. Each clearly loved and was dedicated to music, and it was an honor to perform with both. Kjersten was my Graduate Teaching Assistant during her Master of Music studies at PSU, and she managed to maintain a wonderful sense of humor, even while bringing order to my chaos. Her performance of "Der Schwannedreher" was a highlight of my teaching career. We often spoke of her love of travel, of her new family, and of the viola, an instrument I played much less skillfully for many years. Kjersten and Angela were fine young women who brought joy to those who knew and (especially) made music with them. Although they were taken from us, their laughter and their beautiful music lives on in our hearts.
And to Kelly, the beautiful solo oboist and organizer of wind chamber music at last summers Astoria Music Festival, please know that your many, many friends are here to support you at such an unbelievably difficult time.
|Comments:||Kj – wedding season is upon us - will think of you often as we play Sheep and all the other wedding stuff we always do! (all the while being hot and sweaty, with bees swarming and wedding guests tripping over us…)
Angela – am doing my student recital tonight – and I know you’d be proud of the lovely progress your students (Ashley and Sariah) have made. The girls have been busy doing scales too – as their final for Focus is next week (3 octaves and arpeggios!) Ashley has asked to do some “busking” this summer in your honor – so we’ll definitely do some Saturday mornings at the Farmers Market so we can keep up on your tradition!
Miss you guys!
|Comments:||In honour of Angela
Busking in Esther Short Park, Vancouver WA
Saturdays 11:00AM - 1:30PM
Look for the girls on the pavement under a huge oak tree, near corner of 8th Street by the entrance to the Farmer's Market.
|E-mail address:||kj at bardiccircle dot com|
|Comments:||Although Athena and I had heard about an accident
involving two players from the Eugene Symphony, it
was only today that I found out their identities.
In truth, I never really had a chance to know Angela
on a personal level. However, I had the privilege
of working with her at CWU in 1995.
It was a chapter in her musical career of her I
suspect not many people knew about (it may indeed
have been her "dark secret"), but with which I shall
always be grateful to have been involved.
In 1994, a number of music students at CWU were
devoting ourselves to "traditional" jazz - the
"sweet" and "hot" music of the 1920's and 30's. We
had it in our heads to expand our little 7-piece
Dixieland Combo - then known as the Agony Hall
Stompers - into a full 11-piece ensemble, playing
the intricate jazz orchestrations performed seventy
years before by groups such as Paul Whiteman,
Fletcher Henderson, and others.
Many of the orchestrations in those days had
violin parts; in our quest to make our ensemble as
authentic-sounding as possible, we set out to
recruit a violinist.
We were blessed to find not only one, but two
violinists who were willing to work with us. Not
only that, they were the two finest players in the
department - Dave Beck and Angela Schuster.
The idea of "jazz fiddle" was as foreign to Dave and
Angela as the thought of playing a Rachmaninoff
piano concerto was to me. However, that did not stop
them from jumping in with both feet, wholeheartedly contributing towards making our jazz "collegium pro musica antigua" sound its best.
Dave and Angela added so much to our group; we were
a featured youth band at the prestigious Sacramento
Jazz Jubilee in 1995, and were one of the "hits" of
the weekend. The "sweetening" added by the sound of
high-register violins over saxophones and muted
brass helped create a real musical "time machine."
I'll never forget the look on the face of an elderly
man in the audience who had played with Bix
Beiderbecke in his youth; all of sudden, he was
twenty-three years old again.
I have no doubt that Angela was a big part of what
allowed 93-year-old Spiegele Willcox to become a
young man once more for those 30 minutes during which we performed for him.
For me, it was the culmination of a dream that
Angela, Dave and the rest of the group helped bring
Despite the fact that Angela could easily have
sight-read the very challenging arrangements, she was
a consummate professional; like another redheaded
performer we all knew and loved, she would practice
her parts over and over; in rehearsal, she paid
close attention to every nuance of a style that was
completely new to her. If Angela took the performance of orchestrated jazz less seriously than the symphonic literature she usually played, she gave no indication whatsoever.
Neither was there egotism. She was also the
quintessential team-player. Although she had probably
forgotten more about music than I had ever learned
at that point, she took direction as well as anyone
I with whom I have ever worked.
Although her schedule the following year did not
permit her to continue with the "Agony Hall Hot Note
Jazz Orchestra," she had earned my eternal respect
and admiration, as well as my gratitude for helping
to make Memorial Day Weekend 1995 one of the most
memorable experience of my life. Her professionalism honored all of us.
The music world is a poorer place for Angela's
absence; although we were not close friends, we
enjoyed an excellent working relationship for those few months, the memory of which I shall always treasure - and
yes, I shall mourn her as I would a friend. If the gods are willing, perhaps I'll one day be allowed to create a more
suitable tribute through music.
In the meantime, as soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll post or link to some photographs from that wonderful weekend.
|Comments:||This email contains information regarding the motions hearing for the criminal trial of Fivea Sharipoff, the defendant and driver of the car that hit and killed Angela Svendsen and Kjersten Oquist on February 11, 2007. Here is a short explanation of what a motions hearing is for those of you who may not know:
Both the DA and the defense attorney can bring legal motions either to allow certain evidence to be introduced or to keep specific evidence from being presented at the trial. This evidence may include such things as statements made by the defendants, articles found during a search of the suspect, his vehicle or residence, additional charges or prior convictions of the defendants, etc.
The motions hearing is on Wednesday August 8th at 9:00 AM at the Linn county courthouse in Albany Oregon.
Linn County Courthouse (A short distance off of I5 in Albany)
300 4th Avenue SW
Albany, OR 97321
-This is a 3 courtroom courthouse. Court schedules are posted at the entrance to each courtroom. At this time, we do not know which room will be used for this hearing.
-The hearing may take longer than an hour . You are free to leave as needed.
-Parking is on the street, and carpooling is recommended if possible.
The DA has informed us that it is very important to have support at this hearing so that the judge sees how many people this has affected and how important it is that evidence be admitted and the defendant be convicted. If you choose to attend, we ask that you wear a black top at least (T-shirt, button up, blouse, etc) or all black to show your affiliation with Angela and Kjersten and your support of the case against Sharipoff. Casual dress is OK. If you have a bit of yellow ribbon, or yarn to pin to your black top, that would be visually effective as well. We must be quiet and respectful of the proceedings. Hopefully, we will spill out into the hallway. This date is in the middle of the work week, but ideally you will attend with colleagues.
If you have questions about the day, please contact Kelly Gronli via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Comments:||I write a few thoughts as a new musical season seems to be upon us. The events of last February are remembered so vividly to many of us, and the music festivals during the summer recognized and mourned the losses of both Kjersten and Angela. I was in Coos Bay at the Oregon Coast Music Festival in July when music was dedicated and also played more beautifully with heartfelt emotion. It is a time of continued support for their families and renewal in our lives of what is truly important.|
|Comments:||hey, i knew angela through a friend of mine, blayne barnes, who played violin with her in the eugene symphony. she invited me to erik's 30th birthday party at the kennedy school, even though she hadn't known me that long. and whenever i would go out with blayne and his musician friends, she would always made a point to make me feel welcome and included. and i remember driving with her and blayne and mary rowell to eugene for eugene symphony rehearsals, and along the way angela would mimic a supermodel, saying in the best valley-girl voice, "it's hard being a model" -- :) and on those drives she and mary would mimic some movie ("a mighty wind?" "waiting for guffman?") and those two knew all the lines and would laugh uncontrollably, mimicing the lines, and i remember watching from the back seat angela's pony-tail/bun bounce up and down as she reeled in laughter -- and then i'd be laughing, too, even though i had no idea what movies they were talking about . . .
here's a poem by my favorite writer, emily dickinson:
We knew not that we were to live --
Nor when -- we are to die --
Our ignorance -- our cuirass is --
We wear Mortality
As lightly as an Option Gown
Till asked to take it off --
By his intrusion, God is known --
It is the same with Life --
|Comments:||Results from Lynn County DA have been fowarded for distribution by Kelly Gronli with updates to the trial scheduling.
Here is the latest update on the Sharipoff case. Here are the results of the motions:
1) Defendant's Motion to Exclude Opinion Evidence - Motion denied. (note: denied means the State wins)2) Defendant's Motion To Suppress Defendant's Statements to Trooper Hite - Denied.
3) Defendant's Motion To Exclude Defendant's Statements to Trooper Moran -Denied.
4) Defendant's Motion To Exclude Evidence of Prior DUII Conviction - Denied in part - Granted in part I had asked to be able to speak about her prior conviction, arrest, her attendance at a drunk driver course, etc. The court will not let me tell the jury that she was convicted. However, he will allow me to tell the jury that she previously attended a drunk driver course.
5) Defendant's Motion To Exclude Evidence For HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) violations - Denied
6) Defendant's Motion To Exclude Cell Phone On Basis of Illegal Seizure - Denied.
7) Defendant's Motion To Exclude Cell Phone Messages: Denied.
8) Defendant's Motion To Controvert (Raise opposition to) the Warrant That Is The Basis For the Warrant Blood Draw - Denied
9) Defendant's Motion To Suppress the Warrant Blood Draw - Denied
10) Defendant's Motion To Suppress the Hospital Blood Draw - Denied (This is very good this was the draw that was a .24)
11) Defendant's Motion To Suppress the Exigent (an emergency situation requiring swift action to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect, or destruction of evidence. There is no ready litmus test for determining whether such circumstances exist, and in each case the extraordinary situation must be measured by the facts known by officials) Blood Draw-Granted. The court felt that a telephonic warrant could have been sought instead.
Overall, the results of the motions are very good. 2 of the 3 blood draws are preserved for trial! That is great news because it makes it that much more difficult for the defense attorney to attack the validity of the results.
As anticipated, the defense attorney said he was not ready to set it for trial. The court allowed us to set a tentative trial date. The soonest the court could find was June 2 through June 10. We are set to appear again in about 3 weeks to hopefully get that court date set in stone.
|Comments:||It's hard to believe we finally came to the end of this long and hard year...though not the end of missing them. I am Angela's mother-in-law, Teri, Erik's mom. Thanks to you all for your words, your love and caring for Angela...though this first year has drawn to a close...missing her has not. We are all so changed.. I find myself more aware of the fragility of life,and find myself more aware of it's uncertainty. I know she is with her Lord, and that brings more comfort than words could express, and yet...I find myself sometimes angry she is gone...she was such an amazing gift. I ache for the loss to her students..I watched a Meryl Streep movie yesterday about a high school violin teacher who made a tremendous difference in NY, true story...and it just brought back how wonderful she was with her students...I had the privalege of listening in sometimes. I've spoken at some high schools, with MADD, and I know it is imperative that this nation take a stand, and be willing to pay the price to put such a high price, on a first offense, that no one is willing to go there....until it begins to have an effect. I hope we will...17,000 a year die, countless hundreds of thousands more impacted...every year..more than 9/11 and Iraq combined..every year. It has to stop. You can go to Angela's memorial website on myspace, that Erik set up, at: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=175540909 and leave a message for her, and see the great pictures as well. God bless you all, and thanks again, for all your love, support, prayers and most of all for loving our Angela so much...of course she was easy to love...she loved well. Teri|
|Comments:||Trial for the accident is set and looks like the date is going to stick. The trial is scheduled for the first week of June. The dates are June 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10. The trial will start each day at 9 AM. The Linn County Courthouse is located at
300 Fourth Ave SW
Albany, Oregon 97321
I don't know which court room the trial will be in but people will be able to find out if they just look on the sheet at the top of the stairs. This is a small courthouse and the listing will include the defendant's name, Sharipoff. Parking is on the street and there are many spots a couple of blocks away that you don't have to pay for. Any support would be greatly appreciated. -this via Kelli Gronli
Note: as many court dates have been in the past have been rescheduled multiple times, every attempt will be made to post any changes here to this current trial schedule as soon as possible.
|Comments:||FYI - The June 2 date is for jury selection only - you need not attend unless you are interested in that process.
- Janet George
|Comments:||Just heard the news that the trial is over and Sharipov was found guilty. I'm thankful that justice was done though it is bittersweet. As the parent of one of Angela's students I'm still angry that Angela was snatched away and I just don't understand the drunk driving thing....Sharipov is a parent...how could she take such a chance? Thoughts and prayers for Angela's and Kjersten's families and for Kelli.|
|Comments:||I miss you guys and think of you often.|
|Comments:||RIP Angela. You are still very much missed.|
|Comments:||I hadn't been back to this site in some time now, but the news of the death of someone close to a long-ago friend brought me back. It didn't take reading very many posts before the tears started falling...it has been a couple years now since I have cried. I remember when I considered it progress that I could go a whole day without crying. I saw a post from Angela's CWU pal Heather DeHart who was since killed in a boating accident on Lake Washington. Time is a funny thing...it gives everything to us and it takes everything away. We lease our lives and have to return them in due course. Live your life to the fullest my friends, dream big and make it happen. We owe the departed nothing less than our absolute best. Much love, Erik|
|Comments:||Angela, I had a dream last night we were chatting after orchestra, and you were funny and beautiful as always. I miss you! I will wear magnificent shoes tonight in memory of you!
Your friend always,