I took the picture below yesterday morning while driving to New Jersey with some choral friends to sing at the memorial service for one of our members. His name was Greg Niclas and he died on Christmas morning after a brief and sudden illness. He was only 33. Greg sang at our holiday concert and he sang when we caroled in front of Grace Church on December 18th. Oh God, I just saw that he wrote this on his Facebook page that very night:
“I can proudly cross drunken caroling in the east village off of my bucket list. In related news i have no bucket list, but drunken caroling is super fun!!”
I’m sure that took place later in the evening! He also wrote this to our conductor after our last performances:
“I wanted to send a quick note to say that this concert was definitely at the top of my ‘most enjoyable singing experiences’. For me, music is more about the moments than the overall and this lineup contained so many beautiful instances in several different pieces. At two(!) points yesterday, I too got choked up and subsequently made minor flubs due to a loss of focus (apologies for that). The fact that it was still able to get to me during the final performance after we’ve been singing these pieces for months is basically why I enjoy singing in general, and the Choral Society specifically.”
A few weeks later I was singing and choking up at his memorial. I don’t have a lot to say about it. Death is bad. Death of young people (33 is young to me) and children is horrible. I’ve been at a lot of memorial services, who hasn’t once you get to a certain age, and the memorial services of young people are always the most packed. But of all the well-attended memorials I’ve gone to, aside from celebrities, the memorial for Greg beat them all. His friends and family filled every seat in a large church, they stood in every available inch in the aisles on either side of the pews, the lobby in front of the sanctuary, and finally the area in front of the church itself.
The stories they told about him, and the memorials I’ve read online, made it very clear why there were so many people there. He was an incredible, breathtaking human being and I offer my deepest condolences to all who knew him.