Music lives forever.
I thought about that Saturday afternoon as the timeless strains of the Appleton Boychoir’s A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols echoed through the Lawrence Chapel.
The Festival dates back to 1880 and the Appleton Boychoir has performed it annually since 1979. Our own involvement started in 1995 when our oldest son Charlie first took part.
That year and every year since, the concert has taken my breath away. I listen to those sweet voices fill that nearly 100-year old chapel and see those little boys standing ramrod straight in white dress shirts, striped ties and blue blazers and I can hardly move.
Shepherding the youngest members, many of whom, like my son, had never sung in such a large public space, was Appleton Boychoir co-founder Frank Rippl. Kind, gentle and talented, Mr. Rippl cheerfully wrangled his energetic bunch of eight and nine-year olds into a sincere, honest and harmonious choir.
He taught them to respect themselves and the music they performed. The lessons and the music live on though those little boys have long grown up and moved on to lives of their own.
Sadly, Mr. Rippl passed away in August, eight years after retiring as a boychoir director. His wife of 43 years, Carol Jegen, a singer, director and voice teacher, honored Rippl’s legacy by reading one of the lessons at this year’s festival.
As she read, I thought about legacies and how those lucky enough to base theirs on music, or laughter, or love live on through the songs and stories they leave behind.
My favorite moment in a concert full of beautiful ones, was when Rudy Salm sang “Christmas Blessing” with the Ambassador Choir. Rudy, his brother Sean and their dad Ben all sang solos in the concert, another example of how music literally echoes through generations.
Here’s a clip of Rudy’s solo, shot by his mom, Allison, who let me share it with all of you:
Merry Christmas and rest in peace and love, Mr. Rippl. Your legacy of music lives on.
If you missed seeing the concert live, you can catch it on NBC26 on Dec. 24 at 10:35 pm, and Dec. 25 at 11 a.m., and on WACY MYNEW32 on Dec. 25 at 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.