Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Good Friend

John Bryan - photo by Rhonda 

Recently I lost someone very dear to me. Someone that was an important part of Rhonda's life. I had the honor of delivering the eulogy. 

There are people who touch your life in profound ways leaving an imprint on your heart forever. John Bryan was one of those to me.  He was very much a friend to an emerging Rhonda of almost 30 years ago. It was through his acceptance and recognition that instilled in me the confidence to escape fear and be the person I have become.

On several occasions I have written about my involvement with the Palm Beach Piano Guild / International Society. John was the founder, catalyst and president. I began attending the weekly piano concerts in 1990's and fell in love with the music, people and experience. We held them in an elegant Palm Beach hotel living room salon. The music hooked me immediately. I do not play piano but listen well. Many of the performances would bring tears to my eyes because of sheer talent and depth of the music. 

John had a knack for finding incredible international talent and convincing them, "They had to perform for us." We had several concertmasters in our group and many emerging artist and international starts would come just to have their performances critiqued before going on to larger international competitions. From Beethoven, to Bach, to Gershwin every concert was unique, beautiful and eventful.   

We moved from the hotel to a permanent venue at a local concert theater and changed to a monthly schedule about 2001. John insisted that thickets always be reasonable and we gave away many more than we sold to schools and non-profits and deserving groups. John fostered young artist and gave then the opportunity to play with famous international artist. Our concerts always started with a classical performance and after intermission we switched to a contemporary or jazz to round out the evening. We even provided room around the piano for people to dance. John signature opening was a standing ovation at the start of each concert. 

Rhonda’s involvement was first as a scared spectator hiding in the back, and then a volunteer, helping with tickets, seating and cleanup.  A few years later, I was asked to join the board of directors. I helped wherever I could. What an honor. 

It was with the Guild that I learned that people are accepting and open. I gained experience being out and in the real world. To my absolute amazement, people liked me and give me opportunities/experiences, I had only dreamed. Rhonda’s life flourished and she grew, all because I had the courage to escape one Sunday and go to a piano concert. Also because of a wonderful man, John Bryan.  

John, thank you for your kindness, acceptance and beautiful heart. If the afterlife is how you are remembered by the living then, John Bryan, you are now enjoying a beautiful after life. There are many that remember you fondly and you left many cherished memories and friends – Thank you so much – We love you.  

John's partner of 47 years.
Photo taken this past Sunday 
at the Celebration of John life. 

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