Free, free, free to fly away
I long to be so free ~Lynn Emberg Purse
Many years ago, my husband and I drove to Romney, West Virginia, to visit my brother Rick, who taught music at the West Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind. Bill and I, as the group Aergo, had just recorded our first album of original music and my brother began using it with his students, many of whom suffered from emotional and behavioral difficulties in addition to their physical challenges. He taught the title song Free to his choir and they sang it for us; I watched my brother work miracles leading this choir of blind and deaf students – he tapped his foot, called out cues, waved his arms, and they sang straight from the heart. We had a wonderful day meeting with the students and sharing music; Rick told me that whenever they were upset, hearing our music always calmed them. It was clear that my brother loved teaching and had a genuine connection with his students.
Rick also loved being in nature and originally wanted to be a forest ranger; as kids, we were always taking long hikes in the woods, climbing trees, swinging from grapevines. He was a fine musician; he and my brother Jim and I were often recruited by my father to play instruments in the school band or sing in the church choir. He played tuba in marching band; he also repaired woodwind and brass instruments for a music company in Pittsburgh.
My brother Rick passed away this week, far too young at age 67. I dedicate this song Free to him and to his life. Big bro, now is the time to lift your feet off this ground and sail into the clouds.
Here’s a music video we recorded of Free, produced in 1984 by our friends at Eagle Vision Productions. (Words and Music by Lynn Emberg Purse©1982, All Rights Reserved)
Free, free, give me the wings of a bee
I long to be so free. ~Lynn Emberg Purse
Dear Lynn–so very sorry to hear of the passing of your brother. I hold very special memories of Eric and your entire family. Your dad had a huge impact on me giving me inspiration to love music. Your tribute to Eric is beautiful and heartfelt. Sorry for your loss.
Lucille, so wonderful to hear from you here! Thank you for your kind words; Rick is missed, as is my father. So very good to know that Dad was an inspiration to you for music; that was certainly a big part of our family life.
Yes Lynn…and the inspiration your dad instilled in my has been passed on to my son, Brian. I truly am saddened by Eric’s passing. The years have gone by too fast.
Good to know that your son loves music! Didn’t you play trumpet in the band?
Yes, Rick’s passing was unexpected and too soon.
Hi Lynn – Yes, I did play trumpet (cornet) at WTHS. Your dad taught me starting in 4th grade. My husband found a French horn for me so I have some fun with that now from time to time. I wish I could have had many more years of your dad’s teachings and influence. Keep your blog and gardens flourishing! Your writings are beautiful, as are your gardens. P.S. I have the Bachemberg cookbook!
Thanks, Lucille. I will tell my Mom about the cookbook; she’ll be thrilled to hear that – some mighty good recipes in there 🙂
That is a beautiful song and tribute to your brother, Lynne
Thank you, Helen.
Oh my. Eric was such a treasure!! I had no idea he had pursued music as a major. What a blessing!! He was so on the ball!! I was looking forward to seeing him this year along with hopefully many others that attended WTHS before merging with KAHS.
Thank you for your kind words, Erika, and for taking the time to visit his tribute.
This is a wonderful tribute. My condolences.
Thank you, Meghan; this is our first Christmas without him, bittersweet. Thank you for taking time to comment; I hope you keep your blog going, very important issues that you grapple with.
I am so sorry for your loss, Lynn. What a special gift he had to share giving voice to those who are so often unheard. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute. Peace and gentle healing to you.
Thank you, Audrey, I appreciate your kind words.
My condolences at this time of sorrow for you and your family. Good memories are all that remain with us; may you find comfort in having such great ones!
Thank you diversitfolius, and you are exactly right, great memories are just that and wonderful to have.
A beautiful song – I am sorry to read of the loss of your brother. It sounds like he was a great man and gave much of himself during his life.
Eliza, thank you for your kind words. He was a wonderful brother.
A beautiful tribute indeed. I never know what to say or write at times like this; everything that comes to mind seems so banal and unintentionally perfunctory. But do accept my condolences and know that they are sincere.
Kerry, just taking the time to write something means a lot, thank you.
Lynn and Bill, I am so sorry to hear of your brother’s passing. From what I have just read, I am sure I would have loved to have known him. What a special soul! You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you, David – I think the two of you would have appreciated each other’s sense of humor 🙂
What a lovely tribute to your brother and the great good he did in the world. His spirit and the energy he shared lives on in these students and all those he touched, and so changed. It sounds like he called hearts to joy and peace; we need these people in the world–God, how we need them–and I am grateful, so very grateful, for Rick, and for you, Lynn. Gentle peace and deep healing. Love, Kitty
Thank you for your kind words, Kitty, they mean a lot.
Lynn, he sounds like he was a special spirit. Teaching music to the deaf and blind……….what a wonderful way to share his gifts. God’s Peace to you and your family.
Thank you, Cindy – he had a gift for music.
Thank you sharing this beautiful piece. I heard of Rick for many years through my folks, as they would casually speak of your family. My folks affectionately respected your parents and of course their children. After all we are always their children.
Rest in peace Rick.
Thank you for visiting and commenting, Marydale – I’m sure my mother will appreciate your comments as well.
How moving. I am so glad for the magic of the internet and sharing stories on our blogs that I could meet your amazing brother and hear this wonderful song. 67 is too young, and the world is lesser for his loss.
Thank you, Bernadette – it is all about the stories, isn’t it?
So sorry to hear your sad news.
Beautiful tribute to your dear brother.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and Bill
Barbara, thank you for stopping by and sharing your kind words.
A beautiful song Lynn, and a touching tribute. Very sorry for your loss.
Thank you, Linda.
Lovely dedication: my condolences at this sad time.
Thank you, beeseeker.
What a lovely tribute to your brother and the joy you shared. May you find comfort and peace of heart over the coming days.
Thank you, Joss. This is the memory of him that stood out for me and one to keep.