Free, free, free to fly away
I long to be so free ~Lynn Emberg Purse

youngrickMany 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.

rickworkshopRick 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