Sarah Flanigan 1995-2014
Here in the teeth of this triumphant wind
That shakes the naked shadows on the ground,
Making a key-board of the earth to strike
From clattering tree and hedge a separate sound,
Bear witness for me that I loved my life,
All things that hurt me and all things that healed,
And that I swore it this day in March,
Here at the edge of this new-broken field.
You only knew me, tell them I was glad
For every hour since my hour of birth,
And that I ceased to fear, as once I feared,
The last complete reunion with the earth.
On A March Day is a piece that is very dear to the members of the Foothill High School Choral Music Program and the North Tustin community as a whole. This piece was commissioned in 2015 to honor and commemorate our beloved student Sarah Flanigan who was suddenly taken away from us in March the previous year. At the time of her funeral, Sarah’s family accepted monetary donations in lieu of flowers and graciously donated the sum to the Foothill Choir. Choosing what to do with the donation was not difficult. Sarah loved singing and loved choir; therefore, the best way to continue her memory would be through music. Richard Burchard was contacted immediately and asked to compose Sarah’s song. His music touched Sarah and the FHS Madrigal Singers upon hearing “When David Heard” for the first time at the Chapman University Chamber Choir Festival. Many students were brought to tears by its beauty and emotional depth; it was obvious that Burchard would be the perfect choice for such a personal song. The text, by poet Sara Teasdale, portrays Sarah’s strength and willful spirit and offers an affirming message to those she left behind. Sarah had a spirit which will live on within our hearts and she will always be remembered as beautiful and kind-hearted, silly and hilarious, professional and poised while at the same time free-spirited, adventurous, and carefree. A friend to all, she encouraged everyone not to take life so seriously or be overly concerned with what others think and who reflected a radiant passion for life. Sarah’s world was music; it is befitting that her memory should continue to echo in song. On A March Day offers her musical family an opportunity to unite their voices in remembrance. So, for Sarah there will never be a final bow, her music will go on forever in the hearts of her friends.