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In loving memory of Mary K. Friday

Mary K. Friday at the Potomac River Sacred Harp Singing Convention, 1998.


        MARY K. FRIDAY died on March 17, 2001, at the age of 58.
From her Death Notice:
        She is survived by her mother, Fredda Goodman, of Mesa, AZ; brothers, James Goodman, Madison, WI; Douglas Goodman, Mesa AZ, and William Goodman, San Francisco, CA; ex-husband and friend, Paul Friday; nephews, Geoffrey, Michael, Robert and Roe; and niece Julia.
        [Retired] Manager of the Computer Applications Branch of the International Statistical Programs Center for the Census Bureau, she was an enthusiastic Contra and English Country dancer, organizer and caller with many musical accomplishments and talents.
        The victim of an unexpected, massive stroke, she died dancing, the way she would have wanted it.
        A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 5, at 3 p.m. at St. Alban's Church on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral.
        In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to:
The Country Dance and Song Society
132 Main ST PO BOX 338
Haydenville MA 01039

        The song I most associate with Mary Kay, from the monthly singings, is "Africa" (178). She's the one who first nudged me and got me to count those last 2 treble notes right. But mainly I remember her leading it, that delicate way she beat 3 -- I heard someone describe it as "patting clouds." Her quiet grace is summed up for me in the way she led that song.
        And I think the words are lovely for the occasion -- no fear, just joy for her now.
           - Alix Baillie

        Mary Kay Friday was active in both the Baltimore Folk Music Society and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. She was an essential member of the Potomac River Sacred Harp Singers. Others will step in to perform the many tasks for which we have we have relied on her, but no one can replace her bright and gentle spirit. She will be sorely missed.
        Mary Kay served on the planning committee for our annual convention for several years. She was Vice-Chair in 1996, the year I was Chair. Mary Kay was a wonderful support to me then; I could not have functioned without her. She served as Chair in 1997, assistant Secretary in 1998, and as head of the Housing and Transportation Committee in 2000.
        On April 5, well over four hundred friends of Mary Kay Friday attended her memorial service at St. Alban's Church in Washington, DC. About 32 Sacred Harp singers filled the front four pews on one side, and there were many more mixed into the congregation. Several members of Mary Kay's family and many friends and co-workers shared the amazing variety of her interests and passions; each of us learned much about her that we had not known. Her mother, speaking from her wheelchair without a microphone, movingly led us to pray in thanks to God for Mary Kay's life. My feelings of grief and loss were poignantly mixed with love, gratitude, and a sense that in many ways Mary Kay is still with us.
        Sharon McKinley of Baltimore spoke of her experience of singing Sacred Harp with Mary Kay, and led "Wondrous Love." I spoke for the Sacred Harp Singers in general, especially the Potomac River, Baltimore, Richmond, and Northern Shenandoah singers. We also sang "Africa," "Windham," and "Soar Away" from the Sacred Harp, "Angel Band" from Christian Harmony, and "Pohick" by P. Dan Brittain. The songs were chosen by Liz Cusick, Sharon McKinley and me from songs submitted by singers who knew Mary Kay and had taken note of some of her favorites or researched past Minutes books. Special thanks go to Mary Ann Daly, who for years has been making notes in her book on who led which songs at the monthly singings!

        The sound was glorious; we got many enthusiastic compliments, and I know we attracted at least one new singer. Our songs and the recollections of Mary Kay were interspersed with instrumental dance music.

        We had been prepared to do more singing at the reception, but chose to mingle with Mary Kay's family and her other friends instead. Singing Sacred Harp would have meant preventing conversation or removing ourselves to some distance. Instrumental dance music was provided by some of those friends. After the food was cleared away, Tim Slattery sang "Lord of the Dance" by Sydney Carter as the assembly joined hands and danced through the hall, in memory of Mary Kay's participation in the Washington Revels. Then came waltzing and English country dances, in memory of her passion for dancing.

        As we were driving away, Tim remarked, "It was a beautiful service, and there were a lot of nice people there, but, on the whole, I wish it hadn't happened."

        Here is a list of the singers whose presence I noted and whose names I recalled. There were some less-known to me whose names I can't recall, and I'm sure there were many more I did not recognize or see in the crowd. I wish I could get a look at that guest book to find some of the other names.... Anyway, here's a partial list: Caroline Arlington, Guy Bankes, Gillie Campbell, Liz Cusick, Mary Ann Daly, Marty De Nys, Mary L. De Nys, Charles Deering, Gail Doss, Frank Evans, Jeannine Finton, Phyllis Gonigam, Edward Hall, Dottie Hurley, Miriam Kilmer, Sharon A. McKinley, Elise Meyer-Bothling, Blake Morris, Nancy Mulenex, Peter Pate, Deborah Patton, Steven L. Sabol, Peter Schenk, Tim Slattery, Janine Smith, Mimi Stevens, Jim Strube, Pat Temple, Cathy Tucker, Tom Tucker, Fritz von Fleckenstein, Ruth von Fleckenstein, Jim Wantland, Leanne Wiberg, and Mary Wright.

        Thank you all, named and un-named, for swelling the sound. Thanks also to The Sacred Harp Publishing Company, Ella Wilcox, and MENC: The National Association for Music Education for 500 photocopies from The Sacred Harp

            - Miriam A. Kilmer

Memorial Service Details  Germantown Country Dancers' Tribute  Sandy Rotenberg's Reflections  Tanya Rotenberg's Memories

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