My sister sent me a link to the following article on Dick Wesp, my former choir director at high school in Cincinnati Ohio. He passed away quite suddenly this week. He was a wonderful teacher and made a great impact on all the students that came through in his 57 years of teaching. A few years ago, I was reflecting on his influence in my life around the holiday season and I felt the need to write him a note of appreciation. Below is the correspondence we had in the winter of 2009. It was 10 years after I graduated high school. Mr. Wesp, thank you for all the wonderful memories you made for us. You are truly a teacher who changed lives and I hope that truth has been confirmed now that you are in a better place. You will be missed by more people than you will ever know. You've left a legacy behind you and instilled songs inside our hearts that will never leave us.
Dated December 13, 2009
"Mr. Wesp, This is Luke Parrott, one of your students who graduated in 1999. I just wanted to say a special thank you to you this Christmas season. You planted songs in my heart for my four years of high school choir that will never escape me. Especially those for this time of year. I am blessed to be able to carry a bass note and join a group of carolers spreading the warmth of Christmas to those all over our little town here in Durango, Colorado. This all because of your tremendous dedication and patience. You planted beautiful songs in my heart. My fondest of memories come from the christmas concert we would perform each year. Little things like singing the 3rd verse of ‘Silent Night’ while building the power of the song with a crescendo into “Son of God (breath), loves pure light (no breath). Radiant beams from...” Or walking into the auditorium singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. And never remembering all the words throughout rehearsals. But it was always such a powerful experience during the concert. Most appreciative am I of a little song you taught us that has become my favorite Christmas song of all time. One of which most of my friends and family have never heard. “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”. Singing that song down at Taft Theatre with the Symphony Orchestra was a memory I will always recall around Christmas. I just wanted you to know this Christmas what a blessing your work has achieved in my life. The power of these songs will never leave my memory. Because of you there is always a beautiful song carrying in my heart, especially this time of year. The songs you chose always drew me closer in to the beauty of what Christmas is all about. The joyful birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for hiding these melodies in my heart. I wish you a very merry Christmas, Mr. Wesp.
His response Dated December 14, 2009
Many thanks for your email. Your comments mean a great deal more to me than you will every know. As one of my close friends always says, you never really know what things that you say and do that have a lasting affect on students. Thanks for sharing your memories. Hopefully, we're still creating meaningful memories for students. Thanks also for the picture of the Parrott's. May you all ave a wonderful Christmas and the best year yet in 2010.