There are many people in my little world (our little world) whom I have watched grow over the years. People whom I have admired. People with whom I grew up that have gone on to do wonderful things with their lives; contributing beauty and creativity in their own special way. People that were on staff at my ePublication, attributemagazine.com and have gone on to do wonderful thing or carve out new paths over the past few years. Then there are those whose life you inadvertently stumble into, finding yourself not wanting to leave.
Today I began adding links to websites for some of those people. Some, I will surprise as I mention them here, others will know in advance. A week or so after I decided to begin this new feature, a person to whom I owe much gratitude, passed away. William “Bill” Kick was my high school choir director. Four years of my life were spent under his expectant guidance. Not only did Mr. Kick shape my voice, he taught me things I didn’t realize until after I left his classroom.
His demand of respect for himself and the music, disciplined me in unexpected ways. His rigorously structured directorship turned a young Soprano’s voice from a girl’s to a woman’s, churning out a sound and power that shocks even me at moments. So much so that every voice teacher I have worked with since, usually briefly, has been somewhat amazed at my abilities as a singer despite my not having “formal” training…but I look at them and say, you didn’t know Mr. Kick. My four years as his student were difficult yet amazing. I will forever see his signature “raised eye-brow” and chuckle fondly at his over use of it (mostly for effect).
You might think from this that he and I got along famously; we did not. In fact, he seemed to always have a great deal of disdain for me and I never understood it, for I worked very hard and took it very seriously. I have thought about it a lot over the years and still have no answer other than maybe, just maybe, he didn’t believe I needed encouragement. If so, he was greatly mistaken.
I had always been encouraged and put in the spotlight, since elementary school, as a singer. My years with him were crucial to my emotional development as a singer and as much as I learned from him, I also experienced rejection by him. I ended up developing a terrible performance anxiety (only when singing) under his watch that stayed with me up until the past few years. I never gave up singing (I can’t it’s part of my design) but just stopped seeking center stage; instead opting to sing in choirs, mostly.
Regardless, I still respected greatly and credited this man with taking my God given talents to the next level. He was one of two high school teachers whom I also call mentors. I guess I strove a bit to reach his expectations and far exceeded anyone else’s. When people hear me sing they are usually surprised and full of compliments. I say thank you and then I think of Bill…
I find it quite ironic that at the exact time he exited this world, I am finally able to sing fearlessly in front of people again. I mean that quite literally. I find that my child-like boldness in that arena has returned and did so unexpectedly.
The day I found out Mr. Kick was nearing the end of his life I was shocked and deeply saddened. I got down on my knees and wept before God, forgiving him and praying for his journey – hopefully to Heaven. Many of his past students eulogized his memory on Facebook and on the Cincinnati Enquirer Legacy page in his obituary…all of us hoping that we will sing under his direction, again, one day. This time instead of as NRHS Troubadours, we would come together in song, as a heavenly choir…continuing your legacy, forevermore.
May you rest in peace after your battle with cancer, Mr. Kick. I am sure if Mozart and Handel are in heaven you are standing amongst them in awe and learning how to better your game for when we all come to meet up with and sing for you, once again!