261364_10150214281277452_218248_n Sunday night, while playing “For Good” (I really love that tune, btw), I began to think about my dear, dear friend Rachel Stornant. To be perfectly honest, I actually get a little misty every time I hear or play that tune. Rachel passed away nearly 4 years ago, and not a day goes by without me thinking about her. Seriously, there is something each day that makes me think of her.
Just the other day, as a matter of fact, I bought arguably one of the best pairs of shoes I’ve ever bought: Calvin Klein. emerald green, suede, peep toe, pumps. O M G they are fabulous. I figured it was some sort of sign from the universe that I needed to own those shoes, since I am playing “Wicked” after all … right? In addition to being a fabulous flutist, Rachel was a fashionista like no other, and had the most remarkable shoe collection known to woman. I can say without any hesitation, she is responsible for anything fashionable or truly cool that is or ever has been in my closet since 1987. And let me tell you, she’d be VERY proud of me for buying these shoes.

Anyway, as we were playing “For Good,” I finished the little alto flute line that I love playing – it’s so simple and yet such a beautiful little moment – put my alto on its peg, took my flute from its peg, sat back in my chair, and listened to Elphaba and Glinda sing their hearts out, while my eyes filled with tears. Listening to the lyrics, I thought about my friend. Like all relationships, we had our ups and downs, times when I thought we’d kill each other – like the time she came to stay with Steve and Auggie and I for a week and stayed for 5, in our 500 square foot house … with her adorable, loveable, snoring bulldog Scarlet. Or the countless times when we laughed so hard we nearly peed our pants – Michigan State Fair Honor Band ’87 and Mardi Gras ’92 both come to mind. 35113_1414699800639_3308448_n34447_403085787451_3943811_nOur hours of epic readings through Kuhlau duets were nothing short of legendary – well, for us they were. The years of culinary experiments in the kitchen were always a huge, delicious  success. Did I mention this woman could cook?!? Of course, each of these tasty adventures ended with my kitchen looking like a tornado just blew through it. Rachel was one of the kindest, most generous, genuinely funny, and terrifically talented friends I’ve ever had. She’d give you her last $5 if you needed it. If she had the space (and even if she didn’t), she’d have rescued every single stray cat or dog within a 100 mile radius. She’d travel hours to see you and call it a short detour. No-one kept me awake on the road better than her – we would call each other along our long commutes from gig to gig and gab for hours. I learned how to use my very first iPhone as a result of her educational, informational, long distance tutorial from Detroit. She snored louder than a bear (not that I’d know how loud a bear snores, but I have a good idea, anyway). She was fearless, had a sense of adventure like no-one else I know, and had a heart of gold.

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend…

How can it be that my best friend who pissed me off about 99% of the time when she was here, is now pissing me off 100% of the time because she’s gone? Be that as it may, I am 100% certain that she fully approves of these new shoes, and is with me, everyday, unconditionally. Love you, Stornanti.