"HEAVEN IS ONE BEAUTIFUL PLACE I KNOW"
The immortal William Warfield "shuffled off this mortal coil" early Monday morning, August 26, 2002. Hours earlier, the Schiller Institute's Terry and Sheila, Mindy, Leah and others, visiting him at the hospital, worked with him on Brahms, gave him a shave, and told jokes. Bill was planning what he would cook for Thanksgiving dinner for relatives and close friends; those who were lucky enough to know first hand, will testify that he was a devastatingly good cook.
In short, Bill Warfield, weakened by multiple health problems in recent months, was Bill Warfield, Teacher and Master Story-Teller, wringing a rollicking joy out of every moment. Those that urged, with right-minded concern, that Bill "slow down," were admonished by wiser heads, that if he were to "slow down," that would be the worst thing for him. For those that were privileged to watch a Warfield performance of Schubert's "Die Erlkoenig," the which was a model for the art of recitation, with its multiple voicings, as well as rich visual character-changes, the one thing that you knew that Bill had understood from that story was its moral--Don't Slow Down!
Bill Warfield worked with the Schiller Institute from the time that he first met us at the National Association of Negro Musicians Conference, in August 1993. An autographed copy of his book, My Music And My Life, dedicated to Lynne Speed, says, "Sincere regards and keep up the fight--A=430." He played a central role in the work of the National Conservatory of Music Movement from that time.
His joining the Board of the Schiller Institute at the request of Helga LaRouche, as well as his endorsement of LaRouche's Presidential campaigns, made him so familiar a figure at our conferences, that one forgot that this was one of the most sought-after music teachers in the world. His time spent with our members, urging them to think as Bach, as Schubert, as Schumann, thought, was as important to him as appearing at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, or Lincoln Center in New York.
William Warfield was possessed with the passion to convey Happiness, that is, a joyful triumph over adversity--that quality without the which, no great art is possible. It was Schiller's Idea of Joy, that he embodied. He told many of us, the story of the rehearsal of a Bach piece, conducted by Pablo Casals, at the immediate conclusion of the which, a silently crying Casals, declared to the reverentially silent orchestra, chorus, and soloists: "Aren't we fortunate to be musicians!"
Aren't we fortunate to have known, and worked with Bill Warfield! "Weep not! He's not dead. He's resting in the arms of Jesus." Or, maybe not. Maybe he's singing, "I keeps laughin', instead of cryin', And I'll keep fightin' until I'm dyin'...." That's what he did, after all. And no one could sing about that, better than Bill Warfield.
Sing on, Bill!
|At Lyndon LaRouche's 75th Birthday Celebration, 1997||Coaching Amateur and other Singers at a Houston Workshop, with Sylvia Olden Lee|
|Washington, DC 1993 Schiller Institute Concert with Robert McFerrin, Kehembe, George Shirley and Rev. James Cokley.||Speaking to farmers, teachers, and interested people at an informal briefing in between panels at the 1996 Schiller Institute conference|
Discussing the Bach Chorales (from St. Matthews Passion) with the Schiller Institute Chorus in the mid-1990s
|1993- Working through every word of the "Dichterliebe"|
|Sharing the podium with LaRouche at the Founding Conference of The National Conservatory of Music Movement , May, 1994||Celebrating his 80th Birthday with Friends|