Remarks for the Memorial Service in Honor of Esther Lederberg

by Fredrick Palmer

My name is Frederic Palmer, and I am music director of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Esther was also an amateur musician, having played recorder in this orchestra since its inception in 1962. Now the term "amateur" has come to have a somewhat negative connotation, but the word is derived from the Latin, "amare," meaning "to love." An amateur is someone who pursues any endeavor for the sheer love of it. This was Esther's motivation for playing the recorder: she loved the instrument and the music written for it. She loved going to concerts and attending music workshops. She loved being involved with musical organizations and participated in the administration of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra, serving as president for several years.

One of the frustrations of anyone directing a musical ensemble made up of volunteers is wondering who will show up for rehearsals and if all of the parts will be adequately covered. I never had to worry about Esther. Even after her health began to fail and she was required to use a walker, Esther selcome missed one of the orchestra's meetings, and she insisted on playing in the concerts that the orchestra presented despite her limited mobility, which must have proved a major inconvenience for her.

The last time the members of the orchestra and I spoke with Esther was at our meeting on November 8, three days before she passed away. Esther, of course, was playing her alto recorder as usual, and I am sure she was looking forward to taking part in the orchestra's concert this coming Saturday. I think this is the most fitting tribute to Esther: that she was doing what she loved to do up to the very end. It shows all of us the indomitable spirit of a truly extraordinary woman.

Now three members of the Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra would like to share with you those sounds that Esther loved so much.

Actual Copy of Fred Palmer's Speech


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