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Dear Mystic Chorale Community,
I am saddened to share the news that our beloved friend and tambourine wizard Annmarie Strazzullo passed away Tuesday morning, December 31, 2019, at Mass General Hospital, having been transferred there from the rehab in Medford where she was recuperating from the surgery she had had to strengthen her back. The cause of death was a heart attack. In the photo with Mary Gilbert and Penny Boyatt, Annmarie is seated in front of me.
I received the sad news from her minister, Pastor Gerry Desrochers. He had brought her lunch and was greatly shocked to find her empty bed. We are all stunned and deeply saddened.
A few days before Annmarie’s passing, Mystic board co-president Olivia Tappan and I joined Annmarie singing carols for thirty residents at the rehab. She was in good spirits, looking forward to going home, talking about how excited she was that she would be hearing James Taylor live at Fenway next summer.
Annmarie had planned on singing and playing in Jonathan Singleton’s upcoming Gospel season as well as our 30th Anniversary Celebration in May. For the concert I am writing a new piece called GLORIOUS that I will dedicate to Annmarie.
If you have sung in or attended a Mystic Chorale concert, you have heard Annmarie playing tambourine in the band. She took great pride in her playing, always adding joy.
As a Mystic volunteer, Annmarie helped make our website more accessible to the sight impaired community. She proofread programs and when people e-mailed or called the Mystic with questions, she was the one who answered those questions.
She will be best remembered for her intelligence and quick wit. A lifetime of blindness gave her an inner strength that few of us ever achieve. She never hesitated to speak her mind and we were always better off for it.
My enormous thanks go to members of the Mystic community who showed great kindness to Annmarie, visiting her when she was in rehabs over the last several years. Special thanks to Penny Boyatt, Molly Lynn Watt, Gwen Frankfeldt, Bev Roche, Lindsey Cretien, Erica Barrett Kenny and many others.
Here are some beautiful thoughts from Lindsay Cretien, better known to Mystic members as Scooter. In remembering Annmarie she writes, “I believe that in our lives, we make ripples like a stone being tossed into a pond. Some of the effects we know and see immediately. But some ripples slide away far across the water, bumping into other waves, changing their trajectory. Making changes we have no idea about. In this way, the love we give one another lives on. Her love will always touch us, and be a part of us and the world around us.”
To which I add Amen.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.