Sunday, April 19, 2015
Thank you very much for joining us here to celebrate the life of Anne with her father, Peter, the rest of her family and all of her friends and loved ones, including of course, my friend and Anne’s long time man, Adam Hesed.
My name is Brett Underwood. I’ve been an Anne fan since I met her through the music scene back in the NADINE days, after she returned from New Mexico where she had enjoyed much success with HAZELDINE.
Shawn Barton, her friend, roommate and bandmate in HAZELDINE wrote, “Anne knew Claudia and I were starting a band, so she bought a bass and learned how to play it. When we were accepted to SXSW, she bought a van and drove us there. She made my first wedding bouquet, then she drove to Colorado from St. Louis to help me pack and leave that first husband. She made catfood from scratch and loved whiskey and her parents and knitting and playing music and overalls and St. Louis and Adam”.
I, personally, came to know and love her as the angel that she was and is, really. Every one of her subsequent St. Louis bands played at the Schlafly Tap Room, where I tend bar and promote music and it was an honor to be asked by Anne and Adam and the rest of her band, MAGIC CITY to pen the ridiculously fun “liner notes” to their one-and-only full length album on Gotta Groove Records.
As many have said, it was an honor to work and play with Anne in any way.
I’ve spent the past several days reading and listening to other people's experiences and friendships with her and this is all more-or-less a collection of those memories.
Of course, Anne Tkach was “family” to many outside of her blood family -- her bandmates, local showgoers, the customers and coworkers at Wild Oats and then Local Harvest and those in the world of sustainable food.
She was also a supporter to many in the arts scene.
She served many in so many ways as a friend, a teacher, a guardian, a confidante, a source of wisdom, relief, and inspiration.
Early on, a classmate wrote, she was known to take time out to say something to a random goofball in the hallways of Webster Groves High…and the musical community, especially on the South Side of St. Louis, consists of oddballs, freaks and misfits.
Believe me, that’s a good thing and Anne knew it, too.
She approached life at once with incredible dedication and fierce stubbornness.
SHE WAS TOUGH, but may have been the kindest any of us have known.
If you were lucky, you were in on her sense of humor. You were rewarded with her laugh, her guffaws, her smirks, her raspberries and even the occasional belch and certainly an acutely thought provoking commentary.
To be close to her was to be locked into her blue-eyed gaze.
If need be, you were gently put in your place with a charming, if irreverent quip.
A fellow musician wrote, “Anne was warm, and kind, and smart, and always had that look like she knew something you didn’t. Comfortable in her own skin. Effortlessly cool. Beautiful.”
She was quick to share/shrug off the spotlight, praise, and attention. She left you feeling: seen, heard, welcomed and appreciated as a player, a musician, an artist, a co-worker, a human being.
That combination of talent and humility is exceedingly rare.
To Anne, though, that was all part of the work and the celebration of life…and she did see work and play as a celebration, in particular referring to work in a recent letter to a friend as “a balm of the soul”, adding “ I realize how important it is for us to take care of ourselves, how important it is to connect with each other, how important it is to respect each others' boundaries, to communicate, to hold the space for growth, to listen, to lead by example...so much. I just want to move into the future with integrity and respect and love.”
Anne was a musician admired by those that witnessed her majesty as much as any musician in town. On bass, on drums, as a vocalist armed by what one referred to as a paradoxically fragile and sinewy voice, as a songwriter or simply strumming a guitar, her versatility was remarkable.
She was as comfortable sitting around in bib overalls knitting as she was in a dress, rocking out in a club, duckwalking across stage.
Few musicians had her reach, or energy, or comfort jumping in and out of genres.
Anne Tkach was a dream.
She didn't just play with dozens and dozens of musicians and bands in St. Louis and elsewhere. She believed in them, supported them, worked for them and inspired them…and she was in some of the finest bands in town.
The world doesn't often give you someone so magical, smart, crazy, talented, dedicated, fun, challenging, perfectly imperfect, and alive in all ways. And before you can say "Thank you" the world takes them away again.
Now her powers are legendary and her friends are a nation.
“In a way,” one fellow musician said, “the way she died, it’s like we all got struck by lightning.”
RAINER MARIA RILKE
We know nothing of this going away,
that shares nothing with us.
We have no reason, whether astonishment and love or hate,
to display Death, whom a fantastic mask of tragic
lament astonishingly disfigures.
Now the world is still full of roles which we play
as long as we make sure, that, like it or not,
Death plays, too, although he does not please us.
But when you left, a strip of reality broke upon the stage
through the very opening through which you vanished:
Green, true green, true sunshine,
We continue our play.
Picking up gestures now and then, and
anxiously reciting that which was difficult
but your far away,
removed out of our performance existence,
sometimes overcomes us, as an awareness
descending upon us of this very reality, so that
for a while we play Life
rapturously, not thinking of any applause.
I had lots of help.
Thomas Crone's writing was a lovely insight into the life of Anne at Webster Groves High School. Besides the guidance of Roy Kasten, Chris King and a "roundtable" in Adam's kitchen, there were countless posts on Anne's Facebook page. I am grateful, too, for all those who visited the Schlafly Tap Room on the night that MAGIC CITY was to play...just two nights after that lightning storm. I thought it best to capture as many thoughts as I could, spending several hours gleaning, copying and pasting. Shawn Barton from Hazeldine, Chris Ward from KDHX and another friend, who shared with me a letter than Anne had penned to her recently, were especially enlightening.
Oh, and the lightning quote is from Robin Allen.
Another dear friend suggested the Rilke poem.
I got to meet a lot of people who were part of Anne's life on Saturday. That probably wouldn't have happened if they had not seen me on the altar. I helped a lot of people cry yesterday.
I hope you're well.