In memory of Ana Grace Marquez-Greene
Northampton’s Jazz Workshop remembered 6-year-old Ana Grace Marquez-Greene on Tuesday night. Paul Arslanian and George Kaye, pianist and bassist respectively with the host Green Street Trio, introduced the evening with a few words in memory of Ana, who was killed on Friday in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, CT. Tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart, who was this week’s guest soloist and who’s known Ana’s father Jimmy for years, opened the performance with a tender reading of Billy Strayhorn’s ballad, “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing.”
Throughout the evening, a photograph (see below) of Ana Grace, her brother Isaiah, and Jimmy that was taken in August when Greene played in Northampton was displayed on the bandstand. Sympathy cards were available for people to add their sentiments, and care baskets overflowed with donations. All in all, it was a moving expression of a community’s sense of love and loss for a girl whom few knew personally, but whose presence in the room on August 7 would have been remembered under any circumstances.
Back in August, Ana Grace and Isaiah sat at a front table, perfectly poised, sipping chocolate milks, Ana occupied with a coloring book. Jimmy introduced them as "my roadie and manager," and when he wasn't soloing, he gazed at them with a serene look of love and contentment, much as he looked at life. No one in that night's packed house will forget Ana and Isaiah, so there are lots of locals feeling additional grief over the news from Newtown.
Here’s a video clip of Ana Grace and Isaiah singing "Come Thou Almighty King." The family has asked friends to “share this far and wide. Let the world know the victims - not the shooter.”
When I wrote about Jimmy this summer, I titled the story, "Welcome Home, Jimmy Greene." For the rest of us, Jimmy seemed like a man in exile during the three years he'd spent living and teaching in Manitoba. But Jimmy is a man of faith, and he made a strong connection with the Whyte Ridge Baptist Community Church in Winnipeg, so the necessities of buying an engine block heater and warmer clothes, not to mention being a long way from home and the NYC scene, were taken in stride. Then a new job at Western Connecticut State University brought him home this summer, and we were all delighted. Now this unimaginable horror...
Jimmy plays soprano saxophone on his composition "Ana Grace," which he recorded in 2009. He's heard with guitarist Lage Lund; pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland. Alas, this sweet, lyrical work is now an elegy for his beloved daughter.
Here is a statement released by the Marquez-Greene family:
Ana is survived by her father, Jimmy Greene, a jazz saxophonist and an assistant professor of music at Western Connecticut State University; her mother, Nelba Márquez-Greene, program coordinator for the Family Therapy Institute at Klingberg Family Centers and Central Connecticut State University adjunct faculty; and her brother Isaiah, a happy, intelligent and musical boy who loves hockey and very much misses his sister. She will be missed dearly by her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and scores of friends.
Ana's love for singing was evident before she was even able to talk. In a musical family, her gift for melody, pitch and rhythm stood out remarkably. And she never walked anywhere — her mode of transportation was dance. She danced from room to room and place to place. She danced to all the music she heard, whether in the air or in her head. Ana loved her God, loved to read the Bible and loved to sing and dance as acts of worship. We ask that you pray for the legions of people who are left behind to cherish memories of her.
(Ana Grace, Isaiah, and Jimmy at the Clarion, Northampton, MA, August 7, 2012; photo by Sally Harkay)
Nelba Márquez-Greene said she hopes the tragedy of the school shooting will bring a greater awareness to mental health issues and to reduce the stigma attached to those with mental illness, perhaps preventing tragedies like the one that took Ana's life. Information on how those with mental illness can get help can be found at www.aamft.org.
A funeral service for Ana Grace will be held on Saturday, Dec. 22 at The First Cathedral, 1151 Blue Hills Ave., Bloomfield, Conn. Friends and relatives of the family are invited. Ana's parents, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Márquez-Greene, have asked that donations in her memory be made to one's choice of three funds:
• The Ana Grace Márquez-Greene Family Therapy Fund, care of the Outpatient Clinic/Family Therapy Institute, Klingberg Family Centers, 370 Linwood St, New Britain, CT 06052 orhttps://npo.networkforgood.org/Donate/Donate.aspx?npoSubscriptionId=1001402&code=klingberg+home+page
• The Artist’s Collective, 1200 Albany Avenue, Hartford, CT 06112 http://artistscollective.org/
• The Ana Grace Márquez-Greene Music Scholarship Fund, care of Western Connecticut State University, Office of Institutional Advancement, 181 White St., Danbury, CT, 06810 or http://www.wcsu.edu/ia/greene-scholarship.asp;
In addition, friends have set up a fund to support the Marquez-Greene family at http://anagracefund.imageworksllc.com/
For friends in Canada, the following options are also available to participate in honoring Ana:
• The Ana Grace Márquez-Greene Memorial Bursary, care of The University of Winnipeg Foundation, 901 - 491 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada R3B 2E4 or http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/donate-now
• A live satellite feed of Saturday’s church service will be broadcast in Grant Memorial Baptist Church, 877 Wilkes Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba. The funeral starts at 11 am (Manitoba time) and will be preceded by a brief welcome and prayer.
Cards for the Márquez-Greene family may be sent to WCSU, Department of Music, 181 White St., Danbury, CT 06810 or to Klingberg Family Centers at 370 Linwood St., New Britain, CT 06052.