The 49ers Chorus lost a member of their music family this week when our former accompanist, Janet Taylor, passed away after a battle with breast cancer. Janet joined the chorus in 1977 as the accompanist. I think many 49ers, myself included, thought that Janet had always been accompanying the 49ers. Here, Kris McGuckin, who worked with Janet the longest as chorus director, echoes those sentiments:
“When I thought about it, I couldn’t really remember when Janet joined the chorus as the accompanist; she was just always there. Like most of us, she made a long term commitment to a close knit group of singers-turned-family. When I went through my book of programs, I found that Janet joined the 49ers in 1977, the year my husband, John, and I were show chairmen for Christmas. Our friendship and professional association began then and there. By the time I became the director of the group in 1989, Janet and I were a working team, having long since developed the respect and trust needed for the road ahead. When I retired from the chorus in 2005, Janet stayed on and continued to contribute her time and considerable talents to an organization she loved.
I will surely miss my friend, but I can imagine that heaven has already welcomed her into the musical fold. Good decision. God bless you, Janet.”
I really don’t have much to add to what Kris said. I will say this: when I took over the directorship of the chorus in 2006, Janet was instrumental in helping me understand what it was to be a) a part of the 49ers and b) to be the director of the 49ers. She gave me advice when I needed it, was a sounding board for my frustrations, and supported all my musical decisions, even the ones that she didn’t entirely agree with. But that is the relationship that a director and accompanist have. It is an integral part of making music together, and Janet loved to make music. It is not too hard to imagine Janet tickling the ivories once more, accompanying a heavenly chorus as they welcome her into their midst. She was a good friend to me, and especially to the Chorus. I will miss her. Rest well, my friend.
Greg Givler, Director – The 49ers Chorus