There are two women who consistently assisted in my sanity while I housed myself in the music building during my college years: Wanda and Libby. I worked in the Fine Arts Department, and Wanda was my boss. She was such a rock those three years. Wanda is the kind of person that always has a compassionate response and a hug for a tear. She handles some crazy tasks there in that cramped office space, and yet always has time to listen to students’ concerns and happy stories.
Most afternoons, her office consisted of her scrambling to take care of ever-incoming projects while at least 4 students sat on the floor or on the couch in front of her desk. The music students always cleaned out her candy dish of chocolate, leaving the hard candy to rot. She kindly replenished this supply when it got low so that the students would have enough chocolate to break their frenzied practice sessions. So many times she had a funny joke or prank to share. I cannot remember how many times Noelle, Wanda and I (and even Casey when she joined our team) played jokes on staff and students. She made work enjoyable as well as eventful.
Libby was my faithful accompanist. She was always prepared with a smile on her face, ready to help me work through music, no matter how difficult it was. She was so great with all her vocalists. There were times when I wanted to scream b/c I couldn’t conquer a phrase, but she would make me stop to breathe and then try again. Sometimes she would schedule extra rehearsals with me just to help…and that was off the clock for her. One day, I came to rehearsal so very stressed that I couldn’t think straight. She sat and asked me a few questions and then said to me, “Andria, if the dishes don’t get done, it’s okay. If you don’t hang up your laundry right away, they will survive. You put too much pressure on yourself. Give yourself time to relax. Don’t expect more of yourself than you should give.”
That conversation has changed my life, in all honesty. I accomplished more that year than ever before because of her encouragement and wisdom.
Libby and Wanda, I thank you for your love. How awesome to know that they continue to be a strength and support for other musicians over the years. May God bless them abundantly!