“A Lament For A Friend” - for Bill Martin, and Nancy too, and too many others to list
No doubt there’s far too much melodrama in this, but having lost nights of sleep over it all I seem to be in a particularly melancholic and melodramatic state of mind right now, though I do seem to keep punctuating it with jolly dance tunes too, but minus the usual dancing or stepping around simultaneously. And I missed Lancaster and David Lyth’s annual do, lots and lots of Irish music, and friends too…
Daft! This I know and don’t need to be told. One of our most favourite people to share a tune or a thought with, to share life with, and even at a distance we continued to correspond weekly, Bill Martin, has lost his battle against the big ‘C’, cancer, one of the rarer forms of multiple myeloma. But damned did he put up an amazing fight, and he squeezed so much into the little time left him after that awful diagnosis, continuing with life, with doing the things he enjoyed, with supporting the local music and dance in his community, with giving… What compounds all this is that his wife, also dear to us, lost a similar battle only a few years back, muiltiple cancers, though undoubtedly because of her addiction to smoking, Nancy Martin, who, while we caused each other some aggravation, was family to us. The love between us all was boundless, and any distance of time or geography never seemed to change that.
Almost losing my wife is what brought me to this site originally, needing to distract myself with this other passion for music. Over time, if you were to check out my compositions, music has been a good friend while other friends have, like Billy, finished their time here, and there’s quite a few little ditties that have cropped up while thinking of these loved ones, but this is the first ‘lament’, so it is for them all, all those no longer around to chat with and have a laugh with, or share a passion, dream or a tear with. They will always be with me, and they make up some of the better parts of who I am, and they help me to curb and work on those parts that are not who I want to become. Bill is one of the best parts of who I am, and I hope that continues to grow and help to make me a better person, a better friend, a better citizen…
Hey, I did say I was in that kind of a mood… My wife and I have just lost someone we love very much… There’s music and dance tomorrow night, and he will be with us, and I’ll be playing one of Nancy’s tunes too, though this lament is a bit too personal for the moment and I can’t seem to play it without sobbing - adding to the melodrama… :-P
I play it both as an air and, as with other laments, as a kind of slow and steady march…
Not surprisingly the most recent tune that came to me thinking on Bill and his predicament, just two days ago, was a varsovienne, and I was finding myself stepping it out…
Something else Bill never gave up, and that we both appreciated, was the occasional moan. Well, I’m planning one for Bill. I couldn’t do it this Tuesday, and now, because the church needs the hall, it won’t be until the first Tuesday in October, the same week as I celebrate another year older, if not wiser. Anyway, I’m going to spring some old time on the group and call at least one square, maybe two, hell, I might get carried away in the spirit of Bill and give the whole night to it.
We’ve have an annual celebration like this. Every Tuesday in the same week or near as the 4th of July we give over to American music and dance. It’s also one of our several ‘Jacob’s Joins’ we throw throughout the year, though it takes on another name too ~ ‘American potluck & dance’, having done part of my apprenticeship under the guidance of Sandy Bradley… I can hear him moaning away ~ interspersed with chuckles…
Bill & Nancy Martin ~ some melodies in memory
Bill and Nancy brought considerably more joy into our lives than sorrow ~
"Dancin’ Nancy" / "Dancin’ Antsy" ~ mazurka
Submitted on May 19th 2005 by ceolachan.
"Wakin’ Nancy" / "Wakin’ Antsy" ~ jig
Submitted on November 1st 2005 by ceolachan.
"Bubba Martin’s Old Time Kick About" ~ hornpipe
Submitted on July 24th 2008 by ceolachan.
"Bubba Martin’s Waltz"
Submitted on March 6th 2009 by ceolachan.
"The Martin House Jig"
Submitted on March 21st 2011 by ceolachan.
"Billy On The High Ground" ~ hornpipe
Submitted on June 23rd 2011 by ceolachan.
"The Ceilidh House Jig" ( also for Big John Campbell)
Submitted on January 23rd 2012 by ceolachan.
"Bill Of Rights" / "Poke-A-Billy" ~ polka
Submitted on March 28th 2012 by ceolachan.
& this lament… tune #12169
Submitted on September 10th 2012 by ceolachan.
Also relevant to this ~
"Big John Campbell" ~ reel - a mutual friend
Submitted on October 2nd 2011 by ceolachan.
"A Dram At The Wake And Then We Dance" ~ polka - originally for a mutual friend
Submitted on November 21st 2008 by ceolachan.
"Dancin’ At The Gate" ~ barndance
Submitted on September 22nd 2004 by ceolachan.
"A March For Giving Thanks"
Submitted on November 25th 2008 by ceolachan.
“Joanie’s Jig” ~ C: Nancy Martin
Submitted on March 16th 2006 by ceolachan.
Bill’s website ~
An evening with Bill Martin (January 14, 1947 - September 7, 2012)
August 26th, 2012
At Legacy Hopewell House Hospice, Portland, Oregon
And a wee bit more ~
Not Your Grandparents Square Dance
The Martin Brothers - Joe, Bill & Tom ~ Brown’s Ferry Blues
Portland Old-time Music Gathering in Portland, Oregon on 1/15/2011
Oregon Music News ~ September 12, 2012
Square dance caller and old-time music mentor Bill Martin passes away from cancer
by December Carson
Bill Martin - part of the soul, spirit and heart in me
I wrote this just last night, part of an email to a friend ~
"The first name for it (this lament) that came immediately to mind was “A Lament for the ‘loss’ of a Friend”, but I honestly couldn’t accept the idea of ‘loss’. I don’t know how to explain that, but it isn’t a loss. I’m shaking my head as I write this, and now I’m laughing at myself. Bill will always be a part of us."