Memorial for Jim Casey
Berkner High Class of 2007

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Jim Casey
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Jim Casey, husband on choir teacher, Glenda Casey ~

The celebration of Jim Casey’s life on Thursday, May 10, 2007 was attended by 600-700 people (my estimate), perhaps more. About equally represented were the choral directors and the barbershoppers.

The service opened with the playing of "Jesus Loves Me" as recorded by Jim and orchestrated by my son, Clark and the remainder of the service was led by Phil McShan ( member of the VM and former director of the Texas Millionaires ).

After Phil's welcome, the congregation joined in singing "All Creatures Of Our God And King" followed by a Life Message delivered by Phil.

I was honored to speak about Jim's barbershop "career"; how he got started; keeping him in the Society ( after each Tidelander rehearsal on Monday, I would get a call on Tuesday morning and Jim would say something about someone telling him how he was not supposed to sing pretty, and then demonstrate to him how to sing "barbershop"… I would then say, "Imagine what our quartets and choruses would sound like if we sang with the vocal quality you would like to hear…" ); how he evolved into one of the premier coaches in the barbershop world - both men and women, and his legacy in our hobby: I said that every time I hear our current top choruses and quartets sing I hear the influence of his teaching. Not only did he 'imagine' how we could sound, he used his incredible teaching gifts to make it happen; and therefore he would always be with us.

The best line of the day was spoken by Brad White. Brad directed the Texas Choral Directors Chorus in singing "Kyrie" from Mass in G by Schubert, and "Deep River". He then reminisced about having Jim as his high school choir director. His opening remark was "I am looking at a room filled with two kinds of people. Those that sing with and those that sing without vibrato."

A quartet with members from MaxQ, Makin’ Waves, and Acoustix sang "I'll Walk With God." All goosebumps from yours truly.Phil then read a message entitled "From Glenda" where she told about her love for and life with Jim which was very moving. I told Phil afterwards I was so glad he read it because I would never have made it through the message without becoming a puddle.

Following the tribute from Glenda, the VM sang "You Raise Me Up" and "God Be With You," and represented us all in their usual wonderful fashion.

Cindy Hansen Ellis then shared coaching experiences with us that she and Jim had experienced. Some of them associated with coaching FRED, who were represented at the service by Clay Hine.

Cindy’s remembrance was followed by Rudy Gatlin who talked about Jim as his choir director and friend. Rudy mentioned about how every time he and Jim would get together they would sing "Sweet Hour Of Prayer”; and that when he had a rough cut of the Gatlin's new gospel recording which includes that song, he played it for Jim and they both shared some tears. He then said, "That recording is now available on *****.com." Leaning over the podium in the direction of the casket he said, "Sorry, Jim, but I just could not avoid taking advantage of a marketing opportunity like this!" Then he played that track singing his part live.Ok, it worked. I will have to buy that CD.

We then listened to "Precious Lord" as recorded by Jim, again orchestrated by my son…

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