Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Fine Memory!

The universality of remembrances of Marty as incredibly positive, funny, giving and joyful continued Monday night in a memorial service celebrating "not how he died, but how he LIVED!" My impressions of this stirring event:

Wow, wasn’t that great! Touching speeches. Margaret Marsh unable to hold back the tears. Marty Rosenberg speaking eloquently and remembering Marty as a Mensch. Jerry Jerome drawing an analogy between St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and Marty- the architect Christopher Wren’s monument is "all around you", as Marty’s was all around us, the 200+ people in Gordon Theater. Julianna Baird singing Ave Maria auf Deutsch, Marty’s best foreign language. Proclaiming that on a night honoring Marty, we cannot be still. His dear friend Joe Schiavo recounting their long history with humor and warmth- laughingly, at finding out that Marty was actually older than he; recounting Marty’s vanity; and recalling his wonderful relationship with so many people. Bob Ryan, an English professor with dysphonia (a neurological condition that causes strained, difficult speech), describing Marty’s coaching of him as so full of joy and laughter. Kyle Jacobowski, former student, speaking for the theater program and all Marty gave to it. Performing on behalf of the students, Melissa Tepperman and Mat Wright delivering a beautiful rendition of "For Good" from the Broadway musical Wicked. Nancy Ellis, Theater Instructor, connecting us to Marty through Shakespearean sonnet. Christina DeSanzo, his delightful Italian Instructor speaking ordinary prose so poetically in describing Marty. When complimented on her eloquence, giving Marty all the credit- the words came out like that because that was Marty’s life! Reciting the lyrics of an aria in its original Italian and then in English. The Rutgers-Camden Repertory Singers with a soulful rendition of “Forever Young” which finished with a backdrop of Marty performing, his recorded aria putting the finishing notes on the memorial service. Just as he finished his life performing, up in Vermont.

Then off to the reception and the opportunity to meet and get to know some of his many friends, his family. Joe Schiavo, his best friend. Jon’a Meyer, creator of the memorial website, born deaf, healed through an operation, who had been studying with Marty. Margaret, the minister from the Grace Lutheran Church on 4th and State in Camden, for whom Marty played organ, with her ever-smiling son Josef. His friend Rebecca Broberg, who inadvertently introduced him to Robert Kahn’s work by connecting Marty with David Greiner, Kahn's great-grandson, for their performances in Tutzing, Germany. Marty’s charming parents Sidney and Edna Dillow, both of whom welcomed me to stop by any time I was near Portsmouth. His sister Shauna Travis, who expressed repeatedly how nice it was to meet me, and all of us; brothers Steve, who expressed how even he, a football player with little interest in the arts, grew to love Marty’s work, and Micky, who was so happy for the gift this memorial was to his parents. All so warm, appreciative, joyful to celebrate his life as we were.

Even while commemorating such a life, one gropes for explanations: clever, profound, compassionate, timely words with which to sum up the cutting short. Casting about for such words, I said many things to many people that night. My favorite was to Camie Morrison, who manages the grant programs at Rutgers and had spent much time seeking money for Marty's applications. We wondered: he was so successful in his career--why now, when his success was about to take a quantum leap, had he been taken from us? I decided it was to bring all of us together to share the inspiration his life has been, and to renew the fires and passions in all of us to create art, to enjoy it, to live it! To live life artfully, as Marty did. To find, in all of us, the “art in yourself”, as Stanislavsky described it, and to let it shine.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Life and Remembrance

Life goes on, but first we will remember Marty this upcoming Monday, as noted on the touching website put up by Rutgers: In Memoriam: Martin Dillon.

Vermont News Article on the Tragedy

With apologies to anyone who might be troubled by the belated posting of this "news", I will explain: When I received the e-mail from our theater group's director of Marty's passing, I was shocked and refused to believe it. I searched everywhere on the internet for confirmation, and as I went longer and longer without finding any, a glimmer of hope emerged that maybe someone had gotten it all wrong. The folks at the Randolph Herald were kind enough to e-mail me a copy of the article from their August 25, 2005 print edition, which I otherwise would not have been able to access until a week later. As is characteristic of Marty, this article, too, reflects his absolute joy and passion for life. Singer Found Dead In Randolph, after Concert

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Today I got word that a website in honor of Marty may be forthcoming at Rutgers. Also, for those who don't already know, Rutgers is having a memorial ceremony on September 12 at 5 pm: Marty's Rutgers page.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Further thought on this blog

My inspiration for this blog was not only Marty but also a friend of mine from the Sacred Heart Church Community of Camden, NJ, Jeremy Sullivan. Jeremy is riding his bicycle cross country to raise money for the beautification of Waterfront South, the neighborhood surrounding the church: Jeremey's Journey. As he's traversed the country, I've seen posts from people everywhere, and it feels as if we all are united in support and harmony with him. Marty's group of friends being worldwide, I thought perhaps something similar could happen for him. Being inexperienced with blogging, I simply went with the inspiration to create one without much thought. On further thought, it occurs to me that a blog is the creation of one person, and what I'm really seeking to create/develop is the combined efforts of many people to honor him. Therefore, I ask readers, especially those of you who are more computer- and internet-savvy, please to offer suggestions of how we can do that within this context, or for a more appropriate one.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A couple of good links to get us started

When I first heard Marty had passed I couldn't believe it. So I scoured the internet for stories confirming or denying. Along with a few about his passing, I found a few about his artistry. So, I'm passing these along. Courier Obituary is an article from the South Jersey Courier Post about his passing. Another from his managers gives us a flavor of his active schedule. The links there take you to his bio and record label: Schedule, bio, photos. Still another from the preview of his most recent (now final) performance up at the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival: Festival Artists.

Feel free to chime in!


Rittenhouse Opera Society performance.

Marty's head shot.

This Blog - Raison d'etre

Hello readers! Marty was a friend whom I knew too briefly. This experience I share with many.

He accompanied (on piano) our choral ensemble in a concert I appeared in recently. His tireless work effort and ever-present smile made life better. As I have reached out to others who knew him, I discover that this experience, too, has been shared by many.

As with many shining stars, this one's path was interrupted. Hard as it may be, we must accept this but as I do, I thought to honor him by gathering such information as I could find, and asking others who knew him to add their thoughts, remembrances and wisdom.

Just now I got off the phone with Peter Standers, coordinator of the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival. Marty had just finished singing in the Festival's first week, which tragically will now be known as the final performances in a distinguished career. Mr. Standers reported that Marty had had a great time in Vermont and made great music. May we all end so happily.