I just received this email last Saturday. Nice:
Dear Mr. Samels,
I teach music theory at Columbia University and learned four years ago about your son's remarkable work as a musician and teacher. (I was invited to speak at Indiana University in the Robert Samels Visiting Scholar series.)
This morning I listened to his lovely album The Water is Wide (what marvelous arrangements), and his performance of Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten and other of his vocal performances. So beautiful! (I have researched the Seeger family for years, focusing on Pete's stepmother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, and it was a special pleasure to hear the title track of the album you released and How Can I Keep from Singing.)
In New York a few years ago, I met one of his former students from Indiana when she gave a paper in New York at a graduate student conference, and she mentioned what a remarkable teacher he was. I also read comments written by his former students about his teaching, and they were incredibly moving.
I send my deepest condolences on your loss of your son to you, your family, and his friends. He will be always remembered through his music as a composer, conductor, singer, and teacher, and his remarkable talent in teaching.
Ellie M. Hisama
Professor of Music
Fellow, Provost Leadership Fellows Program
Founding Director, For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound
On leave, 2019-20
Miss you, as always!
Another April 20th, and now, your 38th birthday.
I miss you every single day, not just the milestones.
Another Christmas Eve without you.
Robert, I just told a friend about you, how you were the greatest talent I met in my life. I will never understand your loss, but I will always be grateful for having known you.
I bought a regular Rubik"s cube on your birthday, just a 3x3. I still have that 5x5 cube from your desk. Did you know they have 6x6 and 7x7 cubes? I bet you would have been working on those, too.
I also went to Red Lobster and had a beer, a "tall one," which, considering your height, was somehow appropriate.
I sent Jake a link to the voice and laugh clip I made a couple years back. I also listened to Robert's laugh again, which made it easier to get through the day. Hope Dr. P's son's wedding went well, too!
Can almost hear your speaking voice today for some reason.
Another Christmas Eve. Another Christmas. Wish you were here (as always).
I spent your birthday cleaning my apartment, but that didn't keep me from thinking about you all day. Miss you, as always.