Monday, February 14, 2005


In honor of Valentine's day (and to take our minds off of the potential surgery today), I would like to ask you all to post your favorite stories of Mom. Little snippets, zingers and anecdotes. It will help us all to remember why we mustn't tire or lose hope. As Roland said last night when a dear friend commented on our steadfast resolve to pull through this together, "Well, geez, Pam is just so extraordinary. What else are we to do?"

So please, your stories to help us pass the hours-



Blogger jonathan sawyer said...

Hello Pam and dear family and friends,
Great idea! I remember some great tour memories-- from VUCC tours. In 2001-2002, we went to New Orleans, LA, and we stayed in the sketchiest hotel-- your mom totally agreed! My room was across from the "kitchen/ banquet hall/ storage room/ broom closet" where we had breakfast in the mornings. I needed no alarm clock in this hotel, for the cook would bang with might -- every morning at 6 am-- on the toaster oven. I don't know why this oven had to be repeatedly beaten before it would warm our stale roles, but it was-- without question-- banged upon every am. On our last morning at the lovely lodging, the oven ceased to function-- despite the cook's valiant efforts. Hey, we choirites even gave it a hit or two-- but not no avail. We thought that we would go hungry before our concert, but hungry we were not. Your dear mom came tou our rescue-- she went out and bought dozens and doezens of doughnuts for all of the hungry choir members. The saga of the ghetto toaster oven in New Orleans is one of my favorite-- we even took pics by this marvelous piece! Another favorite comes from last year's tour-- your dear mom-- always on top of things, never showing her stress, left, yes left a student at a rest stop and did not realize it for over an hour!! The state police had to bring the student to a meeting place where she reboarded the bus back to Nashville! It was quite an experience, but your mom handled it well. It sure made for some great laughs!! I hope these anectdotes brighten your day. Love and prayers go out to you all. So glad to see Pam's smile again:) Take care.

Jonathan Sawyer

8:29 AM  
Blogger tamara&gene said...

Hello Pam, Roland and family:

We were deeply saddened to hear about Pam's accident and want you to know that we are praying for all of you. We are sending you hugs of support across the miles and are anxiously awaiting more good news of good health reclaimed!


Tamara and Gene Senibaldi

10:06 AM  
Blogger Cindi said...

Dear Pam and family,
Thank you so much for all of the updates! They are so valuable to our "much needed quest for knowledge" about our dear friend! It is so wonderful to see that smile on Pam's face in the recent pictures! The Music Rehearsal Hall is very quiet. I am missing the pounding on the upstairs floor (which is right over my office downstairs) from the countless hours Pam would practice her pieces on the piano and count with her high heels! One great thing is you have missed all the stinky painting and cleaning going on at the MRH! It should be in tip-top shape for your return!! The coffee is always on and I think of you every minute of each day! Great memories... I sent my 13 year old daughter on (Europe) tour with the BCC this past summer and I'm just now getting stories back from the trip. One story was that they were locked out of their room and couldn't get the key to work. After an hour...Pam strolled by and of course "saved the day!" I can't think of another person I would entrust my child to "tour the world!" Thanks Pam and Roland for wonderful experiences that will last a lifetime. I have played over and over the line Pam said in my office a few weeks ago..."Yeah, I'm finally starting to feel better!!!" Keep thinking positively Pam. You will feel that way again! I know your strong spirit and hard work ethic! Our daily prayers will continue until we can see your smiling face again.
Yours -

11:06 AM  
Blogger pollen-family said...

Dear Pam, Roland and family

Today we were so pleased to get the good news.
Thanks so much!

Our thoughts were and are all the time with you.

So we hope to never ever miss again the smile of pam.

We just want you to know that we are in thought by your side.

Best wishes

Julius, Fridolin
Monika and Detlef and Inge...
At the moment there is a very nice story about Pam and Roland while staying in Hannover under construction.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Charissa said...

First of all - Keep your collective chins up!The comment that I hear/think most from every member of my family following Mrs. Schneller's condition is "wow what a support group" The close second is - as vibrant and extraordinary she is, NO ONE is better suited to recover from something like this!

I have so many memories of Mrs. Schneller from BCC (even though I am now 25 I still must call her Mrs. Schneller just as I did when I was 10!;)I remember the day I came home from my first rehearsal with BCC and I told my mother I wanted to BE Mrs. Schneller when I was grown up! A fews years later I remember being invited over to her house for a "Choir Leadership meeting" she had asked me to be a part of a leadership core in the choir. She asked me along with about 12 other kids over for ice cream and a chat about how to make the choir better - I felt so grown up! She gave us piroulines with our ice cream and she talked to us like our opinion really mattered! She had a way of making us SO proud of what we did in choir every day.

I have always been in awe of the way she could inspire the most amazing things from really young kids. I have since described her talent with kids in this way "She could convey the emotion, dynamic, phrase, or emphasis she wanted on any given word/vowel with the glint in her eye. She always had the most amazing connection to her choir members - as long as you kept your eyes on her, the group sounded fantastic!"

She instilled in her choir members the most gracious and truthful love of music just by talking about it! She is truly passionate about her craft and that comes across loud and clear!

My favorite quality about Mrs. Schneller as a choir director was her standard of excellence! She gave us music that most kids today would balk at - but those in the BCC new that if she gave it to us we could sing it! And we always did - She taught us to count sing - there are college kids out there who have never even heard of that! My career in music has been shaped by her influence and I have always been so proud to have had the fundamentals of singing and reading music and from Pam Schneller she is a rare person - she made me passionate about my craft.

My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family

Charissa Gilstrap Saenz

12:47 PM  
Blogger Angie Antkowiak said...

I keep hearing this one little phrase that Pam says to us in VCC choir practice...often when we have just practiced part of a difficult piece and have made improvements, she would loudly affirm "Better, better, better!"

Its so cute when she says it, so now every time I read about her progress I want to say to her..."Better, better, better!"

I can't wait to create more memories of being in a choir directed by her!

Happy Valentine's Day!

2:53 PM  
Blogger Uncle Paul & Aunt Trudy said...

Dearest Pam and loved ones, Roland, Jacqui, Bryan, Mickey, other family and more friends than we can count.
You asked for stories of Pam. I had encouraged Pam to run marathons. She decided to run the Chicago marathon as I had done. Meredith and I started with her. We dropped off after 4 or 5 miles to catch up with her the last few miles. I was running out of steam and kept saying "don't you think you should walk now for a while" to which she replied "I'm fine", to which I replied "Damn". I took it for as long as I could and dropped off to meet her at the finish line. I could not believe she had no intention to quit before she had run the entire 26.2 miles. I was so proud of her. But that accomplishment was nothing compared to that of snaring Roland and watching her conducting her many groups.
Much love to my favorite neice.
Paul and with love, Trudy

3:00 PM  
Blogger Beth Smith said...

Hello just sounds better and better every day. We we're part of the BCC family, in the boys' choir (new last year) and yet Pam made an effort to know Sam and me by name. We saw her many times last summer when Sam went to Camp Vandy at the Student Rec Center and she made us feel like we were really part of the team. Thank you for keeping us informed...this blog is a great idea!!
I plan on stopping in and giving you all hugs on Friday...going to LA to visit my Lisa, who visited you that first Saturday.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Al Ramp said...

I vividly remember a celebration of Grandma & Grandpa Ramps’ 40th wedding anniversary when the family gave them a trip to Hawaii. We were all out at Justin’s house in Prophetstown and we all stayed overnight. Brian and Jacqui’s Dad and Pam and Al and I were sleeping in the sun room on two hide-a-beds. The guys were trying to go to sleep and Pam and I were giggling and laughing our way into the wee hours of the morning. The guys kept telling us to go to sleep, so we did the only thing possible, we started a pillow fight. It went on until Grandma Ramp came downstairs and yelled at all of us that we were keeping everyone awake. We were probably all in our 30s at this time, I think it was 1980. Pam and I always laughed when we were together and I hope and pray you will hear her laugh very soon.

Love to you all,
Aunt Jeri

6:11 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

I haven't known Pam long enough to be able to recount some cute, funny story, but I do have an epiphany for which she was responsible. I was facing radiation treatments following surgery, when I "abandoned" a group that was not proving satisfactory...unlike me to be a "quitter." I joined the VCC the first semester after official auditions were over. She said to come on to the first rehearsal and we would talk/audition later. I had been searching for a group to fill the void after Blair Choral morphed into the Symphonic Choir, which eventually led to the community people leaving that group. All it took was for 10 minutes of warming up for me to know I had found a choral home...we didn't even have to sing a single selection and I was hooked. But what if the "audition" went horribly? So, after rehearsal I went to the piano and introduced myself. Pam said, "Oh, yes, let's see, how about 'Silent Night'?" I sang about 8 bars, she said, "Fine," and then smiled that 30,000 kilowatt smile that nearly knocked me over. Could it be that easy? Had I found choral salvation? Yes!!!!Was I going to be in the presence of this joyous, musical nymph every week? Yessss! Get better, Pam. Someone can substitute, but you cannot be replaced. Smiles like yours are too rare. Love.....Jan

6:27 PM  
Blogger kent syverud said...

Dear Pam, Roland, Jaqui, and the great team on site:

Ruth and I have been thinking and praying and pulling for you all this past two weeks. On Valentine's Day, we have been thinking a lot about the joy you have brought us this past three years, through VCC and through friendship and through teaching me how to cheerfully overcome my inadequacies as a singer. "Smile and work hard and plough forward" is what Pam has taught me, and boy have I needed that lesson as a dean.

It is very hard not to be there in LA for you all -- not to be able to see you personally and tell you that there is nothing -- nothing -- you could ask of us to help that we would not move heaven and earth to provide. No one has meant more to us in terms of giving us hope and joy these past years than Pam, and no one deserves hope and joy more than you and your family. So you'll just have to take my word for it on this blog -- and bear with us as we try to anticipate things you might need and can't ask for.

God bless you and keep you. I pray for big and little things for you, but most of all for you to have the joy back that you have given us.

Love and warmest wishes,

Kent Syverud and Ruth Chen

6:35 PM  
Blogger Lanena Moore said...

It is AWSOME being in Pam's choir at VCC. I love it. I can't get the quality of that choir anywhere else. Pam truly amazes me with her gift of conducting that allows me to sing my best every week. She is such a fantastic teacher. She'll say "circle up" or sing & count "1&2&t&4&", or "let's go over those words again", "BRAVO!" Pam, I know if anybody can come out of this you can. So many people love you and are praying for you. Keep on getting better everyday, we need you back at VCC.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Janice Beasley Johns said...

Pam and family,

I am so happy to hear of Pam's progress. She is such a strong person, her strong faith and our prayers will continue to give her the strength that she needs to get through this nightmare. Our prayers are with each one of you, as you all need strength.

Love to you all,
Janice Beasley Johns

7:09 PM  
Blogger anne and ben said...

there are two things that are most memorable in my mind for right now: one, the day pam and i were going to have a little hang out session in her office at blair. we were so excited that our schedules had finally gotten together and she was going to bring starbucks to her office for us. she comes in wearing my soy chai on her lovely shirt and her coffee (MUCH cheaper than chai) is perfectly intact - seems she tripped on something just as she was walking into blair. poor pam - wearing starbucks. the second is pam setting me up with ben cole. she wanted me to sing a solo for the vday concert and i wasn't too sure about a solo. i suggested a duet. she said, "oh, how about benny cole?" i said, "who?" (all this was in an AOL instant message after choir one night). she told me he was the really good tenor. i was like, "oh...THAT guy? i don't know him." a few weeks later, there was "benny" sitting next to me not speaking and being very shy. he opened his mouth to sing and i nearly passed out (ask kelly, she was there!). i told pam at break, "you ever move me from that guy again in rehearsal and you'll pay!" so... now we're engaged :) what a great story. good job, pam and kelly! ben says thank you and i cannot thank them enough. okay...i just thought of favorite might be that i had been in eastern europe alone mostly, when pam and roland were scheduled to come and sing with their choir. pam's hotel was two blocks from my dorm in prague and my favorite moment was when i walked in and she was sitting there eating in her schwank hotel breakfast room. i have never been so glad to see anyone ever! a ray of sunshine, pam is, but that day she WAS the sun for me. i was needing a dose of home and there she was. yay for pam being so great to all of us and yay to her family for being so great. am thinking of y'all. happy valentines day- you are loved.
anne and ben

7:38 PM  
Blogger Ed Tompkins said...

To Pam and all her family and friends:

Know that you all are being prayed for constantly. I was amazed to see all the pictures, since I had last seen Jacqui and Brian in 1897 when Pam and I and our classmates graduated from Scarritt. And now Jacqui is a doctor. WOW! Thank you for the journal and keeping us informed of this amazing journey. I pray that each day will show hope and healing!

9:03 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

I have been listening to the CD's of our VCC concerts, especially the Valentine Intermezzo's. Each piece brings back memories of rehearsals and Pam's herculean efforts to prepare us. From the moment we walk in and hear her cheerful "Good Eeeeevaaahhning" to her dismissing us with "what a great rehearsal folks, I'm sooooo proud of you!" we work our tails off and enjoy every minute! For one piece with a Jamaican feel she was having a particularly difficult time getting us to feel the music. She brought in maraca's and tamborines and was dancing around, swaying to the beat, saying "come on people, you have to MOVE!" How could we refuse? Then there's the constant fear that she will take off from the directors chair as she springs up to indicate we must crescendo!
So many songs had more special meaning now...."Tomorrow will be my Dancing Day", "My Funny Valentine" and "What Sweeter Music".
You are all in my thoughts and prayers continually. Happy Valentines Day to all of you. You give new meaning to the holiday.

With prayers and wishes for continued healing,

9:03 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I have so many memories of Mrs. Schneller... but here is just one. When I first started singing with BCC concert chorus (like 4 years ago), I was so quiet and so nervous all the time because I was the youngest one there, and I was always so afraid to make a mistake. There were also 6 or 7 seniors that year, and that made me feel even younger... I think I was 12. When we were learning a new piece, she called on people to clap and sing difficult rhythms and phrases, and I would always get so scared that she would pick me. When she did, I got so nervous and I pushed my voice and turned 5 different shades of red and everyone could tell by just listening that I was scared... and she would always have to stop me and say, "Charlotte, just relax!!" At the time, I hated when she called on me... and sometimes I still do... but she stretched me and forced me to become a better sight reader by making me do that, and now I'm glad she made me sing the hard stuff.

We had another practice again tonight... wow, I missed her!!! I want her to come home soooooo bad!!

9:53 PM  
Blogger Jacqui said...

This one from Rhonda:

I have not proven to be a
blogger, though I've tried several times it tells me that that name is
already used or something is unavailable or doesn't match. I may have
to consult my 17-year old (again....). Your site is really challenging
some of us who work in other ways. So it was so sweet to hear of your
deluge of mail. Baptist Hospital (where I work) is only licensed for
700 beds and staffs about 450, so trying to imagine the complexity that
has developed at USC (800 staffed beds and licensed for 1300 - according
to their website) helps me understand the size you're dealing with.
Even here, our mail room was relocated to a totally safe location at the
time of the anthrax scares. I can only imagine where the mail room is

Your updates have been incredible! Thank you, thank you for sharing
all of yourselves with us.

So here's my Pam story... we met when the organist at Andrew Price was
taking a Sunday off (this was in the late 80's). I was substituting and
jumping from church to church, filling in and enjoying the freedom. I
remember a few intense conversations (me sitting on the organ bench at
AP, Roland or Pam sitting on the carpet next to me) about Brahms
interpretation or subtleties of hymn playing. Pam and I became lunch
friends... enjoying seeing each other and working together when we
could. Ate a restaurants that aren't there anymore.... no one drinks
more coffee with lunch than Pam does! (the vegetable plate and
coffee.... how does that balance?) When the bench became vacant at
APrice, she knew what was going on in my life (it's that mind-reading
thing she does...) and my toddler was just part of the mix.

Of course, I'm at First Pres because she called me one day... knew I
wasn't happy where I was and picked up the phone. OK, she needed an
organist, too.... Her support, encouragement and positive thinking took
me places I wasn't sure I could go on my own. I've always said that Pam
can pull from a choral group things that they don't know they can give.
It's always been amazing to watch her work and wonderful to sing for
her. I love the expressiveness of her hands and the way she uses her
face to convey the essence of the piece she's conducting.

I remember the Hardison wedding at First Pres - turned out to be a
musical extravaganza.... brass, the choir, a commissioned piece. Pam
even did a drawing of the sanctuary (little pews and everything) to map
out how the bridesmaids would process so that everyone was in the right
place at the right time. Two zillion phone calls went into that
wedding, and she took it all in stride (or seemed to....!). She's also
given me advice on raising teenagers (taken from her adventures with you
and Brian?), and I know now that she speaks the truth!!

Sending you hugs and best wishes - hoping for another good day.

9:40 AM  

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