Michael Rice's Legacy at FAC

To All Who Miss Michael:

Those who loved Michael Rice know of his love for the Fine Arts Center, its students, and its faculty.  I have been told of the many expressions of grief posted to the Facebook group. We thank you for your love of Michael and for what he meant to you as a teacher and a man.  To say that this has been a difficult time for us would be an understatement: Michael was a colleague for many of us for more than 25 years. Certainly our students occupy our time, but when alone or in the lounge with our colleagues, the loss is palpable.  Those who loved Michael also know how fiercely he protected his privacy and, even in death, his final requests reflected this wish for privacy.  The Fine Arts Center, respecting that wish and the wishes of his family, has been very careful not to rush to any kind of recognition that would compromise that privacy. There was a brief memorial service attended, at his request, by his family and his Fine Arts Center family. I recently met with his mother and his sister to discuss the various forms of recognition the Center wished to do in his honor, including naming the voice studio after him, establishing a scholarship for a deserving student in the voice program, the composition of piece by composer-in-residence Dr. Jon Grier, and authorizing a special edition of our newsletter dedicated to Michael. The family approved these plans, along with an article that Bing Vick and I authored for The Greenville News.  We are awaiting a date when the article will appear. 

I understand that a memorial concert was suggested but, obeying the wishes of his family and their concern regarding the sheer number of those wishing to participate and the difficulties and potential disappointments associated with selecting performers, they thought it best, again, to keep the recognition limited to those efforts listed above. 

Michael Rice and his legacy will live on in this school and in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him, working with him, and studying with him.  I leave you with a story his mother told me when I was leaving the family home.  I wasn’t clear if it appeared on Facebook, or if it came from a friend, but it is pure Michael:  “Michael is in heaven conducting the angel choirs — and correcting their diction!”

Dr. Roy Fluhrer, Director of the Fine Arts Center