Ameduri: A musical 'cornerstone'
Funeral services will be Friday for Orlando musician Ralph Ameduri, pictured here (at left) with the Legendary JCs. (Courtesy The Legendary JCs / September 15, 2011)
Savor every moment and cherish every friend.
Funeral services will take place at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, 710 Spring Lake Road, Altamonte Springs. I will be there, along with Ameduri's many friends, and will have a report afterward on the Soundboard blog.
On my blog earlier this week, I wrote about how hard it was for me to cope with the random nature of this event, the juxtaposition of musicians working to make people happy and a dude willing to point a gun at someone to take their money.
That part hasn't gotten any easier.
As additional details emerge, it seems that the suspect wasn't even aiming at Ameduri. According to a story in the Lakeland Ledger newspaper and other accounts, witnesses said the would-be robber was pointing the gun somewhere else and it fired after someone tried to push it away.
Dumb luck doesn't just come any more cruel than this.
In other news, police earlier this week said that a $2,500 reward is being offered for information that could lead to the suspect's arrest. Anyone with information can call 1-800-226-TIPS and remain anonymous. Another fundraising effort has been launched on Facebook to raise an additional $5,000 in reward money.
Also, there was a memorial-benefit show in the planning stages earlier this week, with a tentative date of Sept. 25 at Will's Pub.
Man, there is no way I will ever understand why this had to happen.
So the best I can do is learn (again) that our time is precious. I'm seeking joy and I'm not taking it for granted.
It was Ameduri's joy and his talent that friends and musical colleagues recalled in comments I received in the wake of the horrible news.
"Ralph was a funny guy with goofy stories, a brilliant musician and a wonderful friend," wrote Orlando musician Erin Nolan, a longtime contemporary of Ameduri's, along with her guitarist husband Jeff Nolan. "Jeff and I, as well as all of the other people who've had the pleasure of knowing Ralph, will achingly miss him."
Richard Peeples, better known for the highly elevated children's music that he performs as Mr. Richard, recalled how meaningful it was that Ameduri responded enthusiastically to his idea to perform for youngsters.
"I was hesitant to let my musician friends know, but Ralph totally respected and supported my decision," Peeples wrote in an email. "He thought it was radical to take live music directly to kids, and remarked once that he wondered how many young musicians would spring up from my efforts.
"Ralph Ameduri was perhaps the most vital of Orlando's musicians. He was familiar with and could play any style, and is one of a handful of people I know who were totally, infinitely consumed by music. Music was his gift from the gods, and playing was his life force."
Now, that music is his legacy.
As Peeples also wrote: "The Orlando music community has lost a cornerstone of its foundation."
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Funeral service for Ralph Ameduri
When: 11 a.m. Friday
Where: St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, 710 Spring Lake Road, Altamonte Springs