Sandy Spencer touched the lives of many. I knew her as a cellist: she played in the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra for many years, and she taught cello to young and older at the Cape Cod Conservatory. She was particularly warm and supporting of adult beginners, helping them to overcome some of the many challenges of playing this difficult instrument. She would tell her students to hug their cellos, an act that would not only reaffirm their commitment to the cello, but would help to release tension and help improve their playing position.
I met Sandy in 2004, when I began taking cello quartet classes in the conservatory’s Summer Strings program. She coached several quartets, and I started out in the beginning group, but what a joy it was to play with other cellists! Eventually the conservatory offered year-round quartet classes with Sandy, and I attended for several years. We named our quartet Cellobrations, a nice play on words, and an expression of the fun of playing together.
This past fall a group of Sandy’s students from several of her quartets got together under the direction of Pam Mittendorf, one of her quartet students, to play classical and Christmas music at Sandy’s church and in two assisted living locations. Sandy was, by then, too sick with cancer to join us with her cello, but she came to one of our rehearsals, and smiled through the whole thing. I hope we made her proud.
Sandy died on January 15. She was 76. She will be missed by her students and friends, and by those lucky enough enough to have heard her play the cello.
Thank you Sandy, for your music and your friendship. Rest in peace.
There will be a memorial service for Sandy Spencer at 2 PM on April 29, 2012. Family and friends are invited to attend. It will be at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 58 N. Main Street, in South Yarmouth. A reception will follow.