Approximately 200 friends of Matthew Blau and Jennifer Koons gathered in Bodek Lounge yesterday to celebrate two students' lives and share the sorrow of their March 10 deaths. Students held each other and cried softly as they listened to others talk about Blau and Koons friends. Penny Loafers members performed songs which only weeks ago they sang at Blau and Koons' side. Penn Singers Director Bruce Montgomery began the service by recalling that the last time he saw Blau and Koons -- who were members of both Singers and Penny Loafers -- singing and dancing as the group rehearsed for their upcoming show Pirates of Penzance. He told the students that they were invited to stay after the service and talk to each other while they remembered to "share joy at having known them." Hillel Director Jeremy Brochin and University Chaplain Stanley Johnson each shared advice and writings about how to deal with the death of a loved one or a friend. Blau's friends spoke next and described the sophomore as a person who always made time for his friends and family and who was proud of himself and his heritage. They said he was honest and outspoken and expected excellence of himself and others. Blau's roommate, Engineering sophomore Rafe Pery, said he and Blau shared an interest in music and agreed on many topics since they met at a mixer for new members of Penn Singers almost two years ago. He addressed parts of his comments to Blau directly. "Wherever you are, I'm sure you are making someone smile or singing a bit from West Side Story," Pery said. Friends of Koons remembered her smile, her vibrant, enthusiastic personality and her trusting nature. Linguistics Professor William Labov said he had looked over Koons' papers after her death and found them to be exceptional in quality. "She lived as if she never needed to be told to do her best," Labov said. Her roommate Tammi Stagenow read memories written from other friends and poems Koons had written expressing hope and optimism about life. "To her life was not a chore, but a gift to be shared with everyone," Stagenow said. The service ended with music, which was central to both students' lives. A tape of Blau singing a solo in "When You Wish Upon a Star" with Penn Singers and Koons singing "Busy Tonight" with Penny Loafers was played. Penn Singers concluded the moving and emotional service with "You'll Never Walk Alone" and Penny Loafers sang "In My Room" while holding lit candles.Comments powered by Disqus
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