Audiences at the Music on Maxwell concert series at Jon Holloway's Sundance Gallery might not have known Mary Terese Grant by name, but they knew who she was.
Those who pay attention to things other than the performers might have noticed she wasn't sitting at her seat of honor behind the merchandise table Oct. 24 at Sundance Gallery. Upon her arrival and ascending the back stairs earlier that evening, Grant collapsed.
Because of the timing, not many at Sundance for the Kyshona Armstrong and Mike Farris concert knew something was amiss with her. But after her collapse, she was rushed to Self Regional Medical Center where she was tended to by the staff.
Farris saw her and even assisted as she was taken from Sundance.
Holloway went to the hospital, while Nick Hyduke, talent coordinator for the series, did whatever he could to move the evening forward.
Farris contemplated not performing because of the uncertainty of her condition. But with the encouragement, he followed Armstrong on stage.
"She was beloved, it was clear. And we all did our best to carry on with the night, as she would have wanted, they all agreed," Farris wrote.
During his set, he took a few minutes to mention Grant and that she was on his mind.
With that, he broke into a toned down version of "Will the Circle be Unbroken." The audience quietly sang along with Farris and Paul Brown, who was playing keyboard and percussion.
Before the song ended, the person I was with received a text that Grant didn't make it. They were co-workers in Greenwood School District 50, where Grant was a database manager. More important, they were friends.
"Although the events are tragic, you must agree that to be eulogized by a rock and roller ... well, that's pretty cool. Although her status was not known until later in the evening, the show was dedicated to her," Holloway and Hyduke wrote.
It was interesting the song Farris selected to play at that moment. Ironically, it was just last September when John Michael Rouchell selected, "Will the Circle be Unbroken" to honor Bill Holloway during a Music on Maxwell concert.
There was a slight difference between the performances, though. Dr. Holloway, Jon's father, had passed two days before the concert and everyone at the show was there with a heavy heart. No one knew Grant's status when Farris began singing. By the time he was done, only a handful knew she had died.
"I personally was thankful to be there for this moment when Miss Terese Grant reminded the people of Greenwood, and myself, just how precious and fleeting life really is," Farris wrote.
Before the show, Farris learned Grant was to be his merch lady. She was good at the job she volunteered to do.
It was a label the diehard fan of the Rolling Stones wore proudly.
Holloway and Hyduke wrote, "She enjoyed her role at Music on Maxwell and Live After Five because it gave her an opportunity to meet the artists and she prided herself on selling as much for them as she could."
Not many knew Grant's first name is Mary. It seems fitting now Farris opened the show with a touching rendition of "Mary Don't You Weep," still unsure of Grant's status.
Grant loved to talk music, and she could. She'd share stories about concerts she attended and music she purchased. She especially liked talking music with a special friend who was at most all the shows.
Her last minutes were spent among friends, family and colleagues. She was on the phone with her brother, and at least two members of the administration of Greenwood School District 50 were there when she passed.
Friends gathered at Sundance Gallery for a celebration of life. It was truly a celebration.
She was a great friend to all at Music on Maxwell, the performers and the series itself.
I have to admit, I had a feeling of emptiness every time I looked at the table Thursday night and saw the chair where she usually sat. Even with someone sitting behind the table selling merchandise, it just wasn't the same. That was even apparent Oct. 27 when Red Wanting Blue made a return visit to Greenwood for a special Sunday Music on Maxwell performance. Grant wasn't there, and that's sad.
"The book just suddenly and simply closed," Farris wrote, summing up the sentiment more than adequately for those who knew Grant.
Sitarz can be reached at 943-2529 or via email at email@example.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.