Passing Of The Torch, Richard Nickol Memorial, December 16th, 2012:
“What I learned from Richard was far more than how to perform or how to sing. He taught me the art of being human. He saw in me and in others far more than we ever saw in ourselves.
“Richard trained me both as a performer and as a teacher for more than a decade, and while he’d told me for years that he wanted to leave me the studio, I never thought that it would come to pass. I thought he’d be around longer… I thought we’d have parallel studios. I was simply honored that he would even hold me in that light.
“When I moved to New York I was forced to find a way to feed myself and pay my bills, and what I found was that while I got phenomenal call backs and loved the theatre scene, when it came down to eating, the fastest and most rewarding way for me to put food on the table was by teaching. And I realized that my best days were when I was in a Ripley Grier Studio with focused students helping them find revelation after revelation. And I pushed myself to create a studio, doing donation based classes to meet new students, sending emails, churning out curriculums to make myself marketable, and what I learned was how to hold a vision for a community and for each individual within it. And I finally understood why Richard was so devoted, and why he loved us all so deeply. He invested his heart and his intention into each of us. He looked through all of our stories about ourselves to what we really wanted, saw our essence and enrolled us in our own lives. And in doing so he changed them.
“To hear that two weeks before his death he still wanted me to do all this in his stead, is possibly the most humbling thing I’ve ever heard. That his belief in me ran so strongly is overwhelming. And every day that I wake up and have the pleasure of teaching his students and his material I count my blessings. I am so fulfilled and so grateful, and I’m brimming over with grief and with gratitude.
“I will do everything in my power to carry on and teach the best of what Richard left us, and to continue learning so that I may expand upon and deepen it as I pass it on. And so many of us are passing it on. Every time we instill belief in self in another, we are passing it on.”
- Mindy Lym
Eulogy, September 5th, 2012:
“My greatest mentor, and my dear dear friend… I am stunned, and upside down and inside out. I have watched my entire life replay in my head as I’ve remembered you this morning.
“I remember you standing me in front of the mirror when I was 16 years old and anorexic and making me list my own beauty and worth to myself in the mirror almost every week while I recovered. I remember hearing your roar over the crowds on opening nights, your booming “WHOOOOOOO!!!!!”. It still makes me smile. You rallied people by their hopes and their dreams, creating a temenos, a sacred circle where we grew as artists and grew as human beings. You taught me to see the best in myself, and to practicing being the woman I saw myself becoming; you taught me to create myself ON PURPOSE.
“Your vocal technique was your Taj Mahal, and I do believe and know that you saw it in such glorious architectural and spiritual detail. The mind and body were its structure, and the human spirit its declaration. And you were masterful.
“At your best you could find grace in everyone and everything. And at your worst you could leave devastation that seemed to rank as a CAT 5 storm. A power house and diva to rival them all! If you heard me say that, you’d probably cackle with your heart wide open, look me dead in the eye with that irrepressible gleam and yell “BIIITCH!!!! Don’t you know who I think I am??!!” and I’d grin right back at you, heart wide open and laugh.
“We saw each other at our highest highs, and spoke bluntly, heart to heart at our lowest lows. Somehow we had chosen each other, and you could hear me on your darkest days. I’ll never forget that.
“When I look at what I’ve dedicated my life to – from singing and acting to meditation, metaphyics, the healing arts and the study of the vast world of religion and spirituality, I can trace almost all of them back to the seeds that you planted in my 16 year old mind. To say that I would not be who I am today without you is an understatement. You introduced me to fine institutions, and brilliant teachers and with them helped me learn to weave my life on a living loom.
“I cannot put into words how much I will miss you, or how glad I am for you that you are finally unencumbered. I know that I will continue learning from you all the days of my life. You are ever cherished.
“Death does not wipe out the past. Nor does it change the future. It is my imaginations of the future that I must put to rest with you. The fantasies of future reunions, our hug after my first night on broadway, the triumphant “we did it!”
“I think I know how rare it is to have found such a mentor and great friend in one person, and to have gotten to work with him for more than a decade, and I count myself as truly blessed.
“Go in peace into the next great adventure, and I’ll see you on the other side.”
- Mindy Lym