In the years that followed Julia's death, we learned of compositions that were inspired by Julia. One was by Eric Jesteadt, a young man from Omaha who heard about Julia shortly after she died, when he attended a conference of Midwestern youth at our First Universalist Church. There was a special service that weekend in Julia's memory, and Eric was struck by the recollections of Julia's friends, describing how "one day Julia did this" and "one day when Julia said that." Eric is a trombone player and at the time was exploring jazz composition. He wrote a wonderful piece for jazz band called One Day with Julia which was performed by his high school jazz band and then, the following year, by the jazz band at First Universalist Church under the direction of John Jensen. It was played at a regular Sunday service and again at the band's spring concert, which Eric attended.
The next piece is equally remarkable and dramatically different. Cole Nibbe was a friend of Julia's from school. Julia had lots of guy friends. She seemed most at home with a pack of boys, and they were usually talented, off-beat, and edgy. She adored them and they, her. In spite of—or maybe because of—her own struggles with depression, Julia was always checking in with her friends; supporting them, encouraging them and (we know now better than we did then) trying to keep them safe and sober. Cole is a poet and a musician. His Orange and Pink is a breathtaking tribute to Julia and their friendship.
A third piece is by Tlanezi Guzman, another friend from high school. Tlanezi composed this in the week following Julia's death, and performed it (a simpler version) at Julia's memorial service. It's called Light in Your Eyes (Julia).
All three pieces are available for listening by clicking on the links below. We are in awe of the talent, passion and love that Eric, Cole, and Tlanezi have shared, each in their own way, remembering Julia.
composed and arranged by Eric Jeastadt, performed by Westside High School Jazz Band, Omaha, NE.
composed and performed by Cole Nibbe, high school friend of Julia.
composed and performed by Tlanezi Guzman, accompanied by Abelardo Guzman.
In 2011 we met Neal Hagberg and Leandra Peak who, as Neal and Leandra, have captured a wide audience throughout the country. We asked them to consider writing a song about Julia. Although they didn't know her, from our stories they captured her essence in a song that they recorded in 2012. The song, Julia, is available for listening at the link below.
Words and music by Neal Hagberg, Copyright 2010, Uncle Gus Music/BMI
Performed by Neal and Leandra.