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An Unfortunate Loss

Members of the Atlantic Choir grieve a beloved accompanist.

AWARD+WINNING+ACCOMPANIST-choir+accompanist+Ardie+Dusenberry+receives+flowers+for+her+birthday+during+the+2014+Swing+Inn+concert.+Dusenberry+received+an+honorary+letter+in+2016+for+her+contribution+to+the+choir+department.+She+accompanied+the+choir+from+2012+to+2015.
AWARD WINNING ACCOMPANIST-choir accompanist Ardie Dusenberry receives flowers for her birthday during the 2014 Swing Inn concert. Dusenberry received an honorary letter in 2016 for her contribution to the choir department. She accompanied the choir from 2012 to 2015.

AWARD WINNING ACCOMPANIST-choir accompanist Ardie Dusenberry receives flowers for her birthday during the 2014 Swing Inn concert. Dusenberry received an honorary letter in 2016 for her contribution to the choir department. She accompanied the choir from 2012 to 2015.

AWARD WINNING ACCOMPANIST-choir accompanist Ardie Dusenberry receives flowers for her birthday during the 2014 Swing Inn concert. Dusenberry received an honorary letter in 2016 for her contribution to the choir department. She accompanied the choir from 2012 to 2015.

Sarah Schorle

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AHS choir members received some sad news on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Former accompanist Ardis “Ardie” Dusenberry, 85, passed away. She served as the accompanist for the choir department for three years and had formerly worked at Glenwood High School for over 40 years. “Telling students that someone who has been a part of your department for a long time has passed away is hard to do,” choir director Jennifer Gaesser said. “In music, students and directors gain an emotional attachment with their accompanist. They don’t teach you things like this in college.” “This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my career,” Gaesser said on Tuesday.

At Ardie’s funeral on Saturday, over 15 present and former choir students as well as former choir director Luke Johnson performed “I Carry Your Heart”, a song that was originally dedicated to Ardie by the choir when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2015. “I Carry Your Heart” fills me with a sense of bittersweet happiness,” senior Nadia Somers said. “The message is kind of sad and melancholy, but really, it’s a reminder of how sweet her life was and how blessed we were to have her in our lives.” The choir performed at the end of the funeral as the casket was carried out of the church.

Although Ardie stopped accompanying the choirs in 2015, many students still frequently visited her at the nursing home to chat, sing or catch up on the latest choir news. “[She had] the ability to turn your day around. Just one hug from her could change my whole day,” Atlantic alumni Lileigh Brown said. “Ardie was an amazing woman.”

During the 2016 Show Choir Blast performance, the choir department honored Ardie with an honorary letter. “Even though she was sick, she made it out to watch us,” said senior Kylee Champlin. “We had gotten her flowers, which she was extremely grateful for. It was nice to see her smiling.”

Many students recall her smile and overall positive attitude. “She was always happy to be here,” Gaesser said. “She loved working with students.” Atlantic graduate Andrew Rothfusz said ”she always had something nice to say about anyone you ask her about; I don’t think there was a time I saw her when she didn’t have a smile and a wink for me.” Brown enjoyed talking to her before class and her storytelling while “stroking the keys gently with her hands like every key had a specific memory.”

Our hearts go out to those affected by the loss.

“Music is the love of my life.”~Ardie Dusenberry

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About the Writer
Sarah Schorle, Editor in Chief

From looking at the middle school and high school yearbooks, Sarah Schorle has had a passion for journalism for a while. Schorle is one of the co-editors in chief for the Javelin, working with Hannah Alff to ensure the pages are designed in the desired way. “Everything that’s published in the book goes through us,” Schorle said. Her goals are to focus more on giving a “voice” to activities that aren’t always in the spotlight. Schorle said her favorite video game character is “whatever SIM I am currently torturing.” Her favorite teachers are Alex Bales and Jarrod O’Donnell because “both have been there for me through success and stress, and miraculously still put up with my shenanigans.” Despite this, government and philosophy are her favorite classes. She claims they help show us things about ourselves from something other than a biological standpoint. Originally Schorle planned to follow a career path in journalism, but instead, she now plans to major in Theater with a minor in Arts Management.

Story by Ariel Clark and Erin Schmitt

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An Unfortunate Loss