During the summer of 2005, David Grubbs was one of several young high school interns that I hired to work and play with kids in a local fine arts camp. He was wonderfully patient with the younger children, respectful to his peers and cohorts, and whole-heartedly kind to everyone.
Because he was so composed, David was frequently assigned duties that included guiding some of the more rambunctious students throughout their activities. He would quietly step up, grin at the kids, and engage them in whatever task was at hand. The young campers adored him.
Like every intern, David brought many skills and a particularly special talent to camp that summer. His bass fiddle showed up by his side each and every day, and he stood ready to accompany younger musicians whenever called on for a good beat and reliable backup. Between the relaxed, humble, yet “cool” way he would rest against his fiddle like it was an old pal, and his solid good-nature, David was easy to admire and even easier to care about and genuinely like.
The day that the spontaneous lunchtime jam session occurred, with all the kids resting in the shade under big pine trees, I knew we were a part of an indelible memory moment: summer sunlight, live jazz, inspired musicians, a rapt audience and peace.
Today, in the wake of David’s death, I am both saddened and deeply honored to have been able to see him shine in such a special way. My heart goes out to his family and the friends who knew him better. David was a tender spark of light, and he will be missed.