Just as we were deeply inspired by the life of, we are saddened by the passing of one of our most devoted ushers and fans, Evelyn Gallese. Evelyn passed away last week at age 92.
If you came to events at MASS MoCA you certainly recognize Evelyn. Frequently the usher at the door, she welcomed thousands to MASS MoCA. Her specialty was dance parties, where, after the greeting was done, you were sure to find her busting a move on the dance floor.
She took to the stage in June 2002 as one of the “Sprague ladies” in Martha Bower’s Dream Life of Bricks .¬† The photo above from that performance captures their show-stopping kick line. No surprise, its easy to pick out Evelyn, she’s the second from the right, kicking the highest.
Here are some remembrances from MASS MoCA staffers:
Of course we‚Äôll miss Evelyn‚Äôs graceful and always cheery presence as a volunteer usher.¬† But what I‚Äôll miss is her dancing.¬† Evelyn was a superb dancer, energetic, stylish, and such a fun partner.¬† We‚Äôve hosted something like 40 big dance parties over the years, and I bet Evelyn danced at 38 of them, often closing the show.¬† Those parties just aren‚Äôt going to be the same without Evelyn, and we‚Äôll miss her dearly. — Joe Thompson, Director
I will always remember the Evelyn boogie, swaying her hips in perfect sync to the music.¬† ‚ÄúMove it or lose it‚ÄĚ she‚Äôd bellow to each dance party attendee.¬† She was also a force of energy and spirit.¬† In the ‚ÄúSprague Lady kick line‚ÄĚ her enthusiasm for life sparkled.¬† The moment will forever be one of the most moving in performances here at MASS MoCA.¬† She is a role model to us all on how the get the most out of life and dance the years away. — Sue Killam, Managing Director
Every time Evelyn was at MASS MoCA she was wearing a big smile and was NEVER afraid to shake her stuff at the dance parties. I know I am really going to miss her presence at those events. — Brittany Bishop, Marketing Coordinator
Evelyn was one of the stars of the MASS MoCA volunteer team, working with a jaunty girlishness at every event and dance party she could. Often offering advice on how to properly Charleston and encouraging dance and life with every patron who was welcomed by her. We should all be extremely grateful for her service and presence. MASS MoCA will be alack without her.¬†¬† — Meredith Boggia, Asst to Managing Director
I remember Evelyn‚Äôs irresistible laugh.¬† And I‚Äôll never forget ‚Äď 12 years ago ‚Äď when I had a baby at North Adams Regional Hospital, she was one of my first visitors.¬† I‚Äôll never know how she knew, but she was there, early in the morning, to wish me well and greet our newest arrival.¬† She also gave me wonderful advice: to take a mental picture of a special moment with your child when he or she is still a baby, and keep that mental photo in your head for the rest of your life.¬† She said that when her kids grew up and were long gone, she still held that ‚Äėphoto‚Äô in her mind, close to her heart, and it always comforted her.¬† — Jennifer Trainer Thompson, Director of Development