I’d like to dedicate this blog to a college classmate of mine who passed away this past winter.  I preface it with the fact that out of respect, and sensitive to the feelings and privacy of his family, I have reviewed my intentions with them and have received their approval to share this post.  It was comforting and offered some sense of closure to speak with Scott’s sister Ann.  My heart goes out to his son and daughter, mother, sisters, and extended family, and I share this in hopes of honoring his memory.

Scott & his children

For most of us who were not a part of his day-to-day life, his passing was sudden and too soon.  To this end we all must come.  And to paraphrase the Bard of Avon, “Alas, poor Scott!  I knew him, Ann.  A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.”  And that Scott truly was.  He had an infectious smile that beamed ear to ear, and flashed it with regularity, whether in friendship, having fun, when happy, or up to no good.

Death is one of those constants in life.  A seeming oxymoron, we all are touched over our years by the death of those around us – some family members, some friends, some acquaintances.  Some succumb to chronic health problems, others to brief illness, yet others to sudden accident or tragedy.  Some struggle and suffer mightily as death approaches.  Others never see it coming.  But come it will. 

Sometimes you will never know the value of something until it becomes a memory.


I have shared in previous blogs the power of music to heal amidst such sorrow and loss (see “Dance With My Father,” “I Won’t Forget You,” and “Seasons Of Love”).  It also can help connect us to memories of times, events, and people, keeping them close in mind and heart.  Thus I hope this blog and playlist to be a tribute to memories of Scott, and a reminder to all of us to not take life for granted, to not wait to tell people how we feel, and to try to stay connected and be available in whatever way we can in people’s lives, in whatever way they might need or might be willing to accept.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

dr. seuss (Theodore Geisel, Dartmouth college 1925)

I invoke the Broadway Musical “Evan Hansen” not because Scott had the same struggles Evan did, but because it seems an appropriate springboard for conversation about such a topic, in addition to Scott actually commenting on it on our college class Facebook page a few years back as being his second favorite musical after “Hamilton”:

Here is the Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen mashup video cited in this exchange to which Scott replied “That’s just not fair”:

Dear Scott Evans:

For those who saw the Broadway musical or Movie:

Dear Evan Hansen,

Turns out this wasn’t an amazing day after all. This isn’t going to be an amazing week or an amazing year, because why would it be?

I know, because there’s Zoe, and all my hope is pinned on Zoe, who I don’t even know, and doesn’t know me. Maybe if I could just talk to her. Maybe nothing would be different at all. I wish everything was different.

I wish I was part of something. I wish that anything I said mattered to anyone. I mean face it, would anyone notice if I just disappeared tomorrow?


Your most best, and dearest friend, Me

As the musical and movie bring to awareness, there are those around us who feel lost, unseen, who are struggling with themselves and/or life. They may have just been dealt a bad hand of cards in this game of life.  Or perhaps they suffer from acute illness, chronic illness, terminal illness, mental illness or substance addictions.  Or maybe life ends abruptly and untimely, through some other illness or tragedy.  Scott endured such struggles and was open enough to share some of what he was experiencing with our class.  A few years back, as our 30th college reunion approached, he had the candor to let us know that he was struggling, and didn’t feel a part of the world he had once not only been a part of, but thrived in if not led and dominated.

Scott was a friend to all.  I can’t recall when I first met him, but just know that even though I wasn’t a part of his circle of friends, he always made me feel welcomed and important.  I felt he cared about me, a student who he had no reason to care about.  He would go out of his way at frat parties to talk to me, or to chat between music sets.  I hung out with him a little more due to eventually sharing a mutual friend.  I recall spending an afternoon with him at Casque & Gauntlet one day senior year, during commencement week, just hanging out, sharing a pizza, and talking about school and life, as if I were his best friend. 

For Forever

End of May or early June
This picture-perfect afternoon we share
Drive the winding country road
Grab a scoop at À La Mode
And then we’re there

An open field that’s framed with trees
We pick a spot and shoot the breeze
Like buddies do
Quoting songs by our favorite bands
Telling jokes no one understands
Except us two
And we talk and take in the view

All we see is sky for forever
We let the world pass by for forever
Feels like we could go on for forever this way
Two friends on a perfect day

We walk a while and talk about
The things we’ll do when we get out of school
Bike the Appalachian trail or
Write a book or learn to sail
Wouldn’t that be cool?

There’s nothing that we can’t discuss
Like girls we wish would notice us but never do
He looks around and says to me
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be”
And I say, “Me too”

And we talk and take in the view
We just talk and take in the view

All we see is sky for forever
We let the world pass by for forever
Feels like we could go on for forever this way, this way

All we see is light for forever
‘Cause the sun shines bright for forever
Like we’ll be alright for forever this way
Two friends on a perfect day…

All we see is sky for forever
We let the world pass by for forever
Buddy, you and I for forever this way, this way

All we see is light
‘Cause the sun burns bright
We could be alright for forever this way
Two friends
True friends
On a perfect day

dear evan hansen

It’s eerie how much this song parallels my afternoon with Scott. It was the end of May or early June, a picture perfect afternoon, though pizza from C&A, not a scoop from A La Mode, quoting some of our favorite bands, telling some bad jokes, taking in the view of an amazing Spring day in Hanover, letting the world pass us by, talking about things we’d do when we got out of school, talking about girls, two friends on a perfect day. Only, different then Evan Hansen, this perfect day was real. And Scott made me feel like a true friend, a buddy. He had a way of doing that. Feeling we’d be alright for forever, on a perfect day.

I recall he was a member of C&G, which was, per their website, “founded in 1887. It is a senior society that unites those who have strong character and high ideals, encourages members in worthy activities, promotes their mutual welfare and happiness, and renders loyal service to Dartmouth College.”  And that was exactly what Scott epitomized.

Though he also had a carefree, fun, gregarious, joy de vivre side.  Rumor had it that Scott attended his freshman week alcohol awareness meeting with his freshman undergraduate advisor group dressed in a bathrobe sipping a martini, a la Hawkeye Pierce in MASH.  Such was the legend of Scott Evans.  He was the bass player in a kick-ass college cover band.  He campaigned for and won election as senior class president.  In law school at UVA he continued his musical escapades, playing in with “Blowfish,” no, not Hootie – this was before Hootie & The Blowfish ever put out an album…

Scott in Dartmouth College band NRO

When looking for housing at UVA after accepting a pediatric residency position there, I contacted Scott to see if my girlfriend (soon to be fiancé and eventual wife) and I could crash at his place to save a few bucks by not staying at a hotel.  Such was the life of a poor medical student.  I’m not quite sure how I knew he was in Charlottesville, or how I got his number.  This was back in the days before cell phones.  All I know is he said yes without hesitation and wanted to meet us on The Corner for dinner when we got down there.  Totally unsure of how we hooked up for dinner, again without cell phones.

We stayed at his place, more of a frat room than an apartment, slept on a less than comfortable couch with noise all around us, and Scott getting in sometime in the wee small hours of the morning.  The frat room/bachelor pad shower was a free-standing claw tub with a shower curtain running around it that had so much mold that I think we felt less clean getting out of the shower than when we got in.  But hey, it was a free room.  Beggars can’t be choosers.  And Scott was ever the gracious, caring host.  While not best friends over the years, he made me feel like I was, and embraced meeting and hanging out with my girlfriend.  I ended up seeing him play a few times in C’ville before he left for greener pastures, seeking to make a name for himself in his law career.  From there going forward I lost touch with Scott (again, pre email and cell phones).

Scott (left, on bass) playing at an impromptu front porch gig in Boston with none other than
Carlos Santana (center) dropping in to jam!

Fast forward 30 years, and there was at least a point in his life where something had dramatically shifted.  Something had changed.  Scott was no longer on top of the world.  He shared that life was a struggle, life had its ugly underbelly.   As classmates we were able to glean some information from a post he made on our college class Facebook page as our 30th reunion approached.  He was frank, if not blunt, half expecting to get a rise out of people, but in addition to honestly and sincerely share his feelings with us, his classmates in a very vulnerable fashion:

Sometimes I wanna barf. I haven’t raised a kid who went or will go to Dartmouth. Those days are over. I’m not a CFO of a Fortune 500 company. Or managing partner of a major law firm. Mostly I’m a lacrosse coach. And a writer. I’ve fought progressive fights. My kids fight them too. Daily. Sometimes our well being depends on it. One as a brown skinned actress, one as an adopted dropout who watched his classmate get shot. We have battled drug addiction, depression, suicide attempts and a school shooting. Life is neither easy nor glamorous. But we care and we love. And usually that is enough. I’m so grateful for many of my classmates particularly those at NRO (the band). But honestly, my connection with most of Dartmouth is gone. I wish it weren’t so. I love Dartmouth. It just doesn’t belong to me anymore.”

scott evans
Scott coaching lacrosse

Many reached out on our class Facebook thread, in support of him and others feeling such difficulties, such disconnect with a past and with life.  They encouraged him to attend our reunion and to reconnect with friends who cared.  Among the many responses was mine:

Scott responded to the many comments of support and caring:

Scott more recently commented some on my Facebook listentothemusic.com blog post regarding “Love”, wondering if I had included some songs in my Spotify playlist:

Little did I know that would be my last conversation with Scott, albeit a digital/social media conversation, yet a conversation no less.  I do believe the last time I saw Scott in person was sometime in 1993 when playing in Charlottesville, likely playing in his band, though I may have seen him at our 20th or 25th reunion if he was in attendance.  I just don’t recall.  But I know it saddens me that his smiling face, his laugh, his infectious energy, enthusiasm, and passion is no longer on this planet.  I worry for his children, and how his loss will impact their lives.

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us.

albert einstein

How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?

carson mccullers

We don’t know what tomorrow may bring.  We don’t know many days, years, or decades we each have left.  We don’t know challenges we may face in life, what storms we need to weather, was struggles we need to endure, and how such events may strain and even break us.  And how do we continue on from there?  What hope is there to dig out from under such burdensome weight?

We must try not to sink beneath our anguish… but battle on.

Albus dumbledore, harry potter & the half-blood prince

“ If you see him in the street, walking by himself, talking to himself, have pity. He is working through the unimaginable.” [Hamilton] As we go through our day to day lives, we forget to show grace and understanding towards others. We easily come to the judgement of those around us and forget that there are those facing worse trials and hardships.

Carrie r.

Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light

albus dumbledore, harry potter & the prisoner of azkaban

What we can try to do is be available to each other, to try to stay in touch with each other, to let others know we are available and care and are there if needed.  Is that enough?  What else can we do in support of those with struggles, whatever they may be?

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

harriet beecher-stowe

Just prior to reading on our college class Facebook page that Scott had passed I posted a blog on Heaven, with a link to the following Spotify playlist:

Coincidence?  I think not.  I believe such timely happenstance, aligning of the cosmos type occurrences are more divinely directed.  The playlist includes “Heaven” songs by the likes of Hendrix*, Joplin*, Morrison*, Lennon, Bonham, Cobain*, Winehouse*, Van Halen, Cornell and company, all of whom died untimely deaths, many* part of the infamous “27 Club,” dying at the age of 27. Scott made it just a bit beyond twice that, with today marking what would have been his 56th birthday.

Below is the playlist that will forever remind me of Scott, with vivid images of his youthful college self playing “Forever Man” with his Cheshire cat grin ear to ear, giving me a shout-out, and chatting with me between songs and sets. 

Here’s to you Scott.  Thanks for the impact you have made in so many lives, for rocking, for caring, for defending, for supporting, for loving, for being a friend.  You will be sorely missed.

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

queen elizabeth ii

Forever Young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

bob dylan

Now And Forever

Whenever I’m weary
From the battles that rage in my head
You make sense of madness
When my sanity hangs by a thread
I lose my way but still you seem to understand
Now and forever
I will be your man

richard marx

Hold On Forever

Another night and here we are again
All our faults laid out ahead
Let it out, then let it right back in
All those voices in your head

And we both know everything, but we can’t learn to leave
So I’ll tell you what you need

First thing: we make you feel better
Next stop: we pull it all together
I’ll keep you warm like a sweater
Take my hand, hold on forever
Just fall apart if you need to
I’m here and I won’t leave you now
Don’t look down
Hold on forever

Lay down all your troubles end to end
They could reach up to the stars
So many roads, you don’t know where you’ve been
But you still know who you are

rob thomas

Forever Love

Minutes and hours and years may go by,
But my heart knows nothing of time
So don’t cry, just keep me right there,
In your dreams…
And hold on to these words of mine…

Forever love
I promise you
Someday we’ll be together,
Forever love

reba mcentire

You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me

Life is full of sweet mistakes
And love’s an honest one to make
Time leaves no fruit on the tree
But you’re gonna live forever in me
I guarantee, it’s just meant to be

john mayer

While not Forever songs, I wanted to include the following two songs in the blog post as well as the playlist, as they seem a fitting tribute to Scott and what he was about. They are the full versions of the two songs included in the Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen video mashup that was mentioned in Facebook conversation not long before his passing. The first is from his favorite musical, Hamilton:

The Story of Tonight

I may not live to see our glory
But I will gladly join the fight.
And when our children tell our story
They’ll tell the story of tonight…

Raise a glass to freedom
Something they can never take away
No matter what they tell you…


And this from Scott’s second favorite musical Dear Evan Hansen, a plea of sorts, though you may feel abandoned and alone in moments of sadness, frustration, anger, pain, dejection – that “you are not alone”…

You Will Be Found

Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
Like you could fall, and no one would hear?

Well, let that lonely feeling wash away
Maybe there’s a reason to believe you’ll be okay
‘Cause when you don’t feel strong enough to stand
You can reach, reach out your hand

And oh, someone will come running
And I know, they’ll take you home

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you’re broken on the ground
You will be found
So let the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found…

There’s a place where we don’t have to feel unknown
And every time that you call out
You’re a little less alone
If you only say the word
From across the silence your voice is heard

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you’re broken on the ground
You will be found
So let the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found…

Out of the shadows
The morning is breaking
And all is new, all is new
It’s filling up the empty
And suddenly I see that
All is new, all is new

You are not alone…

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you’re broken on the ground
You will be found!
So when the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found…

dear evan hansen

Scott – I believe had I been there as you transitioned to journey on to your next venue to rock it out, I might have heard you shout out to me something like “Stay Gold Ponyboy.”    And I might have responded, as I live my life in music, with song quotes “it’s so hard to say goodbye,” “thanks for the memories,” “I won’t forget you,” “you’ll be in my heart,” “until we meet again”…

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.

j.r.r. tolkien, the hobbit

And onto the playlist, which really takes a backseat in importance compared to the significance of the blog itself with memories in tribute of Scott. Still there are some great songs, of course Clapton’s “Forever Man,” which will forever make me think of Scott, as well as Alphaville’s, Bob Dylan’s, Rod Stewart’s, and Chris Isaak’s “Forever Young,” Queen’s “Who Wants To Live Forever,” The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Rick Astley’s “Together Forever,” and Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl,” among so many other offerings.

And to clarify, the playlist is NOT a list of songs reminding me of Scott. It pre-dates his passing. The impetus for dedicating it to him is the “Forever Man” connection, as well as several songs being poignant to the sentiment, but many are just songs with Forever in their title. Still a fun playlist:

I also made a companion playlist of Country Forever songs. The playlist is dominated by Dolly Parton. I guess “forever” really resonates with Dolly.

“All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems… But all these stars are silent. You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them… In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me… You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh” 

 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the Little prince

When I listen to “Forever Man”, or when I look at the stars, I’ll remember you and your ear-to-ear grin, that Cheshire cat smile, and smile myself for having known you, for I’ve been changed for the better, changed for good.

For Good

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return…

Because I knew you
I have been changed for good…


For those touched by Scott in their life and who may want to do something in his memory, his family has asked for consideration of contributions to the Jed Foundation, “a nonprofit that protects the emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, giving them the skills and support they need to thrive today… and tomorrow.”