Remembering Kathy Bundock Moore; 1952–2014

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Kathy Bundock and I met in Rochester when we were both 17 years old. Kathy was a freshman at the Eastman School of Music studying harp with Eileen Malone. I left my home in Rochester to begin college at the Juilliard School of Music, having spent my first years at the harp with Miss Malone. Kathy and I became fast friends, and we saw each other whenever I returned to Rochester as well as at American Harp Society conferences. It was the beginning of a close 44-year relationship.

Kathy had an amazingly bubbly personality and un-stoppable sense of humor, an infectious smile and a zest for life with a wide range of passionate interests including bird watching, genealogy, and travel. Besides being a wonderful, versatile harpist, she was a music theory whiz and had an uncanny, sensitive ear. When stopped by the police for speeding, she avoided a traffic ticket by telling the officer that it was a new car, and the motor hummed at a different pitch at the speed limit than her previous car. The police officer had no idea what she was talking about, but she made him laugh, and he didn’t issue a ticket!

She was respected by harpists throughout the U.S. and was regularly asked to judge American Harp Society competitions. Kathy was also editor for the American Harp Journal, and she published numerous original compositions and over 25 harp arrangements.

We had much in common. We both studied the harp with Eileen Malone, we both shared our passions for the harp, teaching and performing, and we both grew up with musician parents. We each had one child, both of whom turned out to be musicians and later became friends at the Aspen Music Festival. Kathy and I were also both struck with breast cancer.

Kathy was one of the strongest people that I have ever met. She became my hero when she told me how she struggled bravely against a hereditary form of breast and uterine cancer. The cancer returned four times over the course of 13 years, and each bout forced her to deal with the many difficult side effects of the powerful chemotherapy treatments. Kathy always remained strong and positive, and she beat cancer repeatedly.

Hundreds of students were touched by Dr. Moore over decades of her teaching music theory and harp at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Her students were inspired by her love of the inner workings of music—harmony, melody, and chordal analysis—and were constantly amazed by her ear and her use of perfect pitch.

I also got to know her amazing husband, Bruce, and her talented son, cellist and teacher Eric Moore. They were a close-knit family unit and they helped each other during the most severe sieges of cancer. All three of them shaved their heads together in solidarity against the injustice of this disease when Kathy began to lose her hair from the chemotherapy. Bruce and Kathy traveled to Europe several times in recent years and made magnificent memories.

When I contracted breast cancer in 2009, the very first person I called was Kathy. The immediate reassurance I received from her and the very regular support that ensued is the strongest and most sincere outreach I have ever felt from a friend. She helped me to get through my illness. We laughed over the term “chemo fog” while attempting to remain focused on playing the harp under various conductors. We commiserated on excruciating finger pain from playing the strings. We texted and emailed often, and her sign off was always, “with love and mushiness, Kathy.”

With Kathy’s passing on Dec. 5, the harp world lost a great friend, harpist, teacher, composer, and arranger. I write about her with love, mushiness, and great respect for her strong character. She touched all who knew her, and her memory will live in every one of us.

—by Gretchen Van Hoesen

Original post by Harp Column Staff 12/6/14; updated 12/9/14:

Harp pedagogue Kathy Bundock Moore died Dec. 5, following a long struggle with cancer. Bundock Moore lived in Colorado, where she taught music theory and harp at University of Northern Colorado. She has played Principal Harp in the Greeley Philharmonic and the Fort Collins  Symphony, along with substitute Principal Harp in the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Colorado Music Festival at Chautauqua. She was a prolific arranger of instructional materials as well as other publications for student harpists, and was featured in a 2013 Arranger Profile for Harp Column. Bundock Moore collaborated on publications with Jackson Berkey of Manheim Steamroller. She was a frequent judge at competitions of the American Harp Society, and served as the music theory editor for the American Harp Journal. 

See Kathy Bundock Moore’s complete list of publications on her website.

Read the Reporter-Herald obituary for Kathy Bundock Moore. A funeral service will take place 1:00 p.m. Dec. 10 at First Church of the Nazarene, in Greeley, Colo. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society. 

Watch for a tribute to Kathy Bundock Moore in the March-April 2015 issue of Harp Column.

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