Karl Lampe, surrounded by weeping students, clicked two drumsticks together four times—just as Chris Jaquez would have done. Then a dozen of Lampe’s eighth-grade musicians began playing a tune for more than 400 students and family members gathered Wednesday night at Olive Peirce Middle School.
A candlelight vigil for Chris, 13, who died Monday, was a scene of tears, embraces and quiet shows of affection and memory.
“If you got to meet him, in 10 minutes you loved him,” Lampe told a crowd packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the heart of the Hanson Lane campus, just outside the band room where Chris was a drummer learning horns and looking forward to joining the marching band at Ramona High School.
Lampe read a short note from Chris’ parents, expressing thanks for the support they’d received from the Olive Peirce family and closing: “We want you to know that we deeply appreciate what you’ve done here tonight to honor Chris. It has touched our hearts.”
No immediate family members were present. Besides his parents, Chris also had two brothers, one 16 and one in college. But an aunt from San Diego stood on a staircase videotaping the ceremony.
Band members lit candles and passed them to a crowd that extended to a second-floor landing overlooking the courtyard. Science teacher Myles Vandegrift said a prayer.
Then on a count of three, students blew out their candles. The lights were out, but not their feelings. Tears continued to flow.