ForeverMissed
Molly ended her dance with lung cancer on September 5th, 2019.  Molly was born in Paterson, NJ in 1950.  She was predeceased by her parents, Frank J. Pitcher and Grace A. (Thelen). 

She grew up in Hawthorne but following high school graduation, moved to Maine where she lived for most of her life.  She graduated from the University of Maine (Orono) with a BS in Child Development.  She taught school in Caribou for children with physical disabilities for three years and then pursued a career in Orthotics and Prosthetics.  She graduated from the University of Washington in 1980 and worked in Bangor.  She ran a private practice in Orthotics and Prosthetics for 20 years in Bangor.

Molly considered herself very lucky to have been involved in a variety of musical activities.  From singing with a Renaissance Baroque Ensemble when in Aroostook County to the lead singer for the Ridge Road Review who played at the Masardis Cash Store in 1976. Music took a backseat during her study of O&P but she sang for years with the Bagaduce Chorale in Blue Hill. She joined Wild Ginger, a three woman accappella group in 1995 and enjoyed performing all over Maine for 10 years. She had a love of jazz and standards and loved working with guitar as a duo.   She also sang with the Plus Four Jazz Quintet and enjoyed singing and bringing out many delightful tunes.  She got to sing these marvelous standards for many audiences and it was a thrill for her everytime.  

She is survived by her beloved husband, Dean D. Harrison, East Boothbay.  She is also survived by her brother Michael Pitcher and Judi (McGuire) Pitcher of Ashland, VA and many nephews, nieces and grandnieces and nephews in NJ, greater Bellingham, WA, Seattle WA and Richmond, VA. 

"I leave you with thoughts of music and kindness. One never goes wrong when choosing kindness as a way to react to any situation.  Keep a song in your heart and especially a sense of humor." ~ Molly

Please check back for information regarding her Memorial services to be held in BoothBay this fall and in Deming Washington sometime this winter.  Donations may be sent to the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library or the Boothbay Community Center.





Posted by Rhonda Oakes on May 20, 2020
We just heard today of Molly's passing while visiting Hanger Clinic in Bangor today getting some work done. It saddened our hearts as she was such a big part of Cassie's life, from tiny AFOs to making customized back braces, even in the operating room of the hospital. She always made Cass feel loved and cared for and when Cass sang, she sang with her! May the memories of Molly live on for ever with smiles and love of such a kind and giving lady!
Posted by Ellen Van Vranken on October 2, 2019
  Molly was one of those rare people who genuinely oozed grace, wit, humor, and positive energy to all who were fortunate enough to have known her.
She made the world a more beautiful place by freely sharing these gifts along with her lovely voice. She will be dearly missed!
Posted by Hilary St Jean on September 12, 2019
Molly said much with few words. Her voice rang through music and humble expression. For someone I’ve known for a short time, I find Molly quite a person of impact, of impression, warmth, beauty, humility, humor and wit. She accomplished all of this with simplicity and subtlety. She loved walking the “loop” around my parents’ and her and Dean’s neighborhood. Nature drew her naturally and she embodied the apparent ease of nature’s grace and delight.
Posted by Martha Gilchrist-Oster on September 11, 2019
Remembering the years of our Christmas Eve dinners. So, So Sad.
Posted by Nancy Anderson on September 11, 2019
Beautiful person who touched everyone with her kindness. So many wonderful memories growing up with Molly. Our deepest sympathies to Dean, Michael, Judi and family.
Posted by Diane McDonough on September 11, 2019
My dad was one of Molly's lucky clients for orthotics. I remember making trips to her office for fittings, etc. But what always struck me, other than her knowledge and professionalism, was her kindness. She was kind to patients, their families, and everyone involved. As a teenager, that made an impression of me and I have thought of that many times in my life. She was a light during a dark time for our family and I have always appreciated that, and now wish I could have told you. My deepest sympathies to her family.
Posted by Janice Abbott Ellis on September 10, 2019
I remember Molly as a happy, spirited person. Sending my deepest sympathies to you, Dean........ Janice Abbott Ellis
Posted by Martha Gilchrist-Oster on September 10, 2019
Molly, we have had more fun in the past. Dinner parties, sitting and laughing at silly jokes. We tried to follow your music when we could.
What a shock to learn you've gone on to your next adventure.
Molly was kind and generous.
We love her.  Martha and Larry
Posted by Bruce Cassaday on September 9, 2019
It is a great loss to humanity any time the world loses a sweet soul ...one that enriches us with her kindness, her soft words of encouragement for other artists...and her love to share her music and the arts to make this world a better place.....her presence and spontaneity on the stand will live in my heart always... it was always an honor to "work" with her...and know that her voice, her grace, her style... made the world around her a much more beautiful place... may we carry on with her journey to make the world a better place, with light of art and humanity....and pass it on...and on......
Posted by Helen King-Atallah on September 9, 2019
Molly we will miss you and love your music, so pleased to spend time with you;

Here is a little poem from another strong woman;

When you use to be,
there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself
constantly walking
around in the daytime,
and falling in at night,
I (we) miss you like hell.

Edna St Vincent Millay

Your music lives on and we will see you around the bend !! XXOO
Posted by Evita Cobo on September 9, 2019
Molly’s death brings such sadness and grief to me and many of us who knew her in the jazz community. Last summer we were part of Bobby McFerrin’s Circle Singing Workshop at Omega. It was profound experience and she was, as usual, fully immersed and radiant as she explored this new experience in the singing world. I’ll always remember her joy, humor and genuine kindness. She had an innocence and a deep sense of wisdom. She was unique and down to earth. I’ll miss her so much. ❤️
Posted by Nicole St Jean on September 9, 2019
A few years ago my parents retired to Boothbay and Molly became a dear friend of my mom's. I live in Cali and I heard lots about "Molly and Dean" when my mom and I would catch up over the phone.

I knew from my mom's description of Molly that I would like her very much. Molly had a warm, acerbic wit and was the kind of person who seemed to ground other people. Those types of people are rare and you can tell other people were drawn to be around her. My dad was an equal admirer of Molly's spirit and humor.

When we were in Maine a few weeks ago, we were fortunate to spend some time with Molly and Dean. Molly baked some ginger bread and left it at the house. Such a kind and appreciated gesture. And she also managed to make it through a birthday party for our (now) 6-year old!
She and Dean are an amazing couple in humor and affection. Our family sends our hugs to Dean from this coast. 

I had hoped the mortal world would get to enjoy Molly's spirit a little longer.
She seemed to really feel and have gratitude for its joys, its flora and fauna and the natural beauty of Maine. It feels terrifically unfair to lose her so quickly.

Much respect to you Molly. Thank you for being such a wonderful presence in our life. Thank you for being such a dear and beloved friend to my mom. <3

Posted by Debbie St Jean on September 9, 2019
Friendship by definition is a combination of affection,loyalty,love,respect,and trust. Molly was that type of person for me. She embraced my flaws and without saying much encouraged me to be a better person. Witty,Smart and oh yes Beautiful. She shared with us her love of music and sang expressively with each note. Having been able to do this while ill have us a gift to long remember. Her presence will be hugely missed but her spirit will live on in all of us. 
Posted by Jen Field on September 9, 2019
I met Molly when I started working for The Community Center. She was so kind, caring and always had a smile on. We, here at the Center, are saddened by her loss and we will be thinking of her every day, she was a part of the family here.
Posted by Ann Delaney on September 9, 2019
I met Molly around fifteen years ago at a jazz jam. She was beautiful, elegant, smart, and very funny. The first thing that always comes to mind when I think about her is how she would light up and smile when she saw you. She was also kind and other musicians loved her because she was so considerate and also took music seriously even though she obviously had so much fun when she was singing. She was a joy to watch. It's hard to believe someone so full of life and joy could be gone, which is a testament of how much Molly enjoyed life and her friends and Dean. The world has lost some magic with her gone. 
Posted by Mark Sisco on September 9, 2019
Molly's death grieves me deeply. She was probably my oldest friend. We've known each other since we were both in our mother's wombs, and probably before that. She was a lively, passionate and loving soul.
Posted by Aira Thompson on September 9, 2019
My aunt Molly was like sunshine! She could light up any room with her bright personality, wit, smile, and warmth.  She was kind, generous, funny, and beautiful. She always had a joke or smart comment to bring a laugh or smile.  She will be missed but will live on forever in our memories.  ❤
Posted by Chris Popper on September 8, 2019
I am so sorry to see this. Molly made orthotics for our son Craig. She was a very caring person
Posted by Barbara Daniels on September 8, 2019
Molly is one of my favorite friends and jazz vocalist. We met years ago at Jazz in July at UMass. She is a balanced, kind, happy, lovely person who enjoy ed life and especially her husband. 
Music gave Molly her glow. She was an extremely talented musician who loved nothing more than listening and complimenting the music of others. 
In July of 2017, five of us (who became forever friends from our first time at UMass together) celebrated our 30th anniversary where we got to enjoy music together. Molly's was so happy to be with us. When we drove places, Molly walked. 
Iva, Evita, Val and myself love Molly dearly.
We all met with something strong in common: We all love Sheila Jordan! Molly will be remembered forever. She is unique and will live in my heart.
Love, Barb
Posted by RayKaren Buyno on September 8, 2019
Beautiful memories and photos of a beautiful person gone too soon. Ray and Karen

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Rhonda Oakes on May 20, 2020
We just heard today of Molly's passing while visiting Hanger Clinic in Bangor today getting some work done. It saddened our hearts as she was such a big part of Cassie's life, from tiny AFOs to making customized back braces, even in the operating room of the hospital. She always made Cass feel loved and cared for and when Cass sang, she sang with her! May the memories of Molly live on for ever with smiles and love of such a kind and giving lady!
Posted by Ellen Van Vranken on October 2, 2019
  Molly was one of those rare people who genuinely oozed grace, wit, humor, and positive energy to all who were fortunate enough to have known her.
She made the world a more beautiful place by freely sharing these gifts along with her lovely voice. She will be dearly missed!
Posted by Hilary St Jean on September 12, 2019
Molly said much with few words. Her voice rang through music and humble expression. For someone I’ve known for a short time, I find Molly quite a person of impact, of impression, warmth, beauty, humility, humor and wit. She accomplished all of this with simplicity and subtlety. She loved walking the “loop” around my parents’ and her and Dean’s neighborhood. Nature drew her naturally and she embodied the apparent ease of nature’s grace and delight.
Recent stories

Interview with Molly on 5/10/14 for my website

Shared by Paul Riechmann on September 8, 2019
Tough End Music: Was there music in your home growing up?



Molly Pitcher: I didn’t grow up with music all around. I mean, I did music, I was involved in music with dancing school and different things, but I didn’t come from a musical family. Other than the guitar and the folk stuff, which was real popular back then, I never was exposed. People talk about, like, Rosanne Cash, you know [laughing], “It was music all the time in the house; it never ends.” And one of my friends in Wild Ginger: her dad was a singer, and his brothers were all singers, and so there was always music in her house. That wasn’t quite the background that I came from. It’s just been this slow work in progress. And this desire to perform: I have no idea where that comes from [laughs].



TEM: Was there someone in particular who encouraged you to perform music?



MP: That first kind of encouragement probably was my guitar teacher. She was an excellent folk singer and player. She got me singing and could critique. And she’s the one who got me these tiny little gigs at age 17 with my guitar, singing mostly protest songs. I don’t know how the audience really ... [laughs]. But, you know, I was very wrapped up in the whole Vietnam, anti-war movement. So those are the tunes that I went for.



TEM: How did your transition to jazz come about?



MP: I saw Betty Carter in Seattle and kind of went,”Huh! What’s that? That’s interesting.” And when I moved back to Maine and was living in Bangor, I met Don Stratton, the trumpet player. I was kind of interested in what he did, because that [jazz] is what he did. Also, at that time, back in the early 80’s, there used to be jazz on Sunday afternoons at the Bagel Shop. I started going and hearing different musicians: Don, some of his students, Muriel Havenstein, Patti Wicks, piano players, and others. I sat there in the audience thinking, “I want to do that. That interests me.” I didn’t really know the music but started listening.



TEM: What musicians are you listening to currently?



MP: Tierney Sutton is a big [favorite] of mine. I got to see her up at the University of Maine with the Turtle Island String Quartet. That was pretty wild; that was fun. Bobby McFerrin: I just got to see him at the Portland Civic Center. That was like a re-introduction to his music. I was just mesmerized by his ability to speak to the audience. He really has a very lovely way. Wow, you know, what’s not to like about Ella Fitzgerald? She’s always been high on my list. Anita O’Day: I’m a huge Anita O’Day fan. Cole Porter? His tunes: I really just feel like I discovered them over the past several years and have been blown away by his music. Dianne Reeves is a big influence. Mike Murphy: I got introduced to him by Sheila Jordan, who is also a very early influence. I saw her years ago at the Left Bank Café in Blue Hill. I had no idea who she was but really liked her – wondering, “What is that? What is she doing? This is really different.” – and got to work with her later at the Jazz in July camps. She doesn’t have a particularly pretty voice, but she can sing a song. And I was moved by the way she clicked with the band, with the rhythm section. I’ve been influenced by that.



TEM: How is performing different for you now than when you first started?



MP: When I first started, it was something I wanted to do. But when I was in the middle of doing it, it was – for me – a study in paralysis. I was so frightened. It took a long time to really get over that. Although sometimes I could sing, and I’d be fine. But if it was any kind of a performance, it was too frightening to want to repeat it.



TEM: So how did you get over it?



MP: I did a series of Voice Discovery workshops with a vocal teacher named Martha Murphy, and she was so free and so encouraging. It was at that point I said, “I want to do this.” You get to that point in your life where you say, “I keep wanting this. I really want it, but I don’t know how to do it. But if I don’t do it, I’m going to be really disappointed.”



And so that was the beginning of saying, “Ok, I’m putting myself out there. I’m going to do it. And if people like me: that’s good. If people don’t like me: well, you know what, here I am.”



And so I sang in front of those small groups [at the workshops], and we would have a recital at the end. It just was time to do it. After the Voice Discovery workshops, I started auditioning for solos in the Bagaduce Chorale, and I got them. I can remember wondering if the beating of my heart was visible from the audience. But you just open your mouth and breathe. It came out. I did it.



And, then, it was around that time that I became part of Wild Ginger. In the beginning, we played out a lot, and I remember – before performances – I had to go sit somewhere, do a little meditation, do my breathing, and then go out on stage. I wasn’t going to let them down. And I wasn’t going to let myself down. And gradually it got easier and easier. I won’t say that my heart stopped beating like that, but ... if you want to do something bad enough, even if you don’t know why you want to do it, you just put it out there and let it go.



Singing is breathing. And playing a musical instrument is breathing. If you hold your breath, because you’re scared, it’s not going to come out. So you don’t go to that place. If you let it go, you won’t worry about someone’s face in the audience maybe not looking happy.



Singing with Wild Ginger, we had a ball: I mean we had fun. You’d look out at your audience and see people smiling, and you’d kind of focus on them. It’s fun to get to where you can not be so scared: “We’re beginning; now we’re in the middle of it; and this is what we’re doing. And I’m going to do the best I can, and I’m going to have fun.”



TEM: What are some differences between being a jazz soloist and being part of the Wild Ginger trio?



MP: Oh, huge differences. The fun thing about working in an a cappella group is that you’re creating a sound – we were a trio and, so, creating a “trio sound” – and you constantly had to be aware of what other people were doing. You needed to pay attention; you needed to listen to them. I think we blended really nicely together. You don’t want one voice to be coming out.



Switching, when I started singing jazz as a solo performer, I wanted my voice to be part of the band – not the up-front person. That doesn’t quite make sense, of course, because the vocalist is the person with the words. But I’m extremely bad with words: they don’t stay stuck in my head, and I’m constantly forgetting them. The words for me are – how can I say this? – almost like a vehicle for getting the notes out.



I don’t see the vocalist as being more important than the bass player, or the guitarist, or keyboard, or whomever you’re playing with. The vocalist is not the most important player in that group. The vocalist is one of the players. And that is what creates the magic for me – and, hopefully, for anybody listening.



TEM: What has been the biggest "break" or "opportunity" so far in your musical path?



MP: I guess the first break was singing with Wild Ginger. Then, after that, the Nocturnem jazz jams. I don’t know that I’d call that a “break,” exactly, but it gave me a regular opportunity to work with different people, get to know them, and let them get to know me [well enough to say], “Hey, Molly, come on up.”



TEM: How do you imagine it potentially could feel at gigs, if you were playing bass as well as singing?



MP: [After some modest comments about her bass-playing skills, the topic turned to keeping time in a song.] I work with a metronome a lot. Time is my friend. Time is my responsibility. That’s a constant. If your time is off, you got a weird stew going on.



TEM: We [in the rhythm section] all say, “Oh, it’s just the singer!”



MP: [Laughs.] When I went to Jazz in July camp, they had these awesome rhythm sections. I had never worked with a rhythm section. I’d only worked with a keyboard player (who was very good). But I had never worked with a keyboard, bass, and drums – that were there for us. They were such good players: their time was amazing.



That’s where I learned about having a decent chart and transposing my music. But I used to think, “The time is up to those guys. I can do whatever I want, because their time is good.” I actually thought that for awhile. And then I worked with another jazz vocalist at another jazz camp, and she started our sessions out with, “We all are responsible for our own time. If you’re depending on, and waiting for, someone else to set the groove, you’re missing out on part of your responsibility – your contribution, your thing.”



My initial response was, “Huh?” But she was the one who started encouraging me to work with a metronome. Sometimes, if I was learning a new song – of course, if you’re a vocalist, words are part of the deal – she had me learn songs with the metronome on two and four, and just speaking the words and learning how to fit them in. First, you do it the way it’s written. And then, once you feel comfortable with that, you can fiddle around with it. You can, maybe, not come in, or sing a phrase fast or percussive or....



[Her tutoring] was quite interesting, especially the part about the time. So that goes back to [the comments from the rhythm section], “Vocalists are such a pain in the ass, because they think it’s everybody else’s job.” [In an affected, air-head-vocalist voice:] “Here I am. OK. OK, ready to go. Ready to go [laughs].”



TEM: How do you decide which songs to perform at a particular gig?



MP: If I’m doing a whole night, like I’m going to be doing three sets, my first set I’ll often stick to things that I’m real comfortable with, so I can get into my voice, especially if I’m working with someone I’ve never worked with before or haven’t worked with in a long time. And if it’s just one set, my first three songs are going to be ones I’m really comfortable with and, then, as it goes, I try to pick according to feel.



I love a good ballad, but I [also] want to have something that has interesting time, that moves. You want to have some variety. I want to have a little Latin. I want to have something that’s percussive. I want to have something that’s just fun. I want to do stuff that I like [laughs].



TEM: Have you ever had, or thought about having, an agent? Is that something that could benefit you – or did benefit you?



MP: Oh, in my fantasy world, I would like to have someone say, “Molly, I would like to manage you – for free. And I will go out and get good gigs for you. And you can work with whomever you want to work with. And I will do all the calling, and the re-calling, and the showing up. And I will take care of that for you, because you are the most wonderful person I ever have known in my entire life.” Yeah, I’d love to have someone who did that stuff for me.



TEM: You had your own medical business for years. Has that influenced, at all, how you approach the music business?



MP: Yeah, of course. In my work, I never was very good in the marketing department: knocking on doors. That didn’t work for me. So, somehow, I was able to promote myself by doing a good job for people. So it was kind of done by reputation. That took a while.



TEM: Does that work in the music business – the reputation thing?



MP: Well, it does and it doesn’t. [Some] players have the reputation that if you’ve booked a gig with them: they’re going to be there; they’re going to be on time; they’re going to be professional; they’re going to be dressed. And then other people, you know: you’re not really sure. There’s always like a little “iffy” thing going on. That’s not part of my make-up. If I say I’m going to do something, it’s going to happen.



And I have a good book of tunes. I have lots of music and don’t just do the same twenty songs over and over and over again. There’s variety, so I’d like to think my reputation is as someone who comes in with something that maybe [elicits a positive reaction] – ”Gee, I haven’t heard that one in a while. That was really fun to do.” – and doesn’t just do the “standard vocal repertoire.”



So, does that help you? No! [Big laugh.]



[Molly describes how, years ago, she set her mind on pursuing a career in the male-dominated field of orthotics and prosthetics, not because she had a natural or special aptitude for the work but, instead, because it was interesting and paid well.]



It’s the same thing, I finally realized, in music. If you want it, you have to get it. That’s not to say there aren’t musicians who are so talented that somebody always goes to them. But chances are all of those [successful] people who you think might have had it easy: they went after it. And they worked hard: any one of them; in any field. Everybody says, “Oh, he’s a natural.” But I bet, whatever it is – e.g., a basketball player – they worked their butt off.



So, it’s kind of the same in music. I thought [laughing], “Why isn’t anybody coming and sweeping me off [my feet] and taking me down the musical highway?” I finally realized you have to go get it yourself. That’s hard. I don’t talk to any musician who enjoys going out and trolling for gigs. Some people are better at it than others. I’ve had some recent success and am feeling slightly more confident. But [the trolling] is always ... not fun. If you don’t pick up the phone, nobody is calling you.



Meeting Molly

Shared by Elizabeth Brock on September 8, 2019
I met Molly early in our freshman year at the University of Maine. Like most who encountered her, I was enchanted. But I was also a bit intimidated. I had been raised on a small Maine dairy farm while Molly had grown up in New Jersey. How exotic! Somehow, despite those differences or perhaps because of them, we became fast friends. We joined Students for a Democratic Society due in part to the politics of the time, but also to a shared interest in boys with long hair. Over the years Molly was a frequent guest at my parents' home and quickly earned "favored nation" status, which included the right to fall asleep in my father's recliner. Our senior year we shared a ramshackle apartment in Bangor and for the years that followed our paths intertwined from Aroostook County to Seattle. Too many stories to recount and my heart is too heavy for the words. I love Molly.  A rare, bright light.