Paul Duchscherer – Memorialized
Hello, My name is Alexys Paris.
I am fortunate to have worked with Paul in a unique capacity. While many of you worked with him through his career, I am honored to have trained his vocal instrument.
Over the years of teaching voice, I have learned that in most cases, the voice and the individual are inseparable. As goes the voice, so goes the individual, and vice-versa. Paul was obviously confident in who he was and there was a child-like buoyancy there that reflected in his voice.
I met Paul Duchscherer in about April 2012. His friend, Cynthia purchased a LivingSocial coupon for singing lessons. I’ll never forget the 1st day he called to book the 1st lesson. He was so excited. He called, and we set the 1st appointment, and then, I realized, he wouldn’t hang up the phone. He kept talking. I thought, he’s not hanging this phone up; he keeps talking. I thought: Who is this person…? We finally hang up, but some days later, he had to call back, because he had a conflict on his calendar and needed to reschedule the appointment. We rescheduled the appointment, and then again, he wouldn’t stop talking! He kept talking. He would say he’s going to hang up, but then start another round of talking! I was so annoyed! Again I thought: Who is this person, and thought, I don’t think this is going to go very well. I don’t think I can work with him! Finally, we hang up. So, of course in his 1st lesson at The Voice Studio in San Francisco, I was eager, to try an understand who this person was. I could now put the voice with the face, and the person. He come’s in, and I go through my normal dialog: Tell me about your voice, your experiences, your goals and aspirations with this; what do you like about your voice, and what would you like to work on? Somewhere in that dialog, it dawns on me: “Oh, I get it, He’s a good person.” He’s a good person…
That was the start of our friendship. We would talk for hours, yes, in the voice lesson(s). We would talk for hours. One of the owners of The Voice Studio once said, you two are like two little old women! We would just talk. Voice lessons did happen, I made sure of that. I would say to him, come on Paul, let’s have a voice lesson, we need to have a voice lesson here!
Through the meticulous process of vocal instruction, I witnessed through sight and sound the improvement of his voice, and Paul was very appreciative to me for that. Although this was a wonderful contribution that I could make in his life, Paul made very important contributions into my life. He was a very positive thinker. Sometimes I thought, is he in denial about certain things, what I thought of as certain realities? But I came to realize, no, he was not. He was determined to stay positive and focused on a desired outcome. He just wouldn’t allow any negativity to breach his positive perception in any aspect of his life. I observed that he never seemed to criticize himself, and therefore, rarely criticized others. That was rare. I came to realize how rare that was. From those observations, Paul influenced how I now think about myself, how I think about obstacles, and how I think about life. Although I was the teacher, Paul taught me a great deal.
I suggested to Paul to record an album, and he agreed. In 2015, we went into 25th Street Recording Studio in Oakland and recorded music and vocals. He enjoyed being in the studio and was amazed by the process. When we recorded his voice, Paul opened up and revealed his soul. He was passionate about it. He was so excited to share this music with all of you. Each of you will receive a copy of the CD, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it. I know this is Purely a Gift from his Heart, to you, those he loved.
I gave Paul several suggestions for the name of the album, but Paul said no, to all of them. He wasn’t quite certain what he would call it, but he was sure he would come up with the appropriate title. In his work, as he wrote letters or emails to his clients, he stated he would always sign it… Love, Paul. And in the end, as entitled on the CD, it seems to me the greatest Gift he ever gave was… “Love, Paul.” That was who he was, and I am fortunate to have known him.
I am a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist. And in Buddhism, there is a term called Zenchishiki. It means one who befriends another who is Buddhist in nature and provides good influences… a good friend, a good person. I knew him for only 5 years. But in that short time, he became my best friend. He was truly a Zenchishiki to me, and I am eternally grateful. I never saw him coming. I never saw him coming, and when he departed, I was only left wondering, what really had just happened here. It seemed mystical in some way…
As much as Paul loved to talk, I must say to him, Thank you Paul. Thank You for your examples in action and your true friendship. I’m a better person and teacher because of you. Thank you.