Solace in song

William Gorman finds freedom in his music and from the support of his church after the loss of his father.

His music has freed his mind and the sounds have released his pain as one local high school senior heals after his father’s death.

“I just try to keep moving,” said William Gorman, a senior at Nottingham High School.

Gorman's father died earlier this year, and he quickly realized that nothing could have prepared him for that moment.

Photo: Jacob Greenfeld
William Gorman reflects on his father's death in quiet parts of Syracuse.

Despite his attempts to live knowing every moment is fleeting, Gorman knows that only time will lessen his pain. 

“Nothing prepares you for when you go to call him to see what the final question on 'Jeopardy!' was, but you can’t,” he said.

Gorman and his family have always had music and religion in their lives, which makes coping with the loss easier. An aspiring jazz musician, he plays locally in Syracuse. He meets regularly with Grammy-nominated vocal coach Nancy Kelly.

Gorman described himself as changed in the sense that he is now more cold, disconnected and vulnerable since his father’s passing. As a result, he closes himself off from the outside world.

The warmth and friendliness of the church community, along with the upbeat sounds of his music, have helped keep the high school senior on track for success. Gorman explained that the Southern Missionary Baptist Church he regularly attends breaks down the protective barrier he established.

“It helps me heal,” he said.  

His church now provides a safe space for William to rely on others—even those he doesn’t know well—as everyone treats him like he belongs in their own family.

Church has allowed Gorman to feel significant and valued after his father’s death, and he finds that music gives him a chance at relating with others. He can even shake the feeling of disconnection.

Gorman described music as being like the eye of a hurricane; it helps him separate from the reality of his loss through freedom of expression.

“I’m doing a service to someone else,” he said. “I think that gives me solace.”

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