I See the Moon: SongNotes

J. O’Reilly Productions, Cultural Arts and Blog
J. O’Reilly Productions, Cultural Arts and Blog
I See the Moon: SongNotes

Remembering Aunt Margaret

Margaret Rattenbury Tucker
November 5, 1931 – December 1, 2021

December 4, 2021
I See the Moon

Jamie O’Reilly

“…Then would begin our anthem prayer in the dark. Then, we would sing to the moon.”

Bridget O’Reilly “From My Mother to You” concert

We’ve lost our Aunt Margaret, who just saw her 90th birthday a few weeks ago from a hospital bed. A thoughtful group of family put together a video for her, and she saw our love notes before she passed. She was a tough cookie – rising from near death several times before succumbing. Taken good care of by daughter Ellen.

Aunt Margaret is the last of our O’Reilly elders. She leaves us with my promise we’ll continue to sing together, something she always loved. Though painting was her own talent (and what a gift it was), she hosted many Salons, which she called ‘Musicales’, with our beloved, late Uncle Dan (Tucker) in Rogers Park and Evanston, continuing a family tradition started with Dan’s folks in the early 1900s. Her family had roots in Vaudeville.

Due to the pandemic, a limited number will gather today. Our family is really bereft without our singing gatherings. It is the way we honor the lives.

With the holidays upon us, I’m hearing the music I sang at Christmas on a sound-loop in my head. Carols with Beth Ann and the Rogues, the sublime songs Michael wrote for Gift of the Magi, which we performed on and off for over ten years. (Tribune Journalist/WGN radio host Rick Kogan was our narrator a few times.) And of course, caroling and parties with our extended family.

No matter the matter at hand for we grown-ups, in the world of children, life goes on, and in this house, so the music. I’ll never stop hearing Michael’s songs in my head, my Mom and Beth Ann’s voices at Christmastime. I’ll always remember the musicale nights at the Tuckers.

Today we’ll lay to rest our dear, spirited Aunt Margaret.

Here’s a recording of my family singing our anthem to the moon, live at the Chicago Cultural Center over 25 years ago. Uncle Dan and Aunt Margaret were in the house. Your spirits are with us still!

Listen to the O’Reillys singing I See the Moon
Preceded by Bridget’s lovely introduction
. (At I:23 song begins)

“The arts were central to her and Dan’s lives. Margaret was Dan’s biggest fan and advocate, and with her encouragement and support he composed works that have been performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra, including selections from his opera “Many Moons,” while working full time as an editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune. As an empty nester, Margaret took up painting and over the next several decades produced a prodigious body of beautiful work, in a distinctive and recognizable style. Her paintings were given as gifts to friends and relatives across the country who display them proudly and enjoy them dail

Margaret Tucker, Obituary

Read the full tribute to Margaret here:

Dan Tucker, Margaret’s husband of 53 years. My beloved “uncle,” my father’s first cousin

SongNotes is an essay series written by Jamie telling the story behind songs
she’s sung and/or recorded in her over 40 year career as a singer and producer.