My Brother, Steve Rickett

July 25, 2010

I created this WordPress blog as a way for my late brother Steve’s friends and colleagues to remain in touch. Until meeting so many of you at his memorial service in Savannah last July 17th, I was not aware of how well respected he was musically. I heard many interesting stories, both publicly and privately that I hope will make it to this website.  I wouldn’t want his musical accomplishments to slip into oblivion. I invite you to comment and contribute.


  1. Steve’s passing has been a huge loss to the music community in the Southeast and to me personally.
    I’d like to share a few memories here.

    First and foremost, I’d like to say that those of us who had the privilege of playing in a bass section with Steve had the opportunity to see him at his best. You had the feeling that it was a team effort, and we were always inspired by his great musicianship and knowledge of the music. One of his sayings was “Composer, conductor, bass section”. Our duty to the composer came first, followed by doing what the conductor wanted, followed by playing together as a section.

    I first met Steve in the summer of 1978, when we were members of the bass section for the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Charleston, SC and then in Spoleto, Italy. Here’s one story from that summer – we had rented motorbikes and went for a drive up into the mountains surrounding Spoleto. On the way home, we stopped at a small village to get a snack. It turned out the owner of the only store/restaurant in town spoke English. Instead of a snack, he and his wife treated us to an amazing multi-course meal.

    Then in 1983 Steve and I were again members of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra bass section. The highlight that summer was sharing a stand with Steve for many performances of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. It was one of the musical highlights of my life – playing Puccini in that great old Italian theater.

    The following season, I was hired to play in the Savannah Symphony, where Steve had been since 1978. My first day in Savannah, Steve took me out on the first of many boating expeditions in the local tidal creeks. It was a great season of music and camaraderie. After many of the Masterworks concerts there would be a party and Steve’s house. There was a memorable visit from Steve’s friend Ed Castalano, which included a couple of trips to the golf course.

    After that year, I went on to other jobs, but continued to visit Savannah regularly, with a stop by Steve’s house usually included. I moved back to Savannah in 2000, and at that time Steve recommended me for several jobs. We performed many concerts together in these past ten years, always with the music as the primary focus.


    • Thanks for the great post. I hope others will follow your lead.


  2. I happened on this site about a week ago and I needed several days for this news to sink in.
    I scarcely know what to say I’m so shocked –but here goes:

    Steve and I met at the Spoleto Festival in 1983. We spent two summers together in Italy and our close relationship continued for several years thereafter. One of my vivid memories of Steve is his propensity for the phrase “This is as good as it gets.” He would say this frequently when we were enjoying, for example… a thick steak cooked on the open fire in a Spoleto restaurant after an opera performance, a picnic in the Italian countryside with a bottle of wine, a frolic in the surf at Daytona Beach, a margarita at sunset on Key West, or a feast of fresh seafood with friends in his kitchen in Savannah. Sometimes I would disagree with him, telling him that if something is ‘as good as it gets’ it implies there’s nothing to look forward to. After all, who doesn’t want to believe that life gets better with each passing year?

    I have a box full of letters and photos… to the best of my recollection, the last time I saw Steve was around 1988 and we corresponded for the last time around 1992. I’m hopeful he enjoyed many fabulous experiences during the ensuing years as I have too. Yet as I think back now and reflect on our time together, I believe he was right. Many of the pieces of life we shared were “as good as it gets.”

    I will never forget him.

    Karen Richardson
    New York City


    • Thank you, Karen.


  3. I met Steve also at the Spoleto Festival in Italy.I believe the year was 1976 or 77. We were great friends. I took some photos of Steve those years and they remind me of the great times we had at the festival. In 1978 I took on my first job as principal clarinet of the Charleston, SC, symphony. From there we reconnected. On occasion I would play with the Savannah Symphony and hang out with steve. He was truly dedicated to the Double Bass and one fantastic player. Several years later when I was in the Chicago area I found him via the internet where we communicated via Email. I also remember a wonderful phone conversation at this same time.
    Today I searched the internet and found out of his passing. It’s now been over one year and two months since his passing…I have been so sad all day with this belated news. There is no one like Steve. I miss him, his stories, his musicianship….God Bless you Steve!
    Ted Lane, Clarinet (Spoleto Festival-1974, 75 76 77 78.)
    Quito, Ecuador


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