This is the worst news possible to begin what is supposed to be a celebratory weekend. Noel Sayre, violinist for Columbus bands Pretty Mighty Mighty and The Black Swans, died at 1:08 a.m. today. He was 37.

The Dispatch has an obituary, and people are remembering and honoring Sayre on the Donewaiting.com message board.

After the jump, I posted some words from bandmate Jerry DeCicca.

This is the worst news possible to begin what is supposed to be a celebratory weekend. Noel Sayre, violinist for Columbus bands Pretty Mighty Mighty and The Black Swans, died at 1:08 a.m. today. He was 37.

The Dispatch has an obituary, and people are remembering and honoring Sayre on the Donewaiting.com message board.

After the jump, I posted some words from bandmate Jerry DeCicca.

Dear Friends and all,

I have some very sad news to share.

Noel Sayre, my friend and bandmate for 13 years, died early in the morning of July 3rd due to a swimming accident in Portsmouth, Ohio on Tuesday July 1st.

He entered the hospital in a coma and never came out of it, his heart eventually slowing down. In the I.C.U., we listened to Rachmaninoff and Clive Palmer, two of Noel's favorites. He spent his time in the hospital with his close friends and girlfriend, Kristy, who played a big part in his happiness during the last year.

Noel and I began playing music together on New Years Eve of 1995, opening a show for the Yips and the Bassholes at Bernies Bagels in Columbus, Ohio. We split $100 for that gig, and so began a partnership that quickly became a strong and lasting friendship that the Black Swans based themselves upon.

We were always more Heckle & Jeckle and Penn & Teller than Simon & Garfunkel, as we shared an idea about music as art, posing as entertainment, that we explored over hundreds of gigs and several recordings. Musically, I always stood in Noel's shadow and Noel always felt he was my shadow. We spoke in code, a short-hand, that sometimes alienated others and sometimes amused them. We were kindred spirits in many way and couldn't be more different in others. He was quiet and articulate, rowdy and beyond shy, hyper intelligent and incredibly dense. I think I knew him better than anyone and it is safe to say there was a lot I never saw. It is shocking to think he will no longer be a part of my physical life. We both imagined that we'd be standing on stage together when we were 80, an appropriate age for our favorite tempo.

Besides the Black Swans, Noel was a member of the Ohio based rock band Pretty Might Mighty, the Huntington, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Portsmouth, Ohio Symphony. Noel also gave violin lessons in both Huntington and Portsmouth (making very little money) because he enjoyed teaching children and believed in musical education, a characteristic inherited from his parents who were also music teachers in Huntington.

There's still more of Noel's music to be heard. Just a few days ago, a record by Larry Jon Wilson, an obscure 1970's country-funk songwriter, was released on 1965 Records/ Sony UK (to be released on Hacktone later this year in the U.S.). It has already received high praise by Mojo, Uncut, Rick Rubin, Will Oldham, and dozens of UK papers. I hired Noel to play on it, accompanying only Larry Jon's voice and guitar, so he's surely a big part of the album's critical success.

Too, I'm happy to say he already recorded his parts for the next Black Swans album and, as always, played with intelligence, humor, and a transcendent pallet of emotions.

Noel taught me a lot about myself. As we played witness to one another, we stuck to our guns, charting each others growth as a person and a musician. We went through a lot together, good and bad, always expressing ourselves in different ways, but never an unkind word was exchanged, always caring and supportive. I can't imagine my life or music without him.

Noel is survived by only a cousin. A memorial service is being planned in Huntington, WV on Saturday July 12. Donations are being accepted to pay for the expenses. Please email theblackswansband@gmail.com for details on the service and contributions in a few days.

Much love, Jerry