Where Tess’ Love Begins

How do you define forever?

That’s a question Suzanne Tanner faces every day.

Tess Tanner (Photo/Suzanne Tanner)

Tess Tanner (Photo/Suzanne Tanner)

She’s the mother of Tess Tanner, a 12-year-old Coleytown Middle School musician, actor, environmentalist and fun-loving girl who died 5 summers ago in a motor vehicle accident, while attending summer camp in Maine.

For Suzanne, “forever” means never letting go of her daughter’s poetry, passions and determination to make a difference.

It also means honoring Tess with a musical theater production that Suzanne herself has written.

“Where the Love Begins” is a musical memoir — “a mother’s love story,” she says — titled after Tess’ 1st poem, written when she was 5.

Suzanne performs a world premiere reading of the musical on Wednesday, August 17 — the 5th anniversary of her daughter’s death — at Saugatuck Congregational Church (7:30 p.m.).

The free event includes a special dance tribute by Staples High School junior Katherine Flug.

where the love beginsThere’s special poignancy to the show. Many of Tess’ classmates leave soon, entering college and pursuing passions of their own.

Suzanne — an award-winning musician while at Harvard — calls her multimedia composition “a musical monument” for her daughter, and “a thank-you gift to the universe for the profound privilege of parenthood.”

The show has received Broadway interest. It will workshop next year, fulfilling Suzanne’s mission to immortalize her daughter’s essence, and continue Tess’ emphasis on family, friendship and faith in forever love.

(For more information, click here or email PoeTessProductions@gmail.com)

6 responses to “Where Tess’ Love Begins

  1. Blessings on this incredible family.

  2. K.G. Johnson

    Special thanks for this post: sad/beautiful, after reading all the nasty soul-killing headlines, I’m reminded how love, after all the attacks upon it, remains, and my fainting heart regains some strength.

  3. Susan Hopkins

    Unimaginable loss. Eternal love.

  4. Barbara Stephen

    Thx, Dan, Polly Temple & I saw this and decided to get together at the Cottage and then attend this event. Hope to hear from you or see you there!!


  5. Tess was a most remarkable young lady! Her passion for words, family and nature was unparalleled amongst young people her age. She had an uncanny understanding of people which some folks never seem to manage, even well into their midlife. I will never forget the beauty Tess brought to our world. I am so very proud of her. I’m also proud of her mother, Suzanne, for maintaining her courage throughout these past five years, the very same courage which brings us this new program, “Where the Love Begins!” Wishing you all the best, Suzanne!

  6. Brenda Forry

    Tess was an amazing young girl. She had a zest for life. I always felt better in her presence. My last memory of Tess was at the Cape where she told me I would never be able to text because my fingers were too fat! Suzanne, thank you for keeping her wonderful memory alive.