College of Arts and Humanities

‘Something beautiful’: Clemson Family musicians unite to create everlasting tribute song


With some help from the Clemson Family, Anthony Bernarducci created a timeless musical tribute for the family of a late dear friend.

Bernarducci, Clemson University’s director of music and vocal studies, debuted “Something Beautiful Remains” with colleagues and students at the fall concert in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts on October 26, 2023, honoring Pat Moore.

“It was a great collaboration of musicians, students and professionals. This was a great showcase of what the Department of Performing Arts can do when we collectively put our talents together,” Bernarducci said. “That was a heartwarming moment of humanity of people coming together to donate their time.”

Moore died after a four-year battle with cancer last October.

What made the night more remarkable was the contingent of six people from his home state of New Jersey, including Moore’s husband Rob, at the performance. Bernarducci had only told him he finished a tribute piece and slowly rolled out parts of it to prepare Rob for what he would witness.

“It was emotional,” Bernarducci said.

Brooks Center executive director Janice Crews played the oboe in “Something Beautiful Remains,” which runs about six minutes, and the video production was released this fall.

“It was an honor to play a piece by my friend and colleague, Dr. Bernarducci, which perfectly reflects his emotional journey,” she said. “The text is so powerful and the lyrical dialogue between the oboe and cello add so much depth to the expression of the piece.”

Processing grief

Bernarducci is well-versed in helping others process grief. He worked for a New Jersey funeral home for a decade, starting when he was 14.

To be strong for those he’d never met before going through a dark time was critical in the job.

“I never shy away from talking about this aspect of my life,” Bernarducci said. “I think I’m a better teacher because I worked there for 10 years. You are delicately handling people in their absolute, most vulnerable state and you don’t know them. You have to treat them like you’ve known them for life.”

Moore was a director of the funeral home Bernarducci worked in alongside her husband. Rob played the guitar alongside Bernarducci at the piano in a Wayne, New Jersey church. Bernarducci accepted Rob’s offer to help at the funeral home. He started directing cars in the parking lot but assumed more responsibilities in time.

“I have known them since the age of 14. They quickly became close friends and part of our family. I was at every one of their family’s weddings and big events,” Bernarducci shared. “We had that connection through work and our family. We went down to Wildwood, New Jersey, many, many summers together. Some of my best memories in life come from those visits with them. That place was a big part of the inspiration of this piece, too, because she loved it so much.”

To work through his grief, Bernarducci tapped into his affinity for music to honor Moore. The goal, he said, was to create something beautiful. Inspiration was pulled from an anonymous poem discovered by a retired high school English teacher and family friend.

I learned a lot about the human experience and how to help and read people. I know in class when I need to shift gears and notice when students come into the classroom and they don’t look the way they usually do. I can tell if something’s wrong and back off that day and notice if they’re struggling with mental health.


The choir, oboe, piano and cello are all present in the score. An opening line from the cello carries an erratic rhythm of rushing in and out like the waves on the New Jersey Shore Moore loved dearly. The out-of-nowhere news of learning about her death is reflected through a solemn melody and lengthy pause from the choir.

Bernarducci told Clemson News he intends to share the piece with as many people as possible to keep Moore’s spirit alive.

“This can be a very helpful piece for people grieving. I wanted to do something because she greatly supported me and my musical life. As a musician, I knew I wanted to do that,” Bernarducci said. “It’s a piece I wish I’d never had to write, but one that I was honored to write for her. It took me several months before I could even get to the place where I felt like I had put anything on paper as I processed the grief of her loss. It was a nerve-racking experience because I wanted to get it right.”

Something Beautiful

'The tide recedes
but leaves behind
Bright seashells on the sand.

'The sun goes down
but gentle warmth
Still lingers on the land.

'The music stops
and yet it lingers on
In sweet refrain.

'For every joy that passes
Something beautiful remains.'

- Unknown
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