Friday, May 5, 2017

BC Keller, our friend forever

Mike and I are heartbroken to share that BC Keller, UCI’s longtime Sound Supervisor, passed away on the morning of 4 May due to complications from cancer. He was a hell of a guy, a prince among men, and his death has left a big hole in all of our hearts.

I first met BC in 2006. I was living in NYC at the time but contemplating a move to LA. I flew out for a week of meetings and temperature-taking, and during my visit to South Coast Repertory, he gave me a tour of the facilities. Shortly after I started at UCI in 2007, BC left SCR to take the Sound Supervisor position at Dallas Theatre Center.  A few years later, when we had an opening at UCI, Mike and I were able to tempt him back to southern California.  He was with us at UCI for the rest of his life.

BC was super-smart. He knew how to tackle complex concepts and gear. He was our resident expert on some of the equipment that Mike and I occasionally struggled with.  He taught our LCS & D-Mitri modules, and the students knew that he was the go-to person with questions when they were furstrated with programming. 

BC was kind and generous.  He came in early and stayed late. He responded to text messages and phone calls from his students even on his (rare) days off, and he maintained just as active a relationship with our alumni as Mike and I do. We often thought of him as our third faculty member in the sound design program. He didn’t formally teach, but he understood that in his work with the sound department, he was mentoring and teaching students. He took that responsibility seriously.

BC had a love for life that was inspiring. Even when he was at his most exhausted and frustrated, he was full of corny jokes and a mischievous sense of humor.  When I sent an email to the current and former students announcing his death, I asked them to share some of his sense of humor with me.  In response, I’ve gotten lots of screengrabs of text message exchanges.  Everyone had a special relationship with BC. I know I did.

Mike and I are devastated by his death, for reasons both personal and professional.  Not only was BC a colleague at work, but he was a friend. We hung out with him, ate with him, drank with him. We visited him in the hospital and at home during his last months, as he rested, enjoyed catching up with family and friends, watching movies, listening to music. We watched his mother Patty as she cared for him, and we wished, as always, that we could do more, could ease his burden, just as he eased ours.

On behalf of our MFA family: Cory, Joe, Palmer, Tim, Todd, Noelle, Stephen, Patricia, Beth, Jeff, Mark, Matt, Josh, Brian, Kelsi, Matt, Ben, Andrea, Jordan, Ning, and Andrew, and our undergrad family: Sinan, Karli, Elliot, Kate, Cinthia, Ryan, and Jacques, we want to thank BC for spending so much of his short time on Earth with us.

We’ll never forget you.