Members of the Brandeis community gathered in the Slosberg Music Center on Sunday to remember Jake Sibley ’19, who died on Aug. 12. 

Rabbi Seth Winberg led the service, which heavily focused on music. Sibley was very involved in music during his time at Brandeis, choosing the University for its music program and playing violin in the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra and the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble. 

Jake Sibley’s mother, Brenda Sibley, spoke at the service. “Jake is here with us as we celebrate his life,” she said. Brenda Sibley thanked the Brandeis community, assuring those in the room that there was nothing more they could have done to prevent his death. An email from Provost Lisa Lynch to the Brandeis community on Aug. 14 said that Jake Sibley had died of suicide.

Brenda Sibley described her son, the oldest of four children, as intelligent, caring and a lover of people and music. She recalled when Jake Sibley, at age 15, started a band, made his first album and played at the famous Hollywood club “Whiskey a Go Go.” 

Brenda Sibley explained that music had helped her son through his struggles with mental health. “If it wasn’t for music, we feel like we would have lost him years ago,” she said.

Jake Sibley took piano, guitar and voice lessons, according to his mother. He also picked up the violin shortly before coming to Brandeis. During the service, his violin teachers, Andrea Segar and Robyn Bollinger, performed a string duo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in his memory. Director of the Jazz Ensemble Bob Nieske and Sam Francis ’21, who Jake Sibley knew from his time in the Jazz Ensemble, performed a piece by Thelonius Monk, and his friend Leah Chanen ’20 performed a guitar and voice piece by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Two of Jake Sibley’s music professors, Yu-Hui Chang and Erin Gee, spoke highly of his ability to create music as well as play it. 

Alex Kougasian ’21 also spoke about Jake Sibley. He recalled meeting Jake Sibley, then a transfer student, during his freshman orientation. Kougasian said they instantly formed a “brotherly bond” around their mutual interest in music.