During childhood, Tessa Majors decided she was a cat named Dr. Trixie.
“It was hard to get her to answer to anything but Dr. Trixie for awhile,” reads a letter from her father.
Throughout her too-short-life, Majors was fiercely independent and loyal, according to friends and family who celebrated her life with music, poems, memories and prayer at St. Anne’s-Belfield School on Saturday. She was a writer, a musician and a loyal friend who loved nature, her cats, her brother Maxwell and her family and friends, they said.
Majors, 18, a 2019 St. Anne’s-Belfield School graduate in her freshman year at Barnard College, was fatally stabbed near the college’s campus in New York City earlier this month. A 13-year-old boy has been charged in her death and at least one other teen has been questioned in the killing, according to media reports.
She is the daughter of Christy Majors and James Madison University professor and novelist Inman Majors.
At her celebration, more than 25 young musicians and Majors’ friends performed many of her favorite songs on a stage at St. Anne’s, leading off with Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and closing with “Prom Queen,” a song she wrote for her band, Patient 0.
“Essentially, Tess had a really big band and I was a part of it. You all are too,” said friend Nahlij Corbin.
St. Anne’s Head of School David Lourie said that the broad spectrum of people in the crowd was a testament to the influence that Tess had had on so many.
“Each and every one of us can share stories about Tess and how our time with her at school, in camp, in the music studio, on the stage, over a cup of coffee, left us feeling better, left us feeling more optimistic about the future,” he said.
David Smith, one of Majors’ teachers at St. Anne’s, said she made everyone feel like they belonged.
“Her confidence allowed her to knit the world together within this school and outside of it,” he said. “She tethered communities who didn’t speak to one another because she thought we were all worth knowing, and that we should all be friends.”
Before performing “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone, Corbin encouraged attendees to get up and dance.
“I don’t mind, I don’t think Tess would mind either,” he said.
A May video of Majors at St. Anne’s was played, where she described her struggles opening up to people, how she found an outlet to express and understand her feelings in songwriting and encouraged the audience to share their feelings and embrace their vulnerability.
“The world will benefit from hearing your unique perspective much more than it will from your silence,” she said in the video.
Smith said that many came to the service having their world shattered and disordered, “but I think Tess would look down to us, extend a hand — maybe with a roll of the eyes — and say, ‘It’s okay to cry, but get up you weirdo. Dust yourself off. Quit your whining. Jump up and down and dance,’” he said.