Renee Bloch vigil held Thursday


Perla Lara

Family, friends, students and those who knew Rene Bloch gathering in front of Burnight Center Theater on Thursday, Feb. 9 for a vigil for Bloch. The crowd of over 60 people listened as past students of Cerritos College Theater Department shared their memories of Bloch and the difference she made in their lives. Photo credit: Perla Lara

Benjamin Garcia

“She was always perky and smiling,” alumnus Paul Tully started when talking about his friendship with Fine Arts Communications Division Performing Arts Promotion Specialist, Renee Bloch at a candle light vigil organized by Lab Tech I in the Fine Arts/Communications Division, Alicia Edquist.

She will be remembered by Tully most for her love of the students and the theatre department, which she was passionate about.

Tully and others said she would make an effort to go see the shows of students that had long-left Cerritos College.

According to the LA Coroners report Bloch died by suicide and was found dead in her home Feb. 2. The vigil was held a week after her death on Thursday.

Recalling his experiences with Bloch theater arts major Angel Cabrero said, “I remember when I was cast in “The Tempest” two semesters ago. I was nervous. She said ‘Try it out, you’ll do it. You’ll be fine.’ So I went through the audition process and it was an amazing experience. I made it. Once I had told her ‘I was cast as Caliban,’ she said ‘I knew it. I knew all the time.’”

He will remember her as a lover of theater, a person that always helped with love and with great courage.

Tully brought up his last memory of Bloch and started by saying that “[He] was being a jerk.” He had come to support a play that was being put on at Cerritos College but had not bought a ticket online [as he was supposed to].

When he got to the box office the show was sold out but there were extra tickets saved for people who had not shown up.

He wanted to purchase such a ticket but Bloch would not allow him to, explaining that to let him would be breaking a policy of the theatre department.

“She had a lot of integrity,” Tully summarized the story, adding, “I was being a jerk and got really upset with her.”

Bloch’s death left Tully with what he states was an important lesson to be more patient and kind with people, since he never would have thought that show night to be the last time he would speak with Bloch.

Theater technology major Megan Bates, who came to the candle light vigil to honor Bloch said that she had first gotten to know Bloch when she first got involved with the theater department as a light-board operator; Bates had helped Bloch without knowing she was head of publicity.

Later she was re-introduced to her as a stage manager, Bloch remembered Bates saying: “You’re the nice gal who helped me out last semester.”

Tully and many others at the vigil admitted to having “no idea she was suffering the kind of pain she was.”

Among which was Bates who found it “extremely unbelievable” how and why Bloch had died; this was because she was known for being “bright, bubbly and cheerful”

Tully said, “As you’ve seen here, tonight,” referring to the large turn-out at the vigil, “somebody like Bloch is special because in the arts you need people who care, love and are compassionate and willing to give to keep the artistic community going. Bloch was definitely a pillar in that community.”

He added that he learned that “you don’t know what somebody’s going through, it’s important to make that connection with each other and check in with each other.”