FORT WORTH — The Southwest High School orchestra's UIL competition last month was Eric Forrester's crowning moment in his musical career — a career cut tragically short Monday afternoon when he was shot and killed by intruders at his Fort Worth home.
With Forrester performing solo in the cello section, the school won top ratings from the judges.
"I think he felt a lot of pride in that accomplishment, and we were very proud of him for that," said orchestra teacher Don Sibley. It didn't take long for him to discover Eric's passion for music — he played five different instruments.
Sibley said Eric was always prepared, because he practiced for hours on his cello.
"He really liked working on the Prelude to the first Bach cello suite," Sibley said. "His dad said he would fill the house that way, which is a good way to remember."
Sibley and the orchestra are reworking their spring concert to play a piece that honors Eric's memory.
On that night — and for all of the rehearsals until then — Eric's seat in the cello section will remain empty, a tribute his classmates came up with earlier this week, shortly after Eric died.
"That spot's not occupied right now," Sibley said. "But it's like he's still there with a lot of us."
The Southwest High School orchestra plans to dedicate its May 19 performance to Eric Forrester.
The teen's funeral has been set for Monday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 5001 Altamesa Boulevard, in Fort Worth.