’Her life was just beginning:’ Charlottesville musician, close friend remembers the life of Tessa Major

’Her life was just beginning:’ A Charlottesville musician and close friend remembers the life of Tessa Major

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WWBT) - Musician Morgan Moran can still hear the music playing in her mind from the first day she met Tessa Major.

“Her energy and her spirit were just amazing,” said Moran.

That was four years ago when Major was still in high school. Major was part of a program called ‘Highway to Rock,’ in Charlottesville where teenagers learned the ins and outs of rock band performance. Moran says that Major was inspired to pick up the electric bass after watching her perform.

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“When music is a part of somebody’s soul you can tell,” said Moran.

Moran first met Major face-to-face when her band headlined a performance at the Highway to Rock program.

“When she would get up on stage, she was very eager... and everybody’s on stage playing and she’d be like ‘come on’ (and) goes ‘let’s move around while we play,’” said Major. “When I met her for the first time, she came up to me and was like ‘I just want to tell you my dad took me to see Superunknown and I saw you playing bass and I love playing bass now,’ and for the short time she was playing she was just exceeding and all of her energy was just so amazing.”

That’s why Wednesday’s tragic news hit Moran so hard.

“All you can think about is just the amazing person she was and everything that she still had to do. Her life was just beginning,” said Moran

Major, who was a freshman at Barnard College in New York City, was walking by herself through Morningside Park near the college Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. when authorities say a group of men attacked her. Police believe the group was trying to rob the 18-year-old before one of the attackers pulled a knife out and stabbed Major. Tessa was rushed to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Friday police announced a 13-year-old was arrested in Major’s death. That teen faces several charges, including second-degree murder. Right now, authorities are unsure of the teen’s role, but they believe that robbery was the motive.

“I saw her face in the article, and you know your heart just hits the bottom of your stomach,” said Moran.

Moran says that Major was actually scheduled to perform a gig a Holly’s Diner in Charlottesville. Moran says the performers are usually booked a month in advance and that Major was getting back together with her old high school band ‘Patient 0’ to play at the diner on Jan. 4, 2020. Tragically, Major will never make it to that performance.

“Knowing that I don’t get to see them is very sad,” said Moran.

Though Major’s death has left the Charlottesville community in discord, Moran says the diner is planning a benefit concert for the 18-year-old on the day she was scheduled to perform.

“Music was in her heart and I believe doing a benefit concert is a good layer of the respect, love and homage that she deserves,” said Moran. “It’s always amazing to see such a young person have that amount of heart and soul and dedication into it.”

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