The following deceased CRCCM members remain in our thoughts and prayers, and are especially remembered at each annual gathering:
C. Alexander Peloquin
Elise Murray Cambon
Joseph B. Smith
Rita Avram Schaffer
Robert J. Schaffer
John Calvin West
Walter Lynn Bauman
Robert Anthony Giroir, Jr.
Leo Cornelius Nestor
You can click on their name to view additional information about them. If you have any information you would like to share about any of our deceased members, please contact the webmaster.
Peter LaManna (d. January 16, 1990)
Peter LaManna died on the afternoon of January 16, 1990. Although many will miss and memorialize him, the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians has particular reason to rejoice and be grateful for Peter’s ministry, art and advocacy.
Peter LaManna, as much as anyone, founded this Conference on the heels of his service with Richard Proulx and Gerald Muller on the search committee for the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. When it became obvious that their constructive professional dialogue should be shared and advanced throughout the community of Cathedral musicians, Peter LaManna volunteered to host the original thirteen founding Cathedrals in Philadelphia on November 13 and 14, 1984. For that small number of musicians, exceptional memories abound, but for all of us who eventually grew into the CRCCM, it was the high standards and manner of one such as Peter which was to shape, and guide this organization. He was its senior advisor, theorist, and trustee.
Peter was cherished by his friends, his associates and colleagues, his singers, his students, and the multitude of ordained clergy that he counseled and taught. More than any musician, Peter had an ardent and categorical dialogue with the ordained clergy and the hierarchy of the official Church. Yet, it was a relationship predicated on mutual esteem born not of reverence for the status of high ecclesiastical authority, but of the sincere approbation of the worth of every single human being that Peter touched, even Archbishops.
Art stood at the very core of Peter’s being. The music of the Church was his daily work which he undertook with humility, faith, and adamant high standards. Peter could have been termed a traditionalist, but never a reactionary, a visionary, yet hardly an iconoclast. He loved chant and understood it intimately. For him chant wasn’t old music—it was ongoing and renewing. It was, as he said again and again, prayer.
At the Conference in Corpus Christi, only two weeks before he died, Peter’s spirit burned bright on a superb Wednesday afternoon when he, once again, presented his insights into chant performance. He made prophetic remarks, however subtle, about his own mortality and the approaching end of his term on earth, but perhaps his real farewell to the Conference came in his brilliant analysis, not emotional but intensely felt, of the introits of the three Christmas Masses. How the Father embraced his Son in the cold quiet of midnight, how the shepherds came to behold the Babe at first light, and how in resplendent radiance of daylight the Universe resonated with unbridled rapture.
Peter has quit the cluttered streets of this life to embrace his Father in person. He has met the Babe. And now, at long last, all Creation resonates with the vibrancy of his art. For that art and those rich and wonder filled seasons with Peter LaManna among us, Deo gratias!
The Steering Committee
Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians.
John Grady (d. September 27, 1990)
John Grady, the director of music for St. Patrick's Cathedral and an organist there and at the Metropolitan Opera, died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 56 years old.
Mr. Grady died of a heart attack in his sleep, David Callahan, the executor of his estate, said.
Mr. Grady became St. Patrick's musical director in 1970, the fifth since the cathedral was dedicated in 1870. He had been organist there since 1965, the year he became organist at the Met.
Mr. Grady had been musical director at the Church of the Holy Family, also known as the Parish Church of the United Nations. In 1965, during Pope Paul VI's visit to the United Nations, Mr. Grady organized the choral and orchestral program for a papal meeting with representatives of other major faiths at the Holy Family Church.
Emphasized Classical Music
He traveled extensively in Europe giving concerts, including several appearances at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and at Westminster Cathedral in London.
Mr. Grady hewed to the line of classical music at St. Patrick's.
''I am not a musical snob,'' he said in an interview at the time of his appointment. ''We don't have an indigenous folk tradition in the church. We have to borrow it from the Tennessee hills. I don't find music like that inadmissible, but the judgment of it must be qualitative. This cathedral is an exemplar, and I think it must have a great degree of excellence in any facet.''
A native of Great Neck, L.I., Mr. Grady began his career at the age of 10 as a member of the choir of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Manhattan. He became assistant organist at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola and on his graduation from Fordham University in 1957 studied organ with Virgil Fox and piano with Eric Zardo.
He attended the Graduate School of Music at Columbia University and studied under Bernard Wagenaar at the Juilliard School. As director of music at WFUV, Fordham University's radio station, he initiated live broadcasts from areas of the city.
There are no immediate survivors.
C. Alexander Peloquin (d. February 27, 1997)
C. Alexander Peloquin, composer, cathedral organist, and director of music ministries, had a special relationship to the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. He served on our first Board of Directors; in fact, he dominated our first Board meeting, as only Alex Peloquin could! The year was 1976, and the day was November 19. NPM had just been formed and everyone on the Board had dreams of what was needed in the area of church music.
Alexander Peloquin was very much part of the Board’s discussions about what NPM ought to be. But Alex was also interested in telling us that “a lot of religious music today is boring, and I don’t think worship calls us to boredom.” He then spoke, at length, about the importance of syncopation (one of his favorite themes) and jazz rhythms and how they showed up in various religious works. He went on to point out that the harmonies in his music were reminiscent of those used by George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein. The NPM Board did not meet again for another seventeen years!
Alexander Peloquin was born in Northbridge, Massachusetts, and began music training on the piano when he was eight. He had a regular radio spot for piano performance at age eleven, gave an organ recital in his teens, and played piano with Leonard Bernstein. In World War II, he served as a bandmaster for the 314th Army Band, bringing the sounds of Gershwin to GIs in Italy, France, and Morocco. Starting in the 1950s Peloquin began a 13-year relationship with the The Catholic Hour, first on NBC radio, then on CBS television. In the course of his life he composed more than 150 works.
At the National Liturgical Week in 1964 in St. Louis, Missouri, he directed his composition of the first Mass using an English text, while during that same week Clarence Rivers was introducing “God is Love” and the rest of his “American Mass Program.” Alexander Peloquin was one of the few classically trained composers inspired by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The compositions by Peloquin that most lay people would probably recognize is the very successful Gloria from Mass of the Bells and the Lyric Liturgy.
After conducting the Papal Mass at Grant Park, Chicago, in 1979, Alexander Peloquin came across town to conduct a choir at the memorable closing ceremony of the Second NPM National Convention. After completing his beautiful version of All the Ends of the Earth and receiving a standing ovation which concluded the performance and the event, Alex, dressed in his trademark white suit, bowed to the audience several times, asked for quiet, and then suggested that “we should do it again in order to get the rhythm right.” We did.
Alex was the Organist and Director of Music Ministries for the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in Providence (1960-1991), and he was responsible for the installation of the magnificent Casavant Frères organ in that cathedral. During this time, he was also affiliated with Boston College, teaching courses in choral conducting and composition, serving as composer-in-residence, and forming and maintaining the Peloquin Chorale, with his close friend Laetitia Blain serving as soloist on many occasions.
Alexander Peloquin received the NPM Pastoral Musician of the Year Award in 1989 and the NPM President’s Citation in 1993 on the occasion of his retirement. But no award can give adequate honor to this man who spent his life in service of the renewal of the liturgical life of the Church through music. Alex now gives glory to God with the heavenly choir, and, we are certain, he already has them singing in perfect rhythm!
Tribute prepared by NPM staff, published in Pastoral Music, April-May 1997, pg. 10. Reprinted with permission.
Paul Koch (d. July 25, 1999)
Paul Koch—Choirmaster, organist and devotee of liturgical music
by Rebecca Sodergren (Post-Gazette Staff Writer)
When Paul Koch’s choir at St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland was preparing to perform Mozart’s Requiem, he “probably spent six months rehearsing it until we had it perfectly,” Louis Tarantino of Highland Park, a choir member, said. “It was a beautiful piece, and he wanted it to be done beautifully. That’s the kind of man he was.”
Mr. Koch, who was the choirmaster and organist at St. Paul from 1949 until his retirement in 1989, died Sunday at UPMC Shadyside of congestive heart failure. He was 86.
After graduating from Carnegie Institute of Technology—now Carnegie Mellon University—in 1935, Mr. Koch spent three years studying in Europe, two in Bach’s hometown of Leipzig, Germany, and one in Paris.
Mr. Koch followed in the footsteps of his father, Caspar, who taught organ at Carnegie Tech and was the city of Pittsburgh organist. Following his father’s retirement as city organist in 1954, Mr. Koch took over and continued in the post until 1974, playing a free organ recital in Carnegie Hall on the North Side every Sunday afternoon until the building was closed and then in the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. When Mr. Koch retired, the post of city organist was not filled.
During his heyday at St. Paul in the 1950s and ’60s, Mr. Koch directed as many as 80 children in the boys’ choir and 40 men in the men’s choir, and, when the boys’ choir ceased to exist, he directed the adult choir, which began accepting women in 1970.
While at the cathedral, Mr. Koch was instrumental in getting the famed Beckerath organ installed at a cost of $100,000, then inviting organists from around the world to play recitals on it.
He also served as dean of the American Guild of Organists and taught workshops around the country.
While Mr. Koch was the choirmaster, the group traveled to Ireland, Austria, Italy, Germany and Spain. A highlight was the groups 1975 trip to sing in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rom on Thanksgiving Day.
Betty and Louis Tarantino, 30-year choir members, remember Mr. Koch fondly, recounting how he used to tell “humorous little stories” during rehearsal.
Yet he was also “a perfectionist,” Louis Tarantino said. “He wouldn’t have us sing anything in public until we really knew it.”
He insisted on sacred classical music during church services; Betty Tarantino remembered he used to have the group sing Mozart, Bach, Beethoven—“the real classics.”
But at fund-raisers for their overseas trips, Mr. Koch sometimes had the choir sing tunes from Broadway revues in concert at Synod Hall in Oakland.
“He was very emotional about music—he loved it. It was his life,” Betty Tarantino said. “When we sang something he loved, he would even cry.”
Mr. Koch’s daughter, Carol Koch of Vienna, Austria, echoed the sentiment that music was her father’s life.
“He was highly trained and devoted to liturgical music,” she said. “He had music in his bones.”
Mr. Koch’s wife, Katharine of Oakland, who also holds a music degree from Carnegie Tech, served as his rehearsal accompanist for the choir and described him as a “very well-respected musician.”
In fact, she said, one of his teachers in France told him he could have been among the world’s greatest organists, but “he loved people, and he didn’t like sitting at a bench and practicing for eight hours to become a concert musician.”
But he had a wonderful life without all that and parishioners would stop him on the street to say they missed him well after his retirement.
Choir members will demonstrate that respect at his funeral tomorrow.
“We’re going to try to sing things he would have liked,” Betty Tarantino said.
Besides his wife and daughter, Mr. Koch is survived by sons Paul Jr. of New Hampshire and P. Damien of Colorado as well as four grandchildren.
Visitation is from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today in John A. Freyvogel Sons Inc. in Oakland. A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Paul Cathedral, Oakland.
Haldan Tompkins (d. May 2, 1995)
Haldan "Hal" Tompkins, who recently retired from a 29-year career as organist and music director at St. Peter in Chains Cathedra, Cincinnati, died May 2. He was 63.
A memorial Mass was celebrated May 6 at St. Antoninus Church, Delhi.
Tompkins was appointed cathedral music director in 1965 by Archbishop Karl J. Alter and served under four archbishops in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He organized and directed music for several major events in the archdiocese, including the installations of former Archibishop Joseph Bernardin and Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, as well as the funerals of Archbishop Paul F. Leibold and Archbishop Alter.
Tompkins also supervised the rebuilding of the cathedral's organ, which was rededicated in 1987.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen of Delhi; two daughters, Susan Fisher of California and Ellen Loch of Phoenix; three sons, David of Milford, Christopher of West Chester and Stephen of Sharonville; a brother, Richard of Huntington Beach, Calif.; and his mother, Delphine LaLonde Tompkins of Delhi.
(The Catholic Telegraph, May 12, 1995)
James Hecht (d. September 30, 1993)
James A. Hecht, 42, of Columbus, died Thursday, September 30, 1993, at his home. He was the former Director of Music of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, and Choir Director and Organist of St. Joseph Cathedral. He was born in Springfield, Ohio. He received his Bachelor of Music from Baldwin-Wallace University in 1979 and his Masters of Music from Northwestern University in 1979. He was former Music Director of St. Francis de Sales Parish, Parma, a member of the American Guild of Organists, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians. He was preceded in death by his father, James A. Hecht. He is survived by companion, Timothy O'Neill of Columbus, mother, Betty and step-father, Benjamin Beatty of Springfield, brother, David A. of Albuquerque, New Mexico, brother, Timothy L. and sister-in-law, Lynn of Key West, Florida; niece, EWlizabeth and nephew Eric of Key West, Florida; grandmother, Juanita Howard of West Liberty; and many dear firends and relatives. Friends may call Sunday from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. with evening prayer at 8 p.m. with Fr. Kevin J. Kavanaugh officiating at St. Joseph Cathedral, 212 East Broad Street, where the Funeral Mass will be held Monday 10 a.m. with Msgr. Joseph N. Fete, Celebrant and Msgr. James P. Hanley, Homilist. Burial Calvary Cemetery, Springfield, Ohio. Memorial contributions may be made to Faith Ministries and the Catherdral Music Fund. Arangements by EGAN-RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 403 East Broad Street, Columbus.
John-Michael Caprio (d. December 25, 1997)
John-Michael Caprio had been serving as executive director of the Commission on Church Music for the Archdiocese of New York when John Grady, music director at St. Patrick’s, died suddenly in the autumn of 1990. The Cathedral found itself with no one to lead the music for Grady’s funeral, and almost as an afterthought Caprio was asked to take over. But it quickly became obvious that St. Patrick’s had far more than a fill-in; their “temporary” conductor showed a clear vision of sacred music’s potential. Better still, he had the authority, talent and energy to implement that vision. Within months he was named music director for the Cathedral, a position that he held until his tragic death at age 50 on Christmas Day of 1997.
Not since the days of the legendary Pietro Yon had St. Patrick’s enjoyed such a variety of musical events, offered not only in the Cathedral but on recordings and in broadcasts worldwide. With Caprio as the driving force, a single loosely-organized choir evolved into four distinct, well-polished vocal units, each one used for a specific musical purpose. But whether music was provided by the sixteen-voice Cathedral Schola (for vespers, which were regularly scheduled for the first time in decades) or the seventy-voice Cathedral Singers (for major festivals), the musical life of St. Patrick’s was driven by liturgical correctness. Caprio gave an interview during which he shared his thoughts about the use of music in worship services: “The church should never be a salon or a concert hall for a composer to show off his skills.”
However, concerts themselves were a different matter, giving Caprio an opportunity to display his showman’s instinct. A perfect example is provided by the concert you’re hearing this evening, A City Singing at Christmas. Not only did he refine the level of its repertoire and performances; he had an eye for details. The concert had always ended with musicians and congregation joining in “Silent Night.” It was John-Michael Caprio who decided that it would be a handsome touch to turn the carol into a candlelight processional, sung against a backdrop of the Cathedral’s Fifth Avenue doors slowly opening to bring the city itself into the celebration. Concertgoers were thrilled, and the moment has been repeated at the close of the program every year thereafter.
—Salvatore Basile, Cathedral Music Historian
(with thanks to James Poma and David Skoblow)
John Balka (d. December 16, 1999)
John Balka, the organist and director of sacred music at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington since 1997, died of liver cancer Dec. 16, 1999, at his home in Washington.
Mr. Balka was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in musical arts in the early 1970s from the University of Oklahoma.
He worked as an organist, choirmaster and music director at churches in Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan and California—notably, St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco—and Texas before coming to Washington. From 1982 to 1985, he was an organ instructor at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
In the late 1980s, Mr. Balka recorded "John Balka Plays the Great Organ of St. Mary's Cathedral," "Historic Organs of San Francisco" and "A Tribute to Olivier Messiaen."
He made two recordings last year, "The Angel With the Trumpet," in which he plays organ at the Morton H. Meyersson Symphony Center in Dallas, and "Queen of Angels," in which he directs the St. Mary's Cathedral choir in Austin.
He helped found the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians and was a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and American Guild of Organists.
(Tribute printed in the Washington Post)
Howard Hoyt (d. November 9, 1992)
Howard Hoyt, St. James Organist Who Delighted With His Creativity
by Melinda Bargreen
Howard Hoyt, one of the region's leading organists and a mainstay of the St. James Cathedral music ministry, died Monday evening after a long struggle with AIDS. He was 41.
A prize-winning musician who was nationally known through his work with the American Guild of Organists, Hoyt began piano studies with his grandmother, Mabel Hoyt, when he was 8.
At 13, he began studying the organ with Dr. George Clark of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Vancouver, Wash., and he studied harpsichord during his years at Cleveland Institute of Music, graduating in 1973.
In 1988, Hoyt received the American Guild of Organists Prize for achieving the highest scores in the United States during that year's examinations for the associate certificate.
It was Hoyt's spirit and his musicianship, however, that lifted him above these impressive credentials in his 16 years at St. James Cathedral, where he was responsible for organ music at more than 500 liturgies a year.
His colleague there, music director Dr. James Savage, calls Hoyt "one of the most gifted musicians I have had the opportunity to make music with," further praising his frankness, honesty, generosity and supportiveness.
"He had an historian's understanding of musical style and performance practice, a theoretician's command of harmonic language and formal structure, a composer's imagination and creativity, and an organist's sensitivity to sonority and ensemble," Savage said.
Hoyt's impact on his congregation did not lessen during his long illness, during which he kept on with his music until he was too ill to continue. He served as the cathedral's organist until "he literally was too weak to sit up on the organ bench," according to St. James' Lisa Cardwell.
Around that time, the cathedral and many members of Seattle's music community gathered to express their appreciation and support in an Oct. 4 concert honoring Hoyt.
"There is not one of us here who does not have a deep-down desire to say thanks to our friend, Howard Hoyt," the Very Rev. Michael Ryan, pastor of St. James, said then, "to remind him of what he has given us through the sharing of his remarkable gifts as a musician; to thank him for that, to pay tribute to him, to honor him; to express our solidarity with him in the midst of his struggle with the AIDS virus which has slowly been sapping his physical strength but never his valiant spirit."
Hoyt's parents, Charles and Delores Hoyt, were with him during his illness and when he died.
"We have had such an outpouring of love and support," Charles Hoyt said. "It is a comfort to hear from so many friends who loved and admired Howard."
Two services have been scheduled.
At Hoyt's wish, there will be a silent hour of meditation at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the NOAA Sound Gardens, 7600 Sand Point Way N.E., followed by a no-host gathering at La Fleur Restaurant, 5414 Sand Point Way N.E.
A memorial service is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave.
Memorials in Hoyt's honor may be made to the Howard Hoyt Organ Fund at St. James Cathedral.
John Vanella (d. December 13, 2004)
John Vanella, 63, died Monday, Dec. 13, 2004, at his home on the shores of Amnicon Lake in Wis. John was born Oct. 30, 1941 in St. Paul, Minn. Vanella was director of music and organist at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth and director of music for the Diocese of Duluth. Before coming to Duluth in 1995, John was director of liturgy and music and organist at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Crookston, Minn. (1992-95). He also was director of liturgy and music and organist at the Church of Saint Luke in St. Paul (1990-92). From 1986 to 1990 he was principal organist at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Maplewood. From 1960 to 1976, he held positions at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, the University of St. Thomas, the University of Michigan, the Church of the Nativity in St. Paul and the Church of St. Matthew in St. Paul. John grew up in St. Matthew's parish in St. Paul. He earned a bachelor's degree in music-organ performance from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1964 and a master's degree in organ and church music from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Richard Proulx, a St. Paul native who is a composer in Chicago, wrote: During our years together in the Twin Cities it was clear that John Vanella was blessed with spectacular talent and focus; his advanced studies in Michigan and Paris (with Jean Langlais) further developed his musical gifts. Conquering personal difficulties taught John patience and compassion and people responded to his dedication and kindness with admiration. John also was very involved in community affairs in the Twin Cities. He was principal assistant for Ramsey County Board Chairman Hal Norgard in the early '80s and saved the county millions, according to his friend Stephen Balsimo of St. Paul. In 1985 and '86 John was administrative assistant to the executive director of Ramsey County. Over the years, John also served as president of the East Park Lions Club, the Greater East Side Community Council, the White Bear Avenue Business Association, the Greenhaven Heights Center for the Developmentally Disabled Board of Directors, and he was chairman of the Governor's Task Force on the Chemically Dependent Underserved of Minnesota. A highlight of John's career in Duluth was an event he organized in October 2003: The world premiere of Jean Langlais Piece Symphonique. Dr. Marie-Louise Langlais, professor of organ at the Paris Superior Conservatory and organist at the Basilica of Sainte Clotilde in Paris, came to Duluth and performed the music of her late husband, a leading French organist of the 20th century. Another highlight was the April 2001 ordination of Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Duluth, for which John commissioned three great works, including Quaerite Faciem Domini. He was preceded in death by his father, Daniel Joseph Vanella; and by his mother, Gertrude Genevieve (Rigawski) Vanella, of St. Paul. John is survived by a sister, Carol Jean Vanella; a brother, Leslie Joseph Vanella of West St. Paul; nephews, Daniel and Vincent Vanella; great nephews and niece Hunter, Michael and Jessica; his Cathedral 'family' of singers, musicians, clergy, friends and colleagues; many dear friends, including Phil Holberg, Roger Burg, Norma Stevlingson, Richard Proulx, Don Seipke, Stephen Balsimo and Jeff Hayes; and his beloved cocker spaniels, Inga and Buster. VISITATION: 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY, 2801 E. Fourth St., Duluth, with a prayer service at 7 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the Cathedral, with Bishop Schnurr presiding. Interment at Calvary Cemetery in Duluth. Arrangements by Johnson-Crawford Funeral Home. Memorials are preferred to the Vanella Family Fund, in care of the Cathedral of Our Lady, for improvements to the organ and choir loft.
Calvert Schenk (d. July 9, 2005)
Although he missed the feast day of Saint Cecilia by one day (he was born on November 21), music was always a major fact in Calvert Shenk's life. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1962 with a Bachelor of Music degree, and went on to earn a Masters of Music in Organ and Church Music in 1963 from the same institution. He continued his studies with Theodore Marier (Gregorian chant), Gerre Hancock (improvisation) and Sir David Willcocks (choral conducting). He was received into the Catholic faith in December 1962 and in October 1968 he married Ila Marie Connors.
Mr. Shenk worked full-time at various music positions, including St. Henry Parish in Chicago IL, Armed Forces School of Music at Norfolk VA, St. Philip Parish in Battle Creek MI, St. Catherine Parish in Milwaukee WI, Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham AL, as Organist and Director of Music at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit MI and his last position as Director of Music at Assumption Grotto Church in Detroit. He also worked as Adjunct Instructor at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, as Music Critic for the Battle Creek Enquirer and News, as Choral Director at St. Philip Catholic Central High School, and as associate director, accompanist and composer-in-residence for the Battle Creek Boys Choir.
As an organ recitalist, Mr. Shenk performed throughout the midwest, east and southeast, and performed in 1986 at the American Guild of Organists' National Convention in Detroit MI. Internationally, he presented an organ recital at Eglise Notre-Dame in Douai, France. He also led the Saint Catherine Church Choir on a tour of Italy in March 1987, which included performances in Florence, Assisi and Rome. At Saint Peter's Basilica the choir sang for the High Mass on the First Sunday of Lent, and in the Sala Clementina during a private papal audience.
Mr. Shenk was a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, and served as Dean of the Southwest Michigan Chapter, as Michigan State Chairman, as Professional Concerns Chairman of the Milwaukee Chapter, and as Educational Concerns Chairman of the Birmingham, Alabama Chapter. He maintained membership with the Hymn Society of America, the Church Music Association of America and the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians.
His particular interests were Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony, organ performance and improvisation, liturgical ceremony, and the theology of liturgy.
In addition to several recordings, Mr. Shenk is published by MacAfee Music and GIA Publications, and has written several articles for The American Organist magazine. He was co-author of the Adoremus Hymnal (Ignatius Press).
Elise Murray Cambon (d. December 30, 2007)
Elise Murray Cambon, Ph.D. died at Touro Infirmary on Sunday, December 30, 2007. Beloved daughter of the late Maurice Cornelius Cambon and Marie Camilia Murray Cambon. Preceded in death by her sisters Marie Murray Cambon and Camille Cambon Rice. Survived by her cousins, friends, students and choir members. All are especially grateful to her wonderful caregiver Madelyn Bryant and helpers Bertha Woodrich, Mary Crumes, Mayola Praylow, Marybelle Hayes and Vera Terry.
Dr. Cambon received a B.A. from Newcomb College in 1939 where she was Homecoming Queen, a Master of Music in Organ from the University of Michigan (1947) and a Ph.D. from Tulane (1975). For 62 years she served St. Louis Cathederal as Organist, Music Minister, Director of the St. Louis Cathedral Choir and Concert Choir. She was named Director Emerita in 2002.
A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Cambon studied in Germany in 1953, attended Hochschule fur Musik in Frankfurt-am-Main and continued her studies in organ with Helmut Walcha, harpsichord with Marie Jaeger Young and conducting with Kurt Thomas. She also did post-graduate work at Syracuse University, Oberlin College and Pius X School of Liturgical Music in Purchase, New York. She spent a summer at the Benedictine Abby of Solesmes, France, where she specialized in Georgian chant.
Dr. Cambon was a professor in Loyola’s College of Music (1961 to 1982) founding their Department of Liturgical Music, and also taught music at The Louise S. McGehee School and Ursuline Academy. She founded the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists. She received the Order of Chevalier des Arts et des Letters from the French government for encouraging French music in New Orleans. She led the St. Louis Cathedral Concert Choir on five pilgrimages to Europe where they sang High Masses at St. Peter’s in Rome, Notre Dame de Paris and other famous cathedrals and churches. Another lasting contribution to the Cathedral and community was her 2004 gift of the new Holtkamp organ. Dr. Cambon made an indelible mark in many distinct areas: music education, liturgical music, vocal and choral performances, organ, musicology and music appreciation. The people of New Orleans and the musical community on the local, regional, national and international levels have benefited immensely thanks to her efforts and contributions.
Richard Proulx (d. February 18, 2010)
Richard Thomas Proulx was one of the most important composers of liturgical music in the twentieth century. Modern Liturgy Magazine called him the "most significant liturgical composer of the last twenty years." Originally from Saint Paul, Proulx was born on April 3rd, 1937 to Raymond and Helen Proulx. He began piano studies at the age of six followed soon after by composition lessons in middle school. Both outside sources and Proulx himself recognized the benefits of the outstanding musical education offered at St. Patrick’s Parochial School located in St. Paul, MN. Proulx later studied at McPhail College in Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota receiving a degree in organ performance. Following graduate studies, he received an honorary doctorates from the University of St. Thomas in 1989 and the General Theological Seminary in 1994.
Proulx began his professional career at Church of the Holy Childhood in Saint Paul, MN where he worked and directed for 15 years. Following his time in St. Paul, he directed and played for ten years at Saint Thomas Church in Seattle (1970-1980) before moving to the Cathedral of the Holy Name in Chicago where he played the organ and directed music for twenty years. Beyond his compositional pursuits, Proulx worked hard as an educator and clinician, teaching abroad in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Switzerland , and throughout the United States.
Proulx was prolific, writing more than 300 works in five plus decades as a professional musician and composer. His compositional abilities were broad, spanning the realms of instrumental, choral, and mixed ensemble works. He is well-known for many of his substantial works including his church opera, The Pilgrim, his Concerto for Organ and Strings, and The Child's Book of Beasts. He also composed pieces and hymns familiar to many congregations, such as I Received the Living God (tune composed by the French Benedictine, Dom Clément Jacob (1906-1977), harmonization that appear in hymnals published by GIA Publications (Chicago) composed by Richard), and a Community Mass. Beyond his compositional endeavors, Proulx also consulted and contributed to Hymnal 1982 and The New Yale Hymnal among many others.
Proulx is also known for his founding of The Cathedral Singers in 1991. He directed the independent recording ensemble and spurred the release of more than twenty recordings of sacred music. The Cathedral singers have performed both in the US and abroad.
Proulx's talents also reached into the secular world. He composed an orchestral score for documentary film The Golden Door, and his organ arrangement of Veni Creator was featured in the 1997 film The Devil's Own. Work from The Cathedral Singers, made two television debuts on NBC's hit show ER. Aside from appearances in television and film, Proulx put his composing talents to work in jingle writing and advertisement, composing the theme song for Union Pacific Railroad in 1971.
Saint John's University enjoyed a long association with Richard Proulx, awarding him its highest honor, the Pax Christi Award, in 1998. As a young man, Proulx studied Gregorian chant at Saint John's and later taught hymnody and composition in summer sessions at the University. Saint John's commissioned his choral work, Where Your Glory Abides. The Proulx collection is a significant part of the Library's holdings in sacred music, which Proulx helped establish by facilitating the acquisition of the Bruce Larsen collection. Alcuin Library at Saint John's University is the home of his collection of compositions, including manuscripts as well as published pieces.
Proulx passed away on Thursday Feb 18th, 2010 at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, but his spirit lives on in the works and music he left to the world. Services in his memory were held at parishes in Chicago and St. Paul. With the generosity of Richard and the Proulx family, St. John's Alcuin Library is committed to the preservation of his work and legacy.
Robert Twynham (d. March 23, 2012)
Robert Twynham, an internationally known composer of liturgical music and the longtime music director at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland, died March 23. He was 80. A memorial Mass is being planned for early May at Corpus Christi in Baltimore, his home parish.
Monsignor Robert Armstrong, retired rector at the cathedral, called Twynham a “great artist” who was passionate about his vocation. The musician was devoted to good liturgy, Monsignor Armstrong said, and had high expectations of others.
“His whole life was dedicated to music – and particularly ecclesiastical music,” Monsignor Armstrong said. “You say ‘music,’ you say ‘Twynham.’ You say ‘Twynham,’ you say ‘music.’”
Monsignor Armstrong said Twynham “brought out the best in others.” He was the choirmaster and a well-respected organist at the cathedral.
Following the Second Vatican Council, Twynham composed numerous psalm settings, acclamations and large-scale works – many of which were published in hymnals and used in parishes across the United States.
Daniel Sansone, the cathedral’s current music director, said his predecessor was on the “cutting edge of supporting and affirming great sacred music in the Roman Church.”
Twynham’s compositions were “towering works,” Sansone said, and the composer’s “Magnificat” was especially well known. Commissioned for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society in 1980, it has been performed across the country.
“What most characterized his compositions was that he had a very strong affinity for French impressionistic music,” said Sansone, noting that Twynham studied in Paris with the Catholic impressionist composer, Olivier Messiaen.
The cathedral will host a memorial concert in the fall featuring musicians from across the country that will play Twynham’s greatest works, Sansone said
Twynham began his musical career at age 13, serving as organist at the Walter Reed Army Hospital Chapel in his native Washington, D.C. He then studied at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore on a scholarship. He was the winner of the Bach “Horstmeier” prize.
Twynham served at the cathedral for nearly 40 years, beginning in 1961. He retired in 1998. He is survived by his wife, Eileen.
“He was very devoted to his faith, to God and the church,” Monsignor Armstrong said.
Johannes Somary (d. February 1, 2011)
Johannes Somary, the founder and music director of Amor Artis, a chorus and orchestra that for the last half-century has presented neglected choral masterpieces, primarily from the Baroque and Classical periods, died on Feb. 1 in the Bronx. He was 75 and lived in Riverdale.
The cause was complications of a stroke, his son Stephen said.
Mr. Somary, an organist, composer and conductor, formed Amor Artis in response to the disbanding of the American Concert Choir, a chorus and orchestra created by the conductor Margaret Hillis. As an experiment, he and the group’s manager, Milton Goldin, staged the first complete performance in the United States of the Handel oratorio “Esther” at Town Hall in April 1961.
A rousing reception encouraged Mr. Somary (pronounced so-MAHR-ee) to form Amor Artis, whose first concert, in January 1962, presented works by Schütz, Schubert, Hindemith and Bruckner — choral works from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
Under Mr. Somary’s leadership the ensemble, which added a chamber choir in 1980, made a specialty of neglected Baroque and Classical works. It was known in particular for its performances and recordings of Handel’s oratorios, and for imaginative programming that allowed audiences to hear rarities like Dvorak’s “Te Deum” and Gounod’s “Messe Solennelle.”
In the 1970’s, the Amor Artis Chorale made the first recordings of the Handel oratorios “Theodora” and “Jeptha” with the English Chamber Orchestra. More recently, the group began recording on its own label, Amor Artis Edition. Its first CD, released in 2010, was “Sacred Jewels,” a selection of motets and a mass by Tomás Luis de Victoria.
Johannes Felix Somary was born on April 7, 1935, in Zurich. His father, an economist and banker, brought the family to the United States in 1940, and Johannes grew up in Washington, D.C.
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He attended Yale, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1957 and a master’s in music in 1959. In addition to his work with Amor Artis, he was for many years the chairman of the arts and music department of the Horace Mann School in New York, where he taught from 1959 until his retirement in 2002.
He was the choirmaster and organist at the Church of Our Saviour in Manhattan in the 1960s and ’70s; the music director of St. Patrick’s Cathedral from 2001 to 2003; and the conductor of the Fairfield County Chorale in Connecticut, the Great Neck Choral Society on Long Island, and the Taghkanic Chorale in Westchester County, N.Y.
In addition to his son Stephen, of Manhattan, the founder and artistic director of the Mendelssohn Project, Mr. Somary is survived by his wife, Anne; another son, Geoffrey, of Arlington Heights, Ill.; a daughter, Karen Somary Healy of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.; a brother, Wolfgang, of Zurich; a sister, Maria Twaalfhoven of Hilversum, the Netherlands; and seven grandchildren.
Joseph B. Smith (d. December 27, 2012)
Joseph B. Smith, director of music and choirmaster at St. James Cathedral-Basilica, Downtown Brooklyn, died Dec. 27, 2012 at the cathedral shortly after playing the organ for the noon Mass.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Jan. 2 by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio at the cathedral. Msgr. John Strynkowski, rector, preached the homily.
“Joe was a very humble and talented man,” said Msgr. Strynkowski. “He was the transparent instrument of music that is sacred and divine to us here at St. James.
“He now sings with the heavenly choirs and prays for us as we continue our journey to the Triune God.”
Bishop DiMarzio called Smith “a man of very few words. “But he spoke to us through music. He made music come alive. He was a man of music who sings with the angels.”
Born in Salem, Ohio, Smith attended the Julliard School, Manhattan. He performed at some of the great cathedrals in Europe as well as the Vatican. He served as organist for the papal Mass celebrated at Aqueduct Racetrack in 1995.
His liturgical compositions have been played at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Manhattan; St. James Cathedral-Basilica; St. Francis Cathedral, Metuchen, N.J.; St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo, N.Y.; and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.
He has served on the faculties of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, N.Y.; the New York School of Liturgical Music; and St. John’s University.
He accompanied the three diocesan choirs that sang for Pope Benedict XVI during his departure ceremony at JFK Airport in 2008.
Smith is survived by his wife, Jessica Tranzillo Smith, director of music at St. Luke parish, Whitestone.
Lance Massey (d. April 29, 2013)
Lance Massey, 65. Beloved husband of Barbara; dear brother-in-law of Dorothy and Christopher Straw; loving uncle of Kristin (Michael) Straw Peterson, Jonathan (Lynn) Straw, and Daniel Straw, and great uncle to Parker Straw. Lance will also be greatly missed by his faithful cat, Clara Schumann. A Memorial Service In honor of Lance will be held Saturday May 11, 2013 at 10 a.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 25150 E. River Rd., Grosse Ile 48138. A luncheon at the Galloway Hall will immediately follow the service. In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations be made in Lance's memory to the St. James organ fund.
Robert J. Schaffer (d. May 20, 2014)
Robert J. "Dr. Bob", beloved husband of the late Rita Avram Schaffer, loving father of Gregory J. Schaffer, Rebecca Schaffer Wells and the late Mark A. Schaffer, grandfather of Nell and Mark Schaffer, Anna and Sarah Wells. Veteran of WWII, 87th Army Band (Ft. Knox); Music Director at the Covington Cathedral Basilica; Music Faculty at Thomas More College and Seminary of St. Pius X; Organist with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival; commercial/jazz trombonist and pianist. Dr. Bob by his lifelong service to music, family, the church, choir, and students, received as much as he gave. He passed peacefully to Eternal Life, Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at the age of 92. Visitation at Covington Cathedral Basilica, 1140 Madison Avenue, 41011, Tuesday, May 27, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM. Funeral Mass follows at 6:00 PM. Interment at St. John Cemetery, 1 St. John Road, 41011, Wednesday at 2:00 PM (All are welcome). Memorials may be directed to Schwab Organ Fund or to Cathedral Bishops Choir, both at 2501 Warren Street, Covington, KY 41014.
John Calvin West (d. 2014)
John Calvin West was born in 1938 in Cleveland, OH. A student of conducting and voice, he was a 1958 graduate of the Eastman School of Music, finishing his graduate studies at the Curtis Institute in 1962. His work won him a Sullivan Foundation grant in that same year, and a Rockefeller Fund grant in 1970. His performing career took in American as well as international opera houses, including those of Santa Fe, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Las Palmas, Palacio de Bellas Artes, and the New York City Opera. He became a faculty member at The Juilliard School, and was a longtime soloist at Temple Emanu-El. He was bass soloist at St. Patrick's Cathedral from 1980-1998, and Interim Music Director from 1998-1999. He died in 2014.
Judith Throm (d. February 1, 2015)
Former cathedral organist, music director Judith Throm dies
by Vince LaBarbera (Today's Catholic)
Judith E. Throm, organist and music director for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne, for 24 years before retiring six years ago, died Feb. 1, at Parkview Hospital Randallia, Fort Wayne. She was 75.
Mass of Christian Burial was held Feb. 5 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Father Ben Muhlenkamp celebrating, with burial in Catholic Cemetery.
Surviving are her granddaughter, Cassidy Throm, and daughter-in-law, Tammy Schillace. She was preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Evelyn Harding; hus-band, Edward Throm; son, Edward N. Throm; and daughter, Katherine Throm.
Born in Rushville, Indiana, she received a bachelor’s degree from Butler University and served as music director for several Catholic churches in Fort Wayne before she and her late husband, Edward, teamed up in 1985 to handle the music responsibilities at the cathedral. Following his death on March 15, 1991, she assumed the position of music director until her retirement in 2009.
She enjoyed reading and travel-ing, and spending time with her family and granddaughter.
“It is safe to say Judy could command a room, a choir, an organ, an orchestra — and perhaps the U.S. military if called upon,” exclaimed Deacon Jim Kitchens in his homily at the funeral Mass. “One of my favorite stories about Judy is when we lost our music director (at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish) a week before Holy Week in 2010. I called Judy and she willingly stepped in and accompanied our three choirs as I stepped back into choir directing. She sight read a lot of music, guided me and helped our parish out to make Holy Week as normal as possible.”
“Judy was a very talented and faithful director of music and liturgy for the cathedral,” added Msgr. Robert Schulte, rector. “She continued in that position after her husband, Ed, an equally gifted musician, choir director and also composer, died at too young an age. Judy had a hearty laugh, which was never too far away in conversation. Taking pride in her personal, professional appearance, she brought dignity and a prayerful atmosphere to our worship at Mass and prayer at other times. Her great and very human faith was one of her notable traits.”
“I had the privilege to cantor with Judy for several years at the cathedral,” said Lois Widner, principal of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School. “Judy was a gifted musician who gave her heart and soul to her ministry. She also was a dear friend who was devoted to her Church, family and friends.”
“Judy dedicated her life to the music ministry of the Catholic Church,” said Beverly Rieger, music director at St. Therese Church. “When she was at the cathedral she not only prepared the music, rehearsed and played for the all of the parish Masses, sacraments, funerals and weddings; she also was the music director for the diocese. That meant she provided music education and retreat opportunities for musicians throughout the diocese, and at the same time prepared the music, rehearsed and directed the diocesan choir and instrumentalists for all diocesan liturgies. ... It was my privilege to work with her when I was Office of Worship director. Sometimes I wondered when she slept! Well done, good and faithful servant. You will be remembered.”
Donald Dumler (d. March 20, 2016)
Donald Dumler joined the staff of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1970 as Associate Organist. In 1990 he was appointed Principal Organist of the Cathedral, and in 2009 played his fortieth Christmas Midnight Mass, a service that is broadcast throughout the worldon television, radio and on the internet. Mr. Dumler plays for over 900 services a year in the Cathedral. Many of these are weddings and funerals, and given the stature of New York’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, many of the services are for or are attended by celebrities and notable personages in governments and business. Of special importance were the Masses celebrated during Pope John Paul II’s two visits to the Cathedral in 1979 and 1995.
Mr. Dumler was born in Oklahoma and had early training with Curtis Chambers in Oklahoma City. Later he studied with Mildred Andrews at the University of Oklahoma and was a scholarship student at The Juilliard School in New York City studying with Vernon de Tar. As with all young musicians, performance must begin somewhere, and for Mr. Dumler, this occasion was in Okeene, Oklahoma, at the age of twelve when he performed for the closing banquet of the annual rattlesnake hunt. Since that time, however, the venues have changed. Other than numerous recitals throughout the United States, Mr. Dumler has made two previous recordings and has performed with The Juilliard Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra in both Carnegie Hall and Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
In 2009, Mr. Dumler played to a more than sold-out crowd in his home state of Oklahoma, with a closed-circuit broadcast in a second venue to accommodate the crowds.
On May 1, 2014, Donald Dumler was named Principal Organist Emeritus of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in recognition for 43 years of faithful and dedicated service. His tenure was the longest of any musician in the history of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Walter Lynn Bauman (d. October 26, 2017)
Walter Lynn Bauman died on Thursday, October 26, 2017, in a fishing accident on Tunica Lake in Mississippi.
He was born in Kansas City, MO, on April 29, 1951, to Joyce Ann McComsey and John T. Strezo. Within a few weeks, he was adopted by Andrew Lamar and Roxie Joyce (Goodwin) Bauman and taken home to their rice farm outside of Almyra, Arkansas.
On August 8, 1971, he married Mary Martha Roberts. To this marriage was born three children who survive: Ceciley Lynn Bauman Stern, Whitney Albert Bauman, and Andrew France Bauman.
Also surviving are a grandson, Devin Stern, his sister Vicki Browder, his brother Steven Strezo, and his partner of 33 years, Jim Walsmith. He was preceded in death by his adoptive and his biological parents, and his biological brother Dirk Strezo.
Lynn attended Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR, where he studied organ with Robert Ellis. Throughout his professional life, he served churches in Arkadelphia, Stuttgart, Hot Springs, and Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as in Memphis, TN and Alexandria, LA. In addition to serving Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, and Catholic churches, he was at times a farmer, coach/accompanist for the Arkansas Opera Theater, and National Music Chairman for the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. Choirs under his direction have toured the UK on several occasions.
In the last year, he found his biological brother, Steven Strezo, and instantly bonded with his extended biological family, bringing him much joy and peace.
Lynn loved hunting, fishing, gardening, and was a student of nature. He was an animal lover and a conservationist at heart.
Lynn also loved people. His deep faith enabled him to embrace everyone. Through his music, dinner parties, and widely known “Lynn Bauman Fish Fry,” he brought together people from across the political, ideological, and religious spectrums. He instinctively seemed to connect people and create relationships among people.
A memorial service for all who knew and loved Lynn will be held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at 3:00pm. The address is: 700 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38105.
Robert Anthony Giroir, Jr. (d. December 23, 2018)
Robert “Robbie” Anthony Giroir Jr., a resident of Baton Rouge, passed away peacefully on December 23, 2018 after fighting an acute illness. He was 60 years old. Robbie is survived by his mother Myrtis Leblanc Giroir, sister and brother-in-law, Danette and Ronald Legendre and nephews with their wives and children, Ladd, Abby and Landon Legendre and Brant, Brittney and Harper Jane Legendre. He is preceded in death by his father, Robert “Bobby” Anthony Giroir, Sr. Robbie’s musical studies began at an early age, and after earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Education Degree from LSU, he became the organist and the Director of Music at St. Joseph Cathedral, Baton Rouge as well as Director of Choral Studies at Baton Rouge Magnet High School. He was known as “Mr. Giroir” to a countless number of students that had the privilege of working with him over the last 35 years. In that time, the choirs at BRMHS have consistently earned superior ratings (the highest possible rating) at district and state choral assessments. In the last 15 years, choirs under his direction have performed in England, Italy, Spain, Ireland, The Czech Republic, Vienna, Prague, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and France. In 2013, The Festival Singers of Baton Rouge Magnet High School performed in front of an invited audience at the Vatican for Pope Benedict XVI. This was a historic event of unprecedented favor. A fiercely devoted educator, he empowered his students through his unique, yet practical way of instruction. Many will remember his colorful sayings, powerful mantras, and unique methodologies all selflessly undertaken to advance his students. Former students have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in every academic discipline. Some now hold prestigious positions as college professors, professional musicians and educators, and Broadway actors. He inspired young people to follow their passion. His choirs performed to the highest degree, and he was always happy to share in his students’ successes. Christmas was his favorite time of the year. He specifically loved the legendary annual BRMHS Christmas Concert, with choirs performing major works with professional orchestra including those by Mozart and Handel, dozens of Bach cantatas and most recently a performance of J.S. Bach’s Magnificent in D. Mr. Robbie Giroir, Director of Choral Studies at Baton Rouge Magnet High School, was named “Music Teacher of the Year” by the Baton Rouge Symphony League for 2010-2011. As Director of Music and the organist at the St. Joseph Cathedral, he built a unique and hallowed brand of church music beloved by cathedral parishioners, visitors, and a vast number of viewers who tuned in via television. The cathedral organ, which was built in 1993, was a tremendous source of pride for him and a result of a tireless effort to see a dream come true. During Robbie’s time there, the cathedral acquired two additional pipe organs. Music under his directorship has inspired and uplifted thousands of people who came to know the cathedral as a place of resplendent and majestic liturgical sound, unique to his style and artistic ministry. Robbie was an aviator and a collector of historical and nostalgic memorabilia. Some of his prized possessions included a 1965 V-Tail Beechcraft Bonanza and a 1947 America LaFrance Fire Engine. His collection of historical items meant so much to him, but nothing meant more to him than his service to others. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Joseph Cathedral, Baton Rouge on Thursday, December 27th at 12:00 noon with visitation at 9:00 am. Pallbearers will be Ronald Legendre, Ladd Legendre, Brant Legendre, Landon Legendre, Dr. Hypolite Landry, Keith Bonnette, and Ken Thevenet. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Baton Rouge Magnet High School Choral Department 2825 Government Street, Baton Rouge LA 70806 or St. Joseph Cathedral 412 North Street, Baton Rouge LA 70802.
Leo Cornelius Nestor (d. September 22, 2019)
Leo Cornelius Nestor, conductor, composer, and teacher, died Sunday, Sept. 22.
Leo Nestor was Professor Emeritus of Choral and Sacred Music in the Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art, having retired from the University in 2016. Before his retirement, Nestor had served as the Justine Bayard Ward Professor of Music, director of Choral Studies, director of the Institute of Sacred Music, a member of the conducting faculty, and co-operating member of the composition faculty.
Nestor earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music-Composition from California State University, East Bay, a Master of Music degree in Choral Music from the University of Southern California, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music, also from USC.
Prior to coming to Catholic University, Nestor served as the Music Director at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from 1984-2001. He composed music for four papal visits to the U.S., and he was on the drafting committee for the U.S. Bishops’ 2007 document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship. Nestor was also a founding member of the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians.
In recognition of his lifetime of musical service to the Catholic church, he was named a papal knight by Pope Francis. The honor was bestowed upon him in 2016 when he was inducted as a Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.
Joseph R. Policelli (d. April 27, 2020)
Joseph Policelli, Director of Music Emeritus, Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Wooster, MA died this morning (April 27, 2020) of Covid 19. Joseph, as a young participant at the first organizational meeting of CRCCM in Philadelphia, was one of the founders of our organization. Richard Proulx liked to say of the music program Joseph had developed at the Wooster Cathedral: “It is the most High Church Anglican program in North America and it’s Catholic!” Joseph’s extraordinary musicianship attracted a number of Boston’s best early music performers. (Remembrance by Jim Savage)
POLICELLI, Joseph R. Age 71, of Worcester, a respected organist and beloved professor of music, died April 27 at the UMass Medical Center of complications from COVID-19. He was born in Cambridge on Oct. 29, 1948, the son of Josephine and the late Frank Policelli. Joseph grew up in Medford and attended the School of the Immaculate Conception in Malden, and graduated from Boys Catholic High School (now Malden Catholic High School). He later earned a degree in Sacred Music from Boston University. Joseph served as an altar boy and took piano lessons as a child, developing a love for church music. He eventually served for 50 years as director of music or accompanist in churches, most recently as music director at St. Columbkille Church in Brighton, and an accompanist at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham for several years. He also served at St. Paul's Church in Wellesley, St. Pius V. in Lynn, and St. Joseph in Malden, and was known to elevate the standard of music and liturgy in every parish he was associated with. He was also an active and prominent figure in the Worcester music community, well-known for his work as Dean of the Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He joined Worcester Polytechnic Institute as an adjunct professor of music in 1995, and was greatly respected by his fellow faculty and students, to whom he gave selflessly of his time and expertise. Students loved him and recognized that he would take whatever time was needed to ensure that each could succeed in their classes. In addition to being a brilliant organist, Joe was director of music at Saint Paul's Cathedral in Worcester through the 1980s and served there for almost 17 years. His programs at Saint Paul included hundreds of masses and services with a renowned choir and with organ music of the highest standard. He appreciated the musicians who worked with him. Audiences would travel great distances to attend these beautiful liturgies for the quality of the outstanding music. In addition to liturgies, he presented formal concerts of choral masterworks with orchestra as part of the Cathedral's amazing music series. He invited the WPI brass ensemble to play at Saint Paul's every year. In addition to his mother, Joseph is survived by a sister, Lorraine Mayne of North Reading, and a brother, Richard Policelli of Pelham, NH, four nieces, one grandnephew and grandniece. He will be laid to rest in Oak Grove Cemetery in Medford at a later date when public gatherings are allowed.