Nunc Dimittis

December 6, 2012
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James Earl Bratcher died on August 14. He was 77. In 1974 he formed the New Mexico Symphony Chorus and served as assistant conductor of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. Bratcher earned degrees in voice, organ, and education from the University of New Mexico; after completing his master’s degree, he moved to New York City, where he enrolled in the Union Theological Seminary. He performed with the original Robert Shaw Chorale and as a soloist in concerts with Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, among others. 

Bratcher taught at Bethel College in Tennessee and Columbus College in Georgia, then returned to Albuquerque in 1970 and directed choirs and taught English at Eldorado High School. In the late 1980s, he joined a Lutheran Benedictine monastery in Michigan; when the order became cloistered, he moved to Orlando, Florida, as a Franciscan monk. There he established a home for AIDS patients and homeless men; he returned to Albuquerque in 1995.

Bratcher was one of the originators of Opera Southwest, which began in 1972 as Albuquerque Opera Theatre, serving as its artistic/music director from 1979–1987 and in the mid-1990s. A member of the University of New Mexico John Donald Robb Musical Trust board of directors since 2003, Bratcher arranged and edited John Donald Robb compositions and traditional Hispanic music, most recently editing Robb’s Requiem for its April 2012 debut by the Bach Society of St. Louis. He was completing manuscripts for the second edition of Robb’s Hispanic Folk Songs of New Mexico at his death. He also staged Robb’s folk opera Little Jo at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in 2005, and designed the program for a February 2012 Robb Concert. In 2004, Bratcher received the Albuquerque Arts Alliance Bravo Award for Excellence in Music. 

 

Garland P. Bruce died July 9 in Bluefield, West Virginia. He was 82. A Bluefield native, in his youth he played in small churches as a substitute pianist and organist; he studied organ with Elizabeth French. For more than 30 years he was organist-choirmaster at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bluefield, where he built the music program; the annual Christmas candlelight service was the area’s largest musical event. Bruce appeared on the March of Dimes telethon on WVVA, and played at venues throughout the area. Garland P. Bruce is survived by his wife of 45 years, Mary Josephine, four stepchildren, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

 

Delores Bruch Cannon, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, died October 22. Born September 22, 1934, in Independence, Missouri, she earned an associate’s degree from Graceland College in 1954 and a B.S.Ed. in 1956 from Central Missouri States. She taught high school English and music for two years at the Laboratory School in Odessa, Missouri, and subsequently music in elementary schools in Independence, Missouri. 

She received an M.M. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1969 and a D.M.A. from the University of Kansas in 1979. Her college teaching career began at Emporia State University in 1975, followed by three years as an assistant instructor at the University of Kansas. In 1978 she was appointed assistant professor and artist in residence at Park College. She joined the organ department in the School of Music at the University of Iowa in 1979 and was appointed professor of music in 1987; she was head of the organ department from 1989–92, and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts in 1992–93. She retired from the University of Iowa in 1999. 

Her interest in historic instruments led to fellowships and research grants in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Mexico. She performed in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Europe. She held leadership positions at local, regional and national levels in the American Guild of Organists. As a founding member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Cannon served on its national board of directors and was a contributing editor for the journal CrossAccents. As a member of the Organ Historical Society, she was a founding member of the Eastern Iowa chapter. Cannon was married to Ron Bruch and later to Donald Cannon, who survives her, along with sons Cris Alan Bruch and Gregory Scott Bruch; a sister, a brother, stepdaughters, and stepsons, along with numerous other family members.

 

Henri Delorme, organist of the Clicquot organ of Souvigny, France, died on August 18, just before his 69th birthday. As a young man, while studying French, Latin, and Greek to become a teacher, Henri Delorme studied organ with Joseph Hetsch and Michel Chapuis, piano with Hélène Boschi, and musicology with Marc Honegger. After he had passed the agrégation (the highest competitive exam for teachers in France), he spent most of his teaching career at the Lycée Banville in Moulins (Allier), where he was appreciated for his diverse cultural background, his good humor, and love for the humanities, which he endeavored to impart to and share with his pupils. 

Upon the untimely death of organist and organ scholar Henri Legros, Delorme became the incumbent organist (titulaire) of the François-Henri Clicquot organ (1783) of Souvigny, from 1971 until his death. He wrote articles for Marc Honegger’s music dictionary (Dictionnaire de la Musique) and also published the exhibition catalogue and the papers of the symposium he had organized for the 1983 bi-centenary of the Souvigny organ. The publication also included an inventory of the organs of the Allier region. During his career, he wrote several articles on the organ for various journals.

Henri Delorme conducted many organ classes for various age groups, from primary school pupils to university students and professional musicians. He was a guest teacher for the Souvigny week of Summer Institute for French Organ Studies (SIFOS), founded by Gene Bedient and Jesse Eschbach. Delorme was an indefatigable advocate of his instrument and gave organ recitals in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, and the USA.

The founder of the Association Saint-Marc, which now runs the music festival of Souvigny, he was the chairman of the Fédération Francophone des Amis de l’Orgue (FFAO) from 1992 to 2002. He was also the official organ adviser for historical organs in the Auvergne region and in Brittany from 1996 to 1998.

Learned, curious, good-humored, Henri Delorme was an endearing man and very special organist, with a great gift for improvising in the French classical style. He knew, understood, and played the Clicquot organ in Souvigny better than anyone else and contributed greatly to its reputation. His death will be a great loss to the organ world.

—Pierre Dubois

Pierre Dubois is Professor of English at the University of Tours, France. He has been deputy organist at Souvigny since 1984 and is artistic director of the Souvigny music festival (Journées Musicales d’Automne de Souvigny).

 

In the mid-1970s, when I first began hearing about historic French organs, the name of a town that surfaced regularly was Souvigny. Little did I know that a few years later, I would not only visit the church but have the opportunity over many subsequent trips to study in detail the treasure of St-Pierre et Paul: the 1783 organ of François-Henri Clicquot. Equally important, I would become an acquaintance and subsequently a good friend with the Souvigny organist, Henri Delorme. 

Jesse Eschbach and I hatched the concept of the Summer Institute for French Organ Studies in 1985 and we took our first small group to Souvigny/St-Dizier the summer of 1986. Henri Delorme was first and foremost a gentleman in the best sense of the word. He was always generous with his time, his knowledge, his musicianship, his scholarship, and his willingness to help visitors understand and appreciate French culture and an important part of that: the French organ. In 1994 I organized a small Bedient organ recital tour for him in America.

To quote my colleague, Jesse Eschbach, “Henri was a big voice in France and we will feel his loss acutely.”

—Gene Bedient

Morley J. Lush, age 93, died July 11 in Concord, Massachusetts. Born in Cambridge, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard. He was the chief engineer and president of Rawson Lush Instrument Co., a maker of scientific instruments in Acton, Massachusetts. Lush served as organist and choir director for the Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton, was a bell ringer at Christ Church, Cambridge, and producer of the radio show The King of Instruments on WCRB for 50 years. He was an active member of the Acton Historical Society and the Boston AGO chapter. Morley J. Lush is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Nutter Lush, a daughter, a son, three grandsons, and a brother.

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