John Hubert Corina, 86, of Athens, Georgia, died December 13, 2014. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he studied piano and organ with his father. As a young oboist, he taught in the Cleveland Music Settlement, performed with the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, and was a bandsman in the Army at Fort Meade and West Point. Corina earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Case Western Reserve University and a doctoral degree in composition from Florida State University. He taught composition, oboe, and theory at the University of Georgia, where he performed with the UGA Baroque Ensemble and the Georgia Woodwind Quintet and established the New Music Center and the Electronic Music Studio. In 1985, he was awarded the university’s teaching excellence professorship; he was named Professor Emeritus of Music and retired in 1991.
As composer of over 130 works, Corina received 14 awards from ASCAP and other organizations. He was an organist/choirmaster for 50 years, serving at Young Harris Memorial UMC and Emmanuel Episcopal Church. He also conducted the University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra and the Athens Choral Society, among other choruses, orchestras, and bands, and became the founding board chairman of the Athens Civic Ballet and founding director of the Classic City Band.
John Hubert Corina is survived by his wife of 54 years, Carol; son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Sandra Corina; son, Donald Corina; daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Michael Mears; daughters and son, Mary Ellen Gurbacs, Gail Brant, and John L. Corina; granddaughter and grandson, Laura and Michael Johnson; granddaughters and grandson, Jordan, Sydney, and Brendan Corina; brother and sister-in-law, Lawrence and Jacqueline Corina, and other family members.
Myles J. Criss died on January 12 of melanoma, his cat Gracie at his side. He was born on April 7, 1933, in Winterset, Iowa. He attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Kansas City Conservatory. In 1952 he joined the U.S. Navy; his naval career included service on the hospital ship USS Haven, where he worked for the chaplain, played the ship’s organ, and had his first choir. The USS Haven sailed throughout the Pacific during the Korean War. He also served aboard the supply ship USS Alludra and the destroyer USS Dixie.
Honorably discharged from the Navy in 1956, Criss returned to Kansas where he enrolled at Washburn University in Topeka, studying organ with Jerald Hamilton. He transferred to Kansas University, studying organ with Laurel Everette Anderson and conducting with Clayton Krehbiel. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1960 and master’s degree in 1963.
Criss served in organist and choirmaster positions at many churches, including at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City, where he subsequently designed the organ, developed choir programs, and founded the Canterbury Choral Society, at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka, Kansas, where he established a full choir program, and at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in Corvallis, Oregon. Semi-retiring from Good Samaritan in 2002, he accepted the position of organist at the Congregational Church of Corvallis.
He founded the Topeka Festival Singers in 1984 and conducted them until 1987. He was made an honorary Canon and retired from Grace Cathedral in 1997. In December of 2013, Canon Criss moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he assisted with the music program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Criss was a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians and the American Guild of Organists, which he served as dean three different times. He traveled extensively and knew by heart the stop lists of pipe organs around the world, many of which he played. He also played concerts and recitals throughout the U.S. Myles J. Criss is survived by nieces and nephews Sandra Bentley, Linda Mosteller, Marjorie Ross, Larry Kuhn, Anita Luce, Lynn Ellen Morman, David Morman, Debi Foster, and Steve Criss, and by a stepsister, Sharon Boatwright.
Bertram Schoenstein, 97 years old, died January 8, 2015, in San Rafael, California. Born September 11, 1917, Bert was the eldest remaining third-generation member of the pioneer San Francisco organbuilding family. As a youngster he helped his father, Louis, in the organ business, but coming of age in the depth of the Great Depression when there was little prospect for the organ business, he began a 40-year career as a master painter and decorator. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps. After retiring, he achieved his dream of a second career in organbuilding with Schoenstein & Co. from 1978 to 1995. Bert was a natural mechanic and practical problem solver. In addition to running the paint and finish department, he devised many clever fixtures and tools for the other departments and maintained plant equipment. Also a natural musician, as was the family tradition, he played the violin in several orchestras and ensembles including the Deutscher Musik Verein. Among his many mechanical interests was antique car restoration, specializing in Model T Fords. Bertram Schoenstein is survived by children Karl and Heidi, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
Charles Dodsley Walker, 94, died in New York City on January 17. At the time of his death he was the conductor of the Canterbury Choral Society and organist and choirmaster emeritus of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City, and the artist-in-residence of St. Luke’s Parish, Darien, Connecticut. During his career Walker held numerous positions, including at the American Cathedral in Paris, St. Thomas Chapel, and the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City, the Berkshire Choral Institute, Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music, Manhattan School of Music, and New York University. A Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, he also served as president of the AGO from 1971–75.
An article in memoriam will follow in the April issue of The Diapason.
Harry Wilkinson, 92, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died January 15 of congestive heart failure. Born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1922, he spent most of his life in the Philadelphia area. He began his study of the organ at the age of twelve with Harry C. Banks of Girard College. The Girard College organ remained his favorite throughout his life. He studied organ with Harold Gleason and David Craighead at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, New York, earning a doctorate degree in music theory there in 1958. In 1995, Wilkinson was named honorary college organist and honorary lifetime member of the Girard College Alumni Association. A lifelong member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, he was a Fellow of the AGO and served on a national level as councilor for conventions. Wilkinson was professor emeritus of music theory and composition and taught organ students at West Chester University, serving there for over 35 years. He also served on the faculties of Chestnut Hill College, Beaver College, and Arcadia University. As a church musician, he served as director of music and organist for St. Martin-in-the Fields Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill. Wilkinson recorded several discs with the Pro Organo label. Memorial gifts may be made to the Organ Restoration Fund, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, 4625 Springfield Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19143.