Nunc dimittis

July 31, 2019

Roger Allen Banks died June 5 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was born October 12, 1940, in Lawrence, Kansas, and grew up in the funeral business in Wichita, Kansas, though developing an interest in music early in life. His first experience maintaining organs was with the theater pipe organ in his uncle’s basement. He attended the University of Kansas, majoring in electrical engineering, but moved with his parents to Oklahoma City in 1960 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree in 1965 from Oklahoma City University. Because of his uncle’s affiliation with the Reuter Organ Company in Lawrence, he had the opportunity to work on pipe organ projects while in school. He then went to work full-time for Reuter upon graduation where he was responsible for new installations around the country, in addition to tuning and maintenance. He met his wife Betsy while installing a large instrument at Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts, and told her if he married an organist, he would build her a pipe organ. He built her a home practice organ that, each time they moved, dictated where they could live. His last project was to convert the practice organ to a digital instrument for their new, smaller home.

The Bankses moved to Oklahoma City in 1970 where he eventually became manager with Oklahoma Wilbert Vaults and was active in the Oklahoma Funeral Directors Association. He established his own organ maintenance business in the early 1980s, also serving as sales representative for the Reuter Organ Company. He was a long-time member and former vestry member at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Edmond.

Roger Allen Banks is survived by his wife of 49 years, Betsy; his daughter, Jennifer McGrew of Edmond and her husband, Shane; son, Chris of Edmond; two grandchildren, one sister, and one brother. A memorial service was held June 18 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Oklahoma City. A scholarship has been established in his name at the University of Oklahoma to benefit organbuilding and technology students. Memorials should be addressed to: OU Foundation, Banks Fund #33905, c/o The American Organ Institute, 2101 W. Tecumseh Rd., Suite C, Norman, OK 73069.

 

Jane Manton Marshall, 94, composer of sacred music, author, choral conductor, clinician, and educator, died May 29 in Dallas, Texas. Jane Manton was born December 5, 1924, in Dallas. Her earliest musical studies were with piano teacher Hazel Cobb.

Marshall had a long association with Southern Methodist University, Dallas, earning both Bachelor of Music (1945) and Master of Music (1968) degrees there. She studied organ with Dora Poteet Barclay and was a member of Sigma Kappa, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Mortar Board. A year after completing her undergraduate degree, she married high school classmate Elbert Hall Marshall, a mechanical engineer and also an SMU graduate.

At various times she taught in the SMU English department, in the Music department at Meadows School of the Arts, and at Perkins School of Theology. From 1975 to 2010 she led the Church Music Summer School at Perkins. In 1965 she received the Woman of Achievement Award from SMU, and she was named a Distinguished Alumna in 1992. In addition, she received the Roger Deschner Award from the Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians (1997) and was honored twice by the Southern Baptist Musicians Conference for her contributions to church music.

As a composer, she is perhaps best remembered for her anthem “My Eternal King,” her first published work, cited by publisher Carl Fischer as one of its 15 or so best-selling anthems of all time, and considered a favorite of many church musicians. Other notable compositions include “He Comes to Us,” a setting of the closing words of Albert Schweitzer’s “The Quest for the Historical Jesus;” “Awake, My Heart,” winner of the Best New Anthem prize of the American Guild of Organists in 1957; “Fanfare for Easter,” “Sing Alleluia Forth,” and many others. Her catalog extended to over 200 published anthems for adult and children’s choirs and three collections of children’s choir music.

Later in her career she focused her attention on the writing of hymn tunes and texts, as in “What Gift Can We Bring,” for which she wrote both words and music. Her work is represented in the hymnals of every major Protestant denomination, and she was a frequent contributor to church music journals. Other writings include Grace, Noted, a book of sermons and essays on music making.

Jane Manton Marshall is survived her husband Elbert Marshall; children Shoshana Lash of Ansonia, Connecticut, David Marshall of Lewisville, Texas, and Peter Marshall of Atlanta, Georgia. A memorial service is planned for a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to Perkins School of Theology at SMU and to Northaven United Methodist Church, Dallas.

 

Nancianne B. Parrella, 83, died June 2 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was born November 14, 1935, in Trenton, New Jersey, and earned degrees in music from Trenton State College, now known as the College of New Jersey. She began teaching music in the Princeton, New Jersey, public schools in 1957. Her church music career began at First Presbyterian Church and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Trenton. She continued advanced organ studies with Vernon deTar in New York City in the 1960s.

As an organist, Parrella presented solo recitals and concerto performances with orchestras; she was best known as a collaborative artist, particularly as a choral accompanist. In Princeton, she was co-director with William Trego of the Princeton High School Choir, and she joined the faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, where she was accompanist and assistant director of the Westminster Choir and Symphonic Choir directed by the late Joseph Flummerfelt, with which she toured and recorded in Europe, America, Taiwan, and Korea.

Parrella taught in summer programs at Westminster, performing with major choral conductors; and she assisted at the Spoleto Festivals in Italy and in Charleston, South Carolina, where she was the founding director of the chamber music series “Intermezzo.” She worked with Maurice Duruflé on the first performances of his Requiem in the United States.

Parrella was long associated with Robert Shaw, with whom she worked in summer choral workshops and later in France with his Festival Singers, and toured and recorded in America, France, and Brazil. She also collaborated with other conductors of the era—Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, and Lorin Maazel with the New York Philharmonic; Wolfgang Sawallisch of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Zdenek Macal and Neeme Järvi of the New Jersey Symphony; and James Bagwell and Louis Langrée in New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival.

As a church musician, she worked with Kent Tritle and later Scott Warren at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, New York City, and its concert series Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, where she served for over 20 years. Also in New York, from 1978–1992 she worked with Frederick Grimes in the Bach Vespers program at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and was a frequent accompanist for other conductors, including Dennis Keene and Voices of Ascension. For 14 years she worked with Greg Funfgeld and the Bethlehem Bach Choir in its historic festivals in Pennsylvania, and she also served at Trinity Episcopal Church, Princeton, with John Bertalot.

After moving with her husband Joachim E. Parrella to Cincinnati, she commuted to New York City to continue to play at St. Ignatius Loyola and to work with Andrew Henderson at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. She was also active in music programs in Cincinnati: Christ Church Cathedral with Stephan Casurella, Knox Presbyterian, Covenant First Presbyterian, Collegium Cincinnati, Summer Sing, Indian Hill Episcopal Presbyterian Church, and for community events at Deupree House.

Nancianne B. Parrella was preceeded in death by her husband Joachim E. Parrella in 2013. She is survived by her two daughters: Amy Noznesky, her husband David, and their daughter Megan Strauss, of Hobe Sound, Florida; and Lisa O’Connell, her husband Terry, and their daughters Catherine Rose and Madeline Kellett, of Loveland, Ohio. A funeral service was held June 11 at Christ Church Cathedral, Cincinnati, and a memorial service will be held September 21, at St. Ignatius Loyola, New York City.