Nunc dimittis: Charles Huddleston Heaton, Fritz Noack, William E. Randolph, Jr., Carl Schalk

July 20, 2021

Charles Huddleston Heaton

Charles Huddleston Heaton, Sr., 92, died June 11, in Huntsville, Alabama. He was born November 1, 1928, in Centralia, Illinois. Heaton earned his Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, in 1950, studying with Van Denman Thompson. He then went to New York City for his Master of Sacred Music degree at the School of Sacred Music of Union Theological Seminary, completed in 1952. After service in the United States Army, he returned to Union Seminary in September 1954 for his Doctor of Sacred Music degree. Among his teachers at Union were Hugh Porter and Harold Friedell.

In 1954, while a student, Heaton was appointed chapel organist for Kirkpatrick Chapel, Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, playing a three-manual Skinner organ. The following year, while still a student, he became organist and choir director for the Presbyterian Church of Bound Brook, New Jersey. He was awarded his doctoral degree in 1957.

In 1956 Heaton was named organist and director of music for Second Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, Missouri. He would become organist for Temple Israel of the same city in 1959. From 1962 to 1964, he taught organ at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Heaton then served as organist and director of music for East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1972 until 1993. During his tenure at the church, he recorded the disc, Music Till Midnight, named for a series of concerts he formulated at East Liberty beginning in 1976. He was a lecturer in music at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary between 1973 and 1976.

Following retirement Heaton was organist-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (1993–1996 and 1997–2002) and served as interim organist for a year each at Calvary Episcopal (1996–1997) and Oakmont Presbyterian Churches, all in Pittsburgh. Heaton was a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists (1957), penned two books—How to Build a Church Choir (1958) and A Guidebook to Worship Services of Sacred Music (1961)—published several anthems, and was editor of the Hymnbook for Christian Worship, published by Judson Press in 1970. He was a staff reviewer of new recordings for The Diapason magazine and was pleased to have a complete run of the journal, which he had bound and donated to DePauw University. He also contributed to journals such as Clavier and The American Organist. A 90th birthday celebration concert in Heaton’s honor was held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh on November 3, 2018, with several local organists performing.

On April 17, 1954, Heaton married Jane Pugh, who predeceased him in September 1999. They had three children, who survive: Rebecca Lynn Turner (Patrick) of Herndon, Virginia; Charles Huddleston Heaton, Jr. (Miki), of Brierfield, Alabama; and Matthew Aaron Heaton (Shannon) of Medford, Massachusetts, along with four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service for Charles Huddleston Heaton, Sr., will take place in September at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh. Burial will be in Crystal Lake, Michigan, where the Heatons spent their summers. Memorial contributions may be made to a scholarship in Heaton’s memory to the American Guild of Organists, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260, New York, New York 10115, attention: F. Anthony Thurman.

Fritz Noack

Fritz Noack, 86, died June 2. Born in Germany in 1935, he apprenticed in organ building with Rudolf von Beckerath in Hamburg between 1954 and 1958. He would work with Klaus Becker and Ahrend & Brunzema, also in Germany, before coming to the United States, working briefly for the Estey Organ Company in Brattleboro, Vermont, and later with Charles Fisk, then with the Andover Organ Company in Methuen, Massachusetts.

In 1960, he founded the Noack Organ Company, then located in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The workshop would move to Andover, Massachusetts, in 1965 for larger space. In 1970, the company moved to its present location, a former schoolhouse in Georgetown, Massachusetts, where an erecting room was added to the building. More than a dozen organ builders, including the principal personnel of various other firms, have received their training there.

Noack was active in various professional organizations, including service as the president of the International Society of Organbuilders from 2000 to 2006; he also served two terms as president of the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America. He taught organ construction and building at New England Conservatory, Boston.

In early 2015, Noack retired from his company, turning its leadership over to Didier Grassin. At that point, the firm had built nearly 160 instruments, installed throughout the United States and abroad in locations such as Iceland and Japan.

William E. Randolph, Jr.

William E. Randolph, Jr., died May 15. In 1979, he earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, New York City, studying with Frederick Swann. He would further study with Jean Langlais in Paris and Christopher Dearnley in London.

Randolph worked at the Episcopal Church of the Intercession in New York City from 1983 until 1993. He then served at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and at St. George’s Episcopal Church, New York City. He returned to Church of the Intercession in 2002 where he remained until his death. He also was adjunct organist at Columbia University, organist at the Marymount School for Girls, and assistant organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, all of New York City. A memorial service for Randolph was held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 10.

Carl Schalk 

Carl Flentge Schalk, 91, died January 24 in Melrose Park, Illinois. He was born September 26, 1929, and attended high school and college at Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois (now Concordia University Chicago), graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education. He proceeded to earn a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Arts in Religion degree from Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri. His first call was to Zion Lutheran Church and School, Wausau, Wisconsin, as fifth and sixth grade teacher and church musician. From 1958 to 1965, Schalk was music director for radio broadcasts of The Lutheran Hour.

From 1965 until his retirement in 1993, Schalk was professor of church music at Concordia University, River Forest. During this time, he guided the development of the university’s Master of Church Music degree, which has since graduated more than 200 students, edited the journal Church Music, and coordinated the annual Lectures in Church Music, which brings church musicians, performers, conductors, and educators together for a three-day conference. Schalk was a member of the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship, which produced the Lutheran Book of Worship in 1978, and the board of directors of Lutheran Music Program, the parent organization of the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival. He was honored with the Faithful Servant award from the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, was named a fellow of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, and received numerous other awards and several honorary doctorates. In 2002, Schalk was named the American Guild of Organist’s Composer of the Year.

At Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, Illinois, adjacent to the Concordia campus, Schalk assisted Paul Bouman in church music; together they founded the Bach Cantata Vesper Series that continues to this day. Schalk is well known for his numerous choral compositions as well as his hymn tunes and carols, which number over one hundred. He had ongoing collaborations with poets Jaroslav Vajda and Herbert Brokering, producing tunes for several of their hymn texts. Schalk’s hymn tunes may be found in modern Christian hymnals of various denominations. In 2013, Nancy Raabe’s critical biography, Carl F. Schalk: A Life in Song, was published, and in 2015, Singing the Church’s Song, a collection of articles and essays about church music by Carl Schalk was released. As recently as 2020, his book, Singing the Faith: A Short Introduction to Christian Hymnody, was also printed (see the March 2021 issue of The Diapason, p. 21). He was preceded in death by his wife Noël Roeder, and is survived by three children and four grandchildren.