Robert Benjamin Dobey, 72, died April 20. Born August 14, 1950, he was raised in Arlington, Virginia. He progressed from playing piano to organ by the age of 13. Dobey graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio, in 1972, studying organ with Garth Peacock, before earning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance and literature from Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, studying with David Craighead. Dobey studied music with Michael Schneider in Cologne, Germany, on a Fulbright scholarship and resided in England for two years as a member of the Wells Cathedral choir. His musical activities ranged from playing organ and harpsichord to singing, composing, and conducting. After years of building his career in Washington, D.C., as keyboard artist with the Washington Bach Consort, assistant director of the Cathedral Choral Society at the National Cathedral, as a singer in the Woodley Ensemble, and various parishes, Dobey moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where he served as organist and choir director at Grace Episcopal Church.
Dobey recorded several discs for the Pro Organo label, among which are Herbert Howells & the Organ: The 30s & 40s, recorded on the Roosevelt-Schantz organ in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Syracuse, New York; The Wanderer, recorded on the Ernest M. Skinner/Aeolian-Skinner organ at Girard College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Magnificat: Organ music and chant in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, recorded on the Schoenstein organ of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; The Intimate Reger and In Sweetest Joy: Christmas Carols for the Organ, both recorded on the Schoenstein organ at Grace Episcopal Church, Sheboygan.
Robert Benjamin Dobey is survived by his sister, Mary Carol Coleman, and brother-in-law, Cameron Coleman, as well as nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial May 6 at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Sheboygan.
Memorials in Dobey’s name may be made to the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice (ssrhospicehome.org), the music fund at Grace Episcopal Church (gracesheboygan.com), or St. Luke’s Community Cafe (sheboygancountyfoodbank.com/community-cafe).
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