Mary Charlotte Ball, Carson-Newman College associate professor emerita of music and longtime organist at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, Tennessee, died December 5, following a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 81.
Born in Knoxville, she held degrees from the University of Tennessee and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mary Ball began service as FBC’s organist in 1962, shortly after moving to Jefferson City when her husband, Dr. Louis Ball, joined C-N’s faculty. She joined the faculty in 1964 and taught there until retiring in 1994.
Her more than 50-year career as a church organist and teacher began at the age of 16, when she played for the services at McCalla Avenue Baptist Church (now Chilhowee Hills). Further service continued at Knoxville’s Inskip Baptist Church and Severns Valley Baptist Church, located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. She authored numerous articles for church music periodicals, and, with her husband Louis, composed five volumes of sacred organ and piano selections. Mary Ball is survived by Louis, her husband of 59 years, two sons and two grandchildren.
Johannes Somary died February 1 in New York City. Born April 7, 1935 in Zürich, Somary was founder of AmorArtis, which he served as music director for 45 years. He had conducted such ensembles as the English Chamber Orchestra, New Orleans Symphony, and London’s Royal Philharmonic, participated in many international festivals, and had worked with many renowned singers and instrumentalists, including Elly Ameling, Maureen Forrester, Felicity Palmer, John Shirley-Quirk, David Bar-Ilan, Garrick Ohlsson, Aaron Rosand, and Dizzy Gillespie.
Somary was also active as an organist, and received critical acclaim for his recent recordings of Handel organ concertos. He taught and lectured at Brooklyn College, the New School of Social Research, and the New England Conservatory. From 1971 he was chairman of the arts and music department at the Horace Mann School in New York. He composed orchestral works, choral pieces, songs, and chamber music. Somary’s discography numbers over fifty recordings, including four Stereo Review Record-of-the-Year Awards. Among his new recordings (on the Premier label), is Three Is Company, the name of one of his compositions recorded, which features him in his dual role as conductor and composer. Johannes Somary is survived by his wife, Anne, and their children Stephen, Geoffrey, and Karen. A memorial concert is planned for later in the year.