Nunc Dimittis

June 17, 2011

Fayola Foltz Ash died March 15 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at age 85. Born in Lansing, Michigan, February 24, 1926, she received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in 1948. She taught piano for over 50 years, mostly in Ann Arbor, was organist at First Methodist Church, Chelsea, for over 15 years, and directed the children’s choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor, for many years. She was a member of the American Guild of Organistsand the Ann Arbor Area Piano Teacher’s Guild. Ash accompanied many soloists and substituted at various churches as choir director, organist, and pianist.

George Evans Boyer died March 16 in Pennsylvania. He was 64. A graduate of St. Clair High School, West Chester University (1969), and Temple University (1974), Boyer was director of choral activities at William Allen High School in the Allentown School District from 1970–2000, and local sales representative of the Allen Organ Company following his retirement from teaching. Boyer served as a music director and organist for 49 years, at Temple Beth El Synagogue, St. John’s UCC, St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, and Christ Lutheran Church (all in Allentown), and Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Yonkers, New York. He also led European summer tours, and was a member of many musical organizations, including the New York City AGO chapter. George Evans Boyer is survived by his wife of 40 years, Susan Carol Boyer, and a cousin.

Jeanne Norman Briggs died March 30 in Hartwick, New York, at the age of 61. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho in 1972, and studied with Claire Coci at the American Music Academy in New Jersey. Briggs had played recitals in Europe and New York City, and served as organist for the First United Presbyterian Church in Oneonta, and for St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Berlin. She was a member of the Oneonta AGO chapter. Jeanne Norman Briggs is survived by her husband John, whom she married in 1980, two stepchildren, two brothers, a sister, and her caregiver.

Otis Herbert Colvin Jr. died January 21 in Waco, Texas, at the age of 87. He earned a BA from Baylor University in 1944, and then served in the Navy during World War II, until 1946, when he returned to Baylor and earned his music degree in 1948, followed by an MMus degree from the University of Colorado in 1950. Colvin earned his PhD from the Eastman School of Music in 1958. He taught music for five years at Texas Tech University; at Baylor University he taught music theory, piano, and carillon for more than 40 years, and was university carillonneur. As a pianist and organist, Colvin served in Waco at Central Christian, Columbus Avenue Baptist, and Seventh and James Baptist churches. He was a member of the AGO, and was a 32nd degree Baptist Mason. A composer and editor of music, his compositions include organ voluntaries based on early American hymn tunes, and other organ works. Otis Herbert Colvin Jr. is survived by his wife Mary Ila Colvin, three daughters, a sister, a brother, six grandchildren, and three great-granddaughters.

Virginia Herrmann died at age 96, on March 17 in Storrs, Connecticut. She graduated from Indiana University, and earned master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Yale University, where she studied with Paul Hindemith. While at Yale, she met and married Heinz Herrmann, her husband of 65 years; they moved to Storrs in 1955, where she was appointed adjunct organ professor at the University of Connecticut, and music director-organist at St. Mark’s Chapel. Herrmann had studied the Chinese language and Asian music, and had edited several collections of Asian music. In 2005, the Herrmanns established the Heinz and Virginia
Herrmann Distinguished Lecture Series on Human Rights and the Life Sciences at the University of Connecticut. Virginia Herrmann is survived by a daughter, a niece, and many friends.
Sebron Yates Hood Jr., 79 years old, died December 17, 2010, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He began playing piano for the Matthews Baptist Church in Matthews, North Carolina, while in high school; he received his bachelor’s degree in music from Erskine College in 1953, and an MSM in 1955 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he studied with Vernon deTar. From 1955–65 Hood served as organist and choirmaster at Sardis Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and at Trinity Episcopal Church from 1967 until his retirement in 1992. He was a past dean of the Charlotte AGO chapter, a founding member of the Strand AGO chapter, and of the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte. Sebron Yates Hood Jr. is survived by his wife of 54 years, Belle Miller Spivey Hood, a daughter, two sons, a brother, seven grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

Sarah Fant Jones died March 26 in Union, South Carolina. She studied at Converse College and Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music in New York City. She had served as organist for area churches that included Cane Creek Presbyterian Church, the Episcopal Church of the Nativity, Grace United Methodist Church, and First Presbyterian Church. A member of the Spartanburg AGO chapter, Jones and her family helped to secure the 1954 III/30 Schantz organ at the First Baptist Church of Union; in 1995 the instrument was restored and expanded by Schantz. Sarah Fant Jones is survived by four nephews.

David A. Pizarro, 79 years old, died February 23 in Nyack, New York. He studied at Yale University School of Music, where he earned a BMus in 1952 and an MMus in 1953; he was the recipient of a Fulbright grant from 1953–55 at the State Academy of Detmold, Germany. Pizarro had studied organ with Norman Coke-Jephcott, Michael Schneider, and Marcel Dupré. A visiting faculty member at the University of North Carolina in 1960–61, Pizarro held positions at North Carolina State College, Durham, in 1962–65, and was on the faculty of the Longy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965–71. He served as organist-choirmaster at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the campus of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, from 1972–74, as master of the choristers at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in 1974–77, and as organist at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Pleasantville, New York, 1983–96, and Sinai Temple in Mount Vernon from 1985–89. Pizarro was a member of the Royal College of Organists, a fellow of Trinity College of Music, London, and the Westminster AGO chapter; he had served the Durham AGO chapter as dean from 1962–65.

John Albert Stokes died May 15 in Princeton, New Jersey. Born December 21, 1937, he lived in New Brunswick and Princeton. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1961–1964. A self-taught musician, organist, and composer, Stokes worked as a pipe organ builder and piano tuner. For many years he served as organist for the Sayreville United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Middlesex, Monmouth, and Central Jersey AGO chapters. His compositions were played at many AGO members’ recitals, including a favorite Ode to St. Lucy’s Day. In addition, his skills as an organ builder were used for education, giving demonstrations and presentations to colleagues, providing old pipes for educational purposes. John Albert Stokes is survived by a brother and a sister.

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