Tributes to the organist/choirmaster John Scott, who died of a heart attack at age 59 on Wednesday, continue to pour in throughout the world. I especially liked the one by radio host Michael Barone which you can read in its entirety by clicking here. He remembers Scott’s extraordinary career and lasting legacy in this heartfelt tribute, which includes several audio and video clips. Barone writes, “This man touched millions, through his leadership of the choirs of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London (1990-2004) and St. Thomas Church, NYC (2004-2015), the performances given with them and enjoyed during services and concerts, and through recordings and broadcasts. Any church musician worth the name, in any English-speaking parish anywhere in the world, laments this untimely death.”
Other obituaries by news media around the world:
New York Times: John Scott, obituary
Classical Music Magazine: Obituary: John Scott (18 June 1956-12 August 2015)
Here is a video of John Scott playing one of Bach’s Advent chorale preludes, “Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660” on the Taylor and Boody organ at St. Thomas New York. (I played the same piece on my Bach concert two years ago, but not with this much style!)
In my list of classical musicians who died young, ALCM friend Robin Knutson reminded me about James “Jim” Holloway, who at age 40 was tragically gunned down in a random act of violence on the Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA) campus in 2001. He and his wife, Judy Carr, had spent 17 glorious days in Hawaii that January, staying with the Crosiers for a week while he gave a hymn festival at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and workshop for the American Guild of Organists, then spending the rest of the time on the North Shore of Oahu.
We were thoroughly entertained during their visit, and I still smile at his impressions of famous musicians and the many accents he could speak in (German, Russian, French, Southern, to name a few). There was lots of laughter around the dinner table when he was there. He and my husband, Carl, shared a love of cooking fine food— Jim cooked in our kitchen on this visit, and Carl made plans to cook in Jim’s on a future trip. He was an exceptionally fine musician, and could play music in many genres: Bach, as well as gospel and jazz.
We first met Jim at an ALCM (Association of Lutheran Church Musicians) conference in Tacoma, WA where he was the conference chair, which meant he was running around like a chicken with its head cut off! I actually played one of the conference services on the beautiful Fritts organ at Pacific Lutheran University where he was the organ professor, and he helped me schedule practice time on the instrument. Later in the week, I went to Jim’s workshop which was about musicians taking care of themselves. He had had a wake-up call when he experienced a medical emergency after doing the 40,000 things musicians do in their busy lives. I will never forget his quote, “Practicing is therapeutic — and it’s a lot cheaper than a psychiatrist!”
Carl had planned a trip to the Northwest in May 2001, and was even scheduled to stay with Jim Holloway the weekend he was killed. Of course, he quickly changed his plans at this news and stayed in a hotel, but was able to go to the memorial service on the PLU campus. Carl grieved tremendously for our friend. If you look at the plaque of the Beckerath continuo organ at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, you will see that we gave a memorial gift in memory of James Dale Holloway. Now you know who he was.
Here are some news stories about the shooting—if you read carefully, there was a Hawaii connection.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Music teacher killed in random shooting at PLU