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Fred Ford passed away in his Somerset, NJ home on Feb. 15, 2024, 10 days after his 85th birthday.
Fred had been a choral conductor and educator, working primarily in the college setting, for more than 30 years. Fred was born in Woonsocket, RI, the son of Robert S. Ford and Catherine Hudson (Ford). He graduated from Burrillville HS, RI at the age of 16, and one year later from Mt. Hermon School, MA. He began at Harvard focusing on Engineering, but quickly realized that his passion for the Krokodiloes and Harvard Glee Club was seated in his love of choral music, and changed his concentration to Music studies, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music. While earning his Master of Arts in Education from Harvard School of Education, he was able to join the Harvard Glee Club as their assistant director for their Far Eastern Tour in 1961.

When enlisting in the Navy Reserve, he requested duties in Japan as a result of the love of all things Japanese that was kindled on the Glee Club tour. He was assigned as a minesweeper officer in the based in Sasebo, Japan for three and a half years.

Upon his return home, he enrolled at SUNY Buffalo. It was in Buffalo that he met his wife Kathleen; Fred and Kathy were married in 1968. They raised their daughter Amy and son Geoff in Crawfordsville, IN, where he taught at Wabash College while working towards the completion of his PhD in Music History.
Music motivated Fred’s career as singer, pianist, conductor, coach, and teacher. He conducted choruses and taught music history and theory at the University of Virginia, SUNY Buffalo, Wabash College, and Rutgers University. After his long years as a college professor, he tied up his career with 15 joyous years of choruses and support for theater productions at Bridgewater Raritan HS. He earned a Governor’s Award for Teaching and a Somerset County Award for Excellence in the Arts, and also conducted Mixed and Women’s Honor Choirs and the 2007 NJ All-State Chorus.

He continued working with the Harvard Glee Club Alumni group, acting as Director on four separate tours returning to their Far Eastern Tour locations, including Tokyo/ Kyoto, Nagasaki, and Sendai.
He was a long-time member, and some-times state President of the American Choral Director’s Association, a group he highly valued for the comradery and musicality. He led the efforts to run the 2000 ACDA national convention in Baltimore, an event he was rightfully proud to have organized.
Fred shared his joy and wonder of music not only professionally, but also through his church, the Unitarian Society (of East Brunswick), his living community where Fred enjoyed sharing his glorious piano playing with his fellow residents in the annual Variety Show, and with every person lucky enough to strike up a musical conversation with him.

Lynn Ellen Drafall, age 66, passed from this life on September 21 after a 7 year battle with ovarian cancer.

Lynn was the only child of Rodney J. and Lillian (Leetz) Peterson. She was born in Chicago, IL and spent her childhood as a resident of the Chicago suburbs, graduating from Homewood-Flossmoor High School in 1972, and receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education (voice) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1976. She married her beloved husband, Robert Drafall, in 1979. She went on to earn her Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of Illinois in 1981 and the Ed.D. in Music Education from the University of Illinois in 1991.

Lynn taught choral music for eleven years in the public schools of Illinois and one year at the University of Mississippi before moving to Pennsylvania. She joined the faculty of the Penn State School of Music in 1992. At Penn State, she taught courses in undergraduate and graduate choral conducting and conducted the Concert Choir and was the founding conductor of the Oriana Singers. She worked with festival choirs throughout the midwest and mid-Atlantic, and conducted all-state high school choirs in Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Penn State choirs under her direction toured England, Germany, and Austria, and also toured nationally. In addition, they performed at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association. She received the University’s George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008, and received the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s Citation of Excellence in 2011. In 2013, she received the Elaine Brown Award for Choral Excellence from the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.

Cyril Stretansky, born June 4, 1935, to the late Stephen and Mildred (Ondek) Stretanasky in Nanticoke, PA., passed away June 13, 2021, at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. He was predeceased by his sister Theresa and her husband Rev. Mr. Thaddeus Wadas. Cyril is survived by his wife Leona (Shanders) Stretansky breaking a union of 61 years of marriage, and a nephew Dr. Thaddeus Wadas of Iowa City, Iowa. He completed 35 years as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Susquehanna University where a performance venue Stretansky Hall and the Stretansky Distinguished Professorship Chair in Choral Music are named in his honor.

The choral world lost a vibrant, spirited colleague with Dr. Randi Carp’s untimely passing on Wednesday, January 6, 2016. Her sphere of influence touched public school and choral communities on both coasts. For those of us fortunate enough to be in her orbit there is a tremendous sense of loss, but also a deep sense of gratitude for a life well lived through her energetic, dedicated and passionate music-making.

Horace Clarence Boyer of Amherst was born July 28, 1935 in Winter Park, Fla. to Mr. & Mrs. Climmie, Sr. & Ethel M. Boyer. He was the fourth of eight children born to this union. He was a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University and held masters and doctorate degrees from the Eastman School of Music. His teaching career included tenures at Albany State College , the University of Central Florida at Orlando and from 1973 to 1999, the University of Massachusetts as a member of the Faculty of Music and Dance.

Long-time ACDA leader Brent F. Miller passed away on January 4, 2010 after a short illness. He was a graduate of Rutgers University and Trenton State College, with a Bachelor degree in music education and a Master degree in choral conducting. While at Rutgers, he was a member of the Kirkpatrick Chapel Choir, the Rutgers University Choir and Glee Club, and was conductor of the combined Air Force and Army ROTC Cadet Chorus. He studied conducting with a number of teachers, including Robert Shaw and John Rutter.

Founding ACDA member Walter Ehret passed away on November 16th, 2009. He was born in New York City in 1918 to Adele Tonies and her husband, and later adopted by his step-father, Charles Ehret. A graduate of Juilliard and Teachers College, Columbia University, he taught instrumental and choral music in New Jersey and New York for over 40 years. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Hofstra University, Manhattanville College, and Teachers College, Columbia University.

Native New Yorker and long time resident Joseph C. Crupi died May 20, 2009 at age 80. He was born in Binghamton, NY, April 1929. He graduated from State University of New York at Fredonia and Ithaca, with additional studies at the University of Oregon, Elmira College, Elmira, NY, Oberlin College of Music in Ohio, Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ, and Eastman School of Music in NY.

Helen Kemp worked for almost 80 training singers, teachers and conductors in the art of choral singing. Known internationally as a specialist in the area of training young voices, she served as guest conductor and clinician in all 50 states and around the world in school, university and church settings.

Kenneth Ray Steele was born March 1, 1945 in Toccoa, Georgia. Ken graduated from Stetson University in Deland, Florida with a Bachelor of Church Music degree and went on to earn his Master’s in Choral Conducting from the University of Texas in Austin.