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February 2014 Articles
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Paul Moffett
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Issue: February 2014
Paul Moffett

Down On The Corner
By Paul Moffett


DICKINSON, MELVIN, 77, died on January 31, 2014, in his beloved Bach Haus.

In 1964, he founded the Louisville Bach Society, along with his wife, Margaret, and they continued ambitious offerings of major choral-orchestral works of all centuries until 2011, all the while specializing in their first love, the oratorios, masses, motets, and cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bach was the common ground that united Melvin and Margaret as they embarked on Fulbright fellowships in Frankfurt am Main, Germany from 1958 to 1960. They were honored to study with the Bach organ master Helmut Walcha, and became his assistants as the blind professor concertized throughout Europe. The Bach bond became so strong that these two best friends were married in 1961, and formed the first ever Bach Cantata Series at the Church of the Ascension in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Professor Melvin Dickinson was head of the organ and church music department at the University of Louisville for 42 years, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 2001. During that time, he taught and nurtured many, many students who now hold responsible church music positions throughout the country, even extending to Singapore, Ireland, and Germany. He was a careful and meticulous teacher who never let a student get away with anything, all the while maintaining a cheerful and caring attitude and a wonderful sense of humor with a very sharp wit.

After a six-year tenure at the Church of the Ascension in Frankfort, he assumed the same position at St. Francis in the Fields, Louisville, from 1966-1979. His last choral move was to Calvary Episcopal Church, Louisville, from 1979-2012. Both Dickinsons were made Musicians Emeriti at Calvary in 2012. They continued to keep their minds active by presenting a monthly Bach Lecture-Recital series at the Bach Haus, the latest and final one being January 11, 2014.

Professor Dickinson received many awards in teaching, organ playing, and conducting during his decades-long devotion to excellent music, never compromising his standards or philosophies as it became convenient and fashionable for others to do so.

Lloyd, Ronald C "Ronnie" 75, died in Loiusville on January 14, 2014. He was a long time drummer who played with the Carnations, the Trendells and the Premiers.

Miller, Betty Jeane, died in Louisville on January 25, 2014. She was musician and vocalist and a life member of AFM Local 11-637.

Morrison, Billy Joe, 60, of Greenville, Indiana, died on January 2, 2014. He was a bass player with the Louisville Youth Orchestras and a number of other musical groups.

Smillie, Thomson, 71, died in Lousville on January 18, 2014. He was the director of the Kentucky Opera from 1982-1997/

Woodling, William Alan, 63, died in Louisville on January 28, 2014. He was a drummer who played in the UK marching band and with Boojum and Blue Meridian.

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