Maurice H. Skones

PRESS RELEASE

University of Arizona Department of Fine Arts
UA Music Professor Emeritus Maurice Skones Dies of Cancer
Friday, May 10, 2002 Tina Alvarez, News Services

Professor emeritus and former Director of the Choral Activities, Maurice Skones, passed away in Tucson on May 2 from cancer. He was born in Havre, Montana on July 24, 1926.

Skones joined the UA School of Music and Dance in 1981 as a visiting professor and was named director of choral activities in 1983. He retired in 1992, and also served as acting director of the School that year. In 1997, he returned to the School for three years to serve as director of choral activities.

Skones was admired as a leading choral director and for his ability to build quality choral programs. He brought the School's choral programs to national and international prominence and acclaim. He founded the popular UA Faculty and Staff Choirs. Recognized as an eminent conductor, teacher, scholar, performer and musician, he received high critical acclaim for his performances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference. He was an inspiration to students, faculty and administrators at the University and served as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician at more than 200 music festivals.

Skones, who earned an A.Mus.D. in choral conducting in 1976 from the University of Arizona, earned his master of music at the Montana State University after completing his bachelor of arts in music at Concordia College.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia; three children, Paul Skones, Karen Denmark and Janet Hitt; eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Leona Larson of Shelby, Montana, and Alice Brownfield of Worden, Montana.

A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14, at 3 p.m., at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 1949 East Helen Street, Tucson.
GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Maurice Skones
TURNER -- Turner native Maurice Skones, 75, a retired music professor, died May 2 in Tucson, Ariz., of cancer.
Memorial services are 3 p.m. today at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Tucson. Cremation has taken place. Forest Lawn Funeral Home of Tucson is handling the arrangements.
A full obituary will appear at a later date.

GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE
Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Maurice M. Skones

  TUCSON, Ariz. -- Professor emeritus Maurice M. Skones, 75, an internationally recognized choral director and music educator who began his teaching career in Cut Bank, died of cancer May 2 at his home in Tucson, Ariz.

Services took place May 14 in Tucson.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia; children Paul Skones of Portland, Ore., Karen Denmark of Renton, Wash., and Janet Hitt Irons of Everett, Wash.; sisters Alice Brownfield of Worden and Leona Larson of Shelby; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Additional survivors include sons-in-law Edward Denmark of Renton and Mike Irons of Everett; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Skones was born July 24, 1926, in Havre, and graduated from Turner High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Concordia College at Moorhead, Minn. He began his teaching career in Cut Bank, teaching band and classroom music. He soon built a choral program, and in 1952, his high school choir was selected to perform at the Music Educators National Conference in Philadelphia.

After receiving his graduate degree from the University of Montana and the University of Arizona, Skones taught at Adams State University in Colorado from 1957 until 1964. He then was chairman of Pacific Lutheran University Department of Music in Tacoma, Wash., where he developed an international reputation as conductor of the Choir of the West. The choir's tours covered most of the lower 48 states, including performances in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Town Hall, New York, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, and many others. Two European tours in 1970 and 1977 were highlighted by a performance for the King of Norway in Oslo.

Composer Miklos Rozsa sought out the Choir of the West to sing the world premiere of "To Everything There is a Season" and the 23rd Psalm in a concert of his music. Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki came to PLU to assist the choir in a performance of his monumental "Saint Luke Passion" while Skones was at Pacific Lutheran University.

Dr. Skones joined the University of Arizona School of Music and Dance in 1982 as a visiting professor, and became the Director of Choral Activities in 1983. He retired in 1992, and in 1997, he returned to the University for three more years.

Following his second retirement, he remained active as a guest conductor and as an adjudicator for choral festivals in the U.S. and Canada. He continued to use his talents to the glory of God as director of Our Savior's Lutheran Church Chancel Choir until one month prior to his death. He served as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician for more than 200 music festivals. Dr. Skones had been mentor to scores of active college, university, secondary and church choral directors throughout North America. He was recognized as an eminent conductor and teacher. During his 54 years in the profession, his choirs achieved international acclaim for many outstanding performances in America and abroad.

Memorials may be donated to Choral Development Ministries of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Tucson; the Dr. Maurice and Mrs. Patricia Skones Vocal Scholarship Fund at Pacific Lutheran University; TMC Hospice in Tucson; or cancer research.
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Maurice M. Skones

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Professor emeritus Maurice M. Skones, 75, an internationally recognized choral director and music educator who began his teaching career in Cut Bank, died of cancer May 2 at his home in Tucson, Ariz.

Services took place May 14 in Tucson.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia; children Paul Skones of Portland, Ore., Karen Denmark of Renton, Wash., and Janet Hitt Irons of Everett, Wash.; sisters Alice Brownfield of Worden and Leona Larson of Shelby; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Additional survivors include sons-in-law Edward Denmark of Renton and Mike Irons of Everett; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Skones was born July 24, 1926, in Havre, and graduated from Turner High School. He completed his undergraduate degree at Concordia College at Moorhead, Minn. He began his teaching career in Cut Bank, teaching band and classroom music. He soon built a choral program, and in 1952, his high school choir was selected to perform at the Music Educators National Conference in Philadelphia.

After receiving his graduate degree from the University of Montana and the University of Arizona, Skones taught at Adams State University in Colorado from 1957 until 1964. He then was chairman of Pacific Lutheran University Department of Music in Tacoma, Wash., where he developed an international reputation as conductor of the Choir of the West. The choir's tours covered most of the lower 48 states, including performances in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Town Hall, New York, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, and many others. Two European tours in 1970 and 1977 were highlighted by a performance for the King of Norway in Oslo.

Composer Miklos Rozsa sought out the Choir of the West to sing the world premiere of "To Everything There is a Season" and the 23rd Psalm in a concert of his music. Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki came to PLU to assist the choir in a performance of his monumental "Saint Luke Passion" while Skones was at Pacific Lutheran University.

Dr. Skones joined the University of Arizona School of Music and Dance in 1982 as a visiting professor, and became the Director of Choral Activities in 1983. He retired in 1992, and in 1997, he returned to the University for three more years.

Following his second retirement, he remained active as a guest conductor and as an adjudicator for choral festivals in the U.S. and Canada. He continued to use his talents to the glory of God as director of Our Savior's Lutheran Church Chancel Choir until one month prior to his death.

He served as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician for more than 200 music festivals. Dr. Skones had been mentor to scores of active college, university, secondary and church choral directors throughout North America. He was recognized as an eminent conductor and teacher. During his 54 years in the profession, his choirs achieved international acclaim for many outstanding performances in America and abroad.

Memorials may be donated to Choral Development Ministries of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Tucson; the Dr. Maurice and Mrs. Patricia Skones Vocal Scholarship Fund at Pacific Lutheran University; TMC Hospice in Tucson; or cancer research.
Pacific Lutheran University

Dr. Maurice Skones
CONDUCTOR 1964-1983

Former Choir of the West Director Maurice Skones, who was credited with bringing national attention to PLU's choral program, died May 2, in Tucson, Ariz. Skones, 75, came to PLU in 1964 as chairman of the music department and director of the Choir of the West. During his 18-year tenure, he achieved a national reputation for the choir, was instrumental in the fivefold increase in music majors and encouraged emphasis on contemporary music.

While at PLU, he developed a new type of choral sound, which departed in some ways from the Lutheran choral tradition of emphasis on sectional unity. In its place he created a "heterogeneous" choral formation in which the choir is organized not by sections but by quartets. Memorials can be made to the Dr. Maurice and Patricia Skones Vocal Music Endowment Scholarship Fund at PLU.

A memorial service was held at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Tucson, AZ. A memorial service will be held on campus in August, but has not been scheduled.
The Passing of a Legend

Upon completion of his Bachelors degree in Choral Music from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1948, Maurice H. Skones began his career in the Cut Ban, Montana Public Schools, teaching band and classroom music. He soon built a choral program, and in 1952, his high school choir was selected to perform at the Music Educators National Conference in Philadelphia.

Maurice Skones received his Masters degree in Choral Music from the University of Montana in Missoula in 1957. He then accepted the choral position at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, and toured annually with his choirs. In 1964, he left Adams State to go to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, as Chair of the Department of Music and Director of the Choir of the West. He remained there until 1982. The Choir of the West received many honors during the Skones years. Miklos Rozsa sought out the Choir to sing the world premiere of To Everything There Is A Season and The 23rd Psalm in a concert of his music. Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki came to PLU to assist the Choir in a performance of his monumental St. Luke Passion. The Choir toured extensively during the Skones era. The tours covered most of the lower 48 states, including performances in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Town Hall (New York), Orchestra Hall (Minneapolis) and many others. Two European tours, in 1970 and 1977, were highlighted by a performance for the King of Norway in Oslo.

Maurice Skones completed his doctorate in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona in 1976, and in 1981 joined the UA School of Music and Dance as a visiting professor. He was named Director of Choral Activities in 1983. Dr. Skones was admired as an eminent teacher and conductor and for his ability to build quality choral programs. He brought the School's choral programs to national and international prominence and acclaim. He was an inspiration to students, faculty, and administrators. Dr. Skones retired in 1992, after also having served as Acting Director of the School that year. In 1997, he returned to the University to resume his responsibilities as Director of Choral Activities for three more years.

Following his second retirement, Dr. Skones remained active as a guest conductor and as an adjudicator for choral festivals in the U.S. and Canada. He continued to use his talents to the glory of God as Director of the Our Saviour's Lutheran Church Chancel Choir until one month prior to his death.

During his 54 years as teacher, conductor, and administrator, Dr. Skones achieved international for many outstanding performances in America and abroad. His choirs performed at many national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and Music Educators National Conference. He served as guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician for more than 200 music festivals.

During his remarkable career, Dr. Skones touched many lives. He was mentor to scores of active college, university, secondary school, and church choral conductors, a great many of whom attribute their success to the lessons learned while singing in a Skones Choir.

Maurice H. Skones is survived by his wife, Patricia; three children, Paul Skones, Karen Denmark, and Janet Hitt; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; two sisters, Alice Brownfield of Worden, Montana, and Leona Larson, of Shelby, Montana.
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