Maurice H. Skones
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 at PLU until 1982. The Choir of the West received many honors during the Skones years. Miklos Rosza 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 University of Arizona 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 acclaim for many outstanding performances in America and abroad. His choirs performed at many national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). He served as guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician for more that 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 is 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.
Our Saviour's Lutheran Church