I’ve been absent from this blog for a while, enjoying the fine February weather of Cleveland (just kidding). It’s this post-holiday time period in Cleveland when one really needs anti-depressants.
The notable news for this week is that my brother sent me an online obituary for John R (“Jack”) Hoyt, who was the Minister of Music at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa, for the four years that I was organist there while I was in college in the early ’70s. Jack died last week after several years of illness. He was my church music mentor, and much of what I learned about being a church musician, I learned from him on the job: especially choral repertoire, hymn playing, choir directing. He was definitely a surrogate father in that regard. So many times did he and his family open their home to me during those years. Jack was oversized in every dimension. He’s what we would now describe as a “bear”–big, lovable, loud, sometimes tactless, demanding and abrasive, but with a heart of gold. I have kept in touch with him and his wife Marjorie over the past thirty years (can it really be that long??) since I left, and I still have some of my life’s fondest memories of those people at that time. I will miss him.