Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dominique-René de Lerma: Myron Munday Fellowship in Sacred Music at Florida State University

Dominique-René de Lerma

When I was selected as the Wiley Housewright Visiting Scholar for 1990 at Florida State University, I found an extraordinary assemblage of exceptional artists and scholars on the faculty of the College of Music -- certainly including the composer and conductor Dr. André Thomas, whose career I had watched carefully from his student days -- and a body of ardent students to match.  I had been asked only to have a graduate seminar on Black music, spending the rest of my energies in personal research.  That was too much of a luxury to face, so I pleaded that I might also have a course in the subject that would be open to both graduate and undergraduate students, regardless of major.  Within that large class, I have particular reason to remember Ken Pereira, a drama major (now Professor of Theatre and Director of the Honors Program at Illinois State University), pianist Kevin Wayne Bumpers (now Professor of Music and Director of Keyboard Studies at Miami-Dade College), and soprano Randy Jones (now completing her doctorate at the University of Iowa), whose name will be known to record collectors and those interested in her important register of currently active Black singers []).
One of the greatest joys was coming to know Myron Carl Munday, one of the three in the seminar.  He was quickly identified as one with a keen intellect, one whose distinctive humor might seem to override his pride and passion when it came to Black music.  He presented a most splendid lecture recital on the organ works of the composers, clearly giving evidence of a literature search that resulted not only in the acquisition of publications, but of manuscripts.  I greatly lamented this presentation was not recorded.
While there are no commercial recordings of his work, a few cassettes exist of his recitals.  With singers and instrumentalists, he presented a recital at Tallahassee's Trinity United Methodist Church, where he was senior organist, 24 May 1990:
Buxtehude, Dietrich.  Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet, Bux. 5.
Reinberger, Josef.  Andante  pastorale, op. 98.
Gwinner, Volker.  Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut.
Schroeder, Hermann.  Duplum.
Wesley, Samuel.  Duet.

Shortly before, on 31 March, at the same location, he had offered a solo recital with works by Frederick Tillis, Juan Cabanilles, John E. West, André Raison, and Bach.  He had ended the previous year (3 December) at Trinity Methodist, joined by the Women's Glee Club, harpist Jamie Ann Gossett and oboist Timothy Murdock, conducted by James Bagwell (all then FSU colleagues):
Thiman, Eric H.  A Christmas meditation.
Britten, Benjamin.  A ceremony of carols, op. 28.
Monteverdi, Claudio.  Angelus ad pastores ait.
Poulenc, Francis.  Ave Maria.
Bach, Johann Sebastian.  Magnificat.  Suscepit Israel.

He was born in Atlanta, on 12 June 1951.  He was awarded his doctorate in 1992 and then on 7 November 1995, he died. The cause might have been pulmonary (he had been hospitalized with a lung disorder about 1991).  Family members (although relationship has not been determined) included Alget Munday, Larry K. Munday, and Willie Curtis Munday.
The Myron Munday Fellowship in Sacred Music was established jointly by Trinity United Methodist Church and the College of Music at Florida State University in the fall of 2014, open to current or prospective FSU undergraduates seeking training in music, liturgy, theology, and administration.  Awardees are provided with an annual scholarship of $2,000 and a book allowance.  News of the fellowship was announced in several sources, including the newsletters of the American Guild of Organists and came to my attention from Randye.

Munday, Myron Carl.  A selected bibliography of solo organ music by Black composers.  Graduate paper (D.M.) Florida State University, 1992. 160p.
Munday, Myron Carl.  Florence B. Price.  Unpublished paper, 1991.  14p.

Dominique-René de Lerma

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