Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tributes to Composer Hale Smith (1925-2009)

AfriClassical has received the following tributes to Hale Smith (1925-2009):

Regina Harris Baiocchi, Chicago, Illinois
Dear Family & Friends: My mentor, teacher, master composer and friend passed this evening. Please honor Hale by celebrating his music and remembering his family in your prayers. Mail may be addressed to Hale's wife: Mrs. Juanita Smith, 225 Pine Street, Freeport, NY 11520

Dominique-René de Lerma, Appleton, Wisconsin
Dear Regina, This news was initially a shock, but then I was overcome with sentiments of deep gratitude, joining my feelings with surely everyone who came in contact with Hale, so appreciative of the warmth of his spirit and the nurture he gave us and his art. This is a man we all loved – and love. When we first met, forty years ago this past summer, we talked way into the night, and I was struck by the enormous love he expressed for Juanita.

Regina Harris Baiocchi
As we big adieu to Master Composer Hale Smith I am reminded of all he gave to me and the world as mentor, teacher and friend. The greatest tribute we can pay is to program Hale Smith's music.

Mike S. Wright, United Kingdom
Suzanne [Flandreau], Thanks for letting me know. Back in the mid 90’s I had had some contact with Hale Smith before he was seriously ill. He was most influential to me in setting my objectives in promoting the music of African American composers. He was most anxious to ensure that I was not promoting music on the basis of ‘a special case’. I was also very much drawn to the qualities of his music. His passing is a sad loss to the musical world and to humanity in general. I will be communicating a message to Juanita via Regina.

Regina Harris Baiocchi
Dear Bill, Thanks for the Hale Smith posting. Please note that Hale is also survived by one daughter, Robin, and three sons: Michael, Marcel (Keiko); and Eric (Marcia); and Marcel's son, Bracey, who spent the last decade or so with Hale and Juanita. (Keiko and Marcia are daughter-in-laws.)

William J. Zick, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dear Juanita, Please accept my sincere condolences on Hale's passing. He and I did not have personal contact, but through the website I gained great respect for his professional accomplishments. I felt I came to know him through fond references by Marilyn Harris and Dominique-René de Lerma. I have posted some tributes on AfriClassical.

Juanita Smith
Thank you so very much! Juanita

Gwendoline Y. Fortune, Gainesville, Florida
I knew his brother, Bruce, and am in contact with his sister-in-law Norma, a friend of many years. I have been apprised of Hale's condition for some time. I met Hale only once, but cherish the memory. I admire his talent. I told him of one of his compositions I had sung, 'Beyond the rim of day,' and he gave me the names of others he had composed that he said I would like. Composers are my absolutely favored (in awe) artists. Peace and love, Gwen

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