Tribute to Dr. Sam Jones

Tribute to Dr. Sam Jones

Dr. Sam JonesSam with BellIn 2015 Dr. Sam Jones passed away. Sam was for many years the director of, and a driving force behind, the Philharmonic Chorus. This page is our Tribute to Sam. Here you can see images of Sam, hear Sam's infectious joy at a Tudor Dinner, and hear Sam singing as a member of the original Tudor Singers (he was on the Voice Faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music).

Included on this page are remarks made by Ed Krinsky, Philharmonic Chorus member of 45 years and friend of Sam Jones and his family, which were made at the Spring, 2015, Philharmonic Chorus concerts which we dedicated to Sam's memory. Following Ed's remarks are more images of Sam doing what he loved, directing the Philharmonic Chorus and entertaining Tudor Dinner patrons.

Ed Krinsky's remarks at the Philharmonic Concerts about Sam Jones, Spring, 2015, follow:

Good evening. I am Ed Krinsky, and I have been asked to say a few words to you about my friend Sam Jones who was the director of the Philharmonic Chorus when I joined it in 1970.

As you know from the program notes, our concerts this Spring our dedicated to the memory of Professor Samuel Jones, "Sam" to all of us who knew him. Sam died earlier this year at the age of 87. He directed the Philharmonic Chorus for more than 25 years. We are very pleased that his widow, Eva, is here with us tonight [his daughter Bronwyn is with us today] as we remember Sam and sing in his honor and memory.

Sam thoroughly enjoyed being a choral conductor. He was a task master, and the Chorus was the better for it. He reminded us frequently that we were not professional singers, but he always emphasized that we should not be dilletantes, a favorite word of his. He urged us to be disciplined, to concentrate and focus, and to be the advocate for each composer whose music we sang, to sing as the composers intended their works to be sung. He was also a perfectionist when it came to language pronunciation. Sam's intellectual interests were in linguistics and music history. As you may remember we sang in many languages from many eras, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, and Modern. Sam was either fluent in the languages, or had extensive knowledge of them. We sang in Latin, German, French, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Hebrew, English, Russian, Norwegian, Chinese, and Swahili, to name a few, and Sam made sure that our pronunciation was correct.

Sam was a force whenever he entered a room. He was full of good humor and jokes and story telling, but as our choral conductor he was always serious, and at times was impatient or angry as he sought perfection. You either loved him, or you didn't. For those of us who considered him a friend and teacher, the positives far outweighed the negatives, and the longevity of many of our members in this chorus attests to that.

Sam's legacy is our continuing appreciation of fine choral music, our extensive music library and recorded performances, our years of wonderful Spring concerts and years of fun and fine performances at the Tudor Dinners at the Wisconsin Union. Sam laid a solid foundation for us and for our audiences who keep coming back to hear us. That foundation has been built upon wonderfully over the past 20 years by our current director, Pat Gorman.

We hope that you enjoy our concert today, and that as you listen you will keep Sam in your hearts and minds. I believe that if Sam were here, he would be very proud of our work and of the traditions which he instilled in us.

Thank you.

Another Chorus member adds, "Sam added that we were amateur singers--and since the word amateur has the Latin root of 'ama' meaning love, an amateur sings for the love of singing. That is what he expected us to do." (Origin of AMATEUR; French, from Latin amator lover, from amare to love; First Known Use: 1777 [from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amateur]).

More images of Sam

As you will see, Sam Jones was involved with the Tudor Dinners for many, many years (whatever they were called at any one time). Yet even later in his life, it is clear he enjoyed them, as several of the image below attest. We are fortunate to have the program for the very first Philharmonic Chorus concert Sam directed which includes his biography and an image of him in 1960. The last image of him in the group below is from 1997 after Patrick Gorman assumed the Director's responsibilities. Appropriately, that picture was taken at a Tudor Dinner.

First Christmas Concert Program with Sam as Director Sam's Bio from the first Christmas Concert he directed

Sam as Vocalist and Chorus Leader

As mentioned above, Sam began his association with the Philharmonic Chorus in 1960 as its director. He also was involved with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Tudor Dinners at the same time as a member of the original Tudor Singers (about which you can read more here). These two roles collided in 1972 when the Philharmonic Chorus he directed succeeded the Tudor Singers as the chorus which performed for the Tudor Dinners. Sam was as well a trained vocalist and teacher who for many years was on the faculty of the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Music. Below are several audio clips of Sam as both vocalist with the Tudor Singers (from a recording made in 1970) and as Director of the Philharmonic Chorus at the 1972 Tudor Dinners, the first he participated in as Director of the Philharmonic Chorus. These second exceprts are from an original cassette tape of one of the 1972 Tudor Dinner evenings.

Tudor Singers (1970)

  1. Pat a Pan
  2. Boar's Head Carol
  3. Riu riu chiu

1972 Tudor Dinner

Sam introducing Prof. Edgar Gordon, son of "Pop" Gordon who was responsible for beginning the Tudor Dinners.