Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Partners for 65 Years

My friend Lester passed away recently at the age of 91. In this picture he is seated at the organ at their home in Convent Station, NJ. Warren and I are seated below. Warren and Lester were partners for 65 years. They were mentors, occasional colleagues but most importantly dear, dear friends to me. They had a home in Brigantine were I used to live and I spent countless evenings with them making dinner, watching a film or just talking about music, literature and traveling. Warren & Lester met in March of 1947 when Lester was organist for West Park Presbyterian and Warren taught at the Collegiate School and quickly set up house. They rarely left each other's side even though Lester concertized in the US, Europe and Asia. They eventually settled in Convent Station when Lester took a position at Drew University. Lester never bragged about the things he accomplished but I knew that he did things like serve on the Organ Juries at the Paris Conservatoire, have impromptu concerts with Marie-Louise Langlais (widow of Jean Langlais) when she visited the US (they were good friends) among many other things. I even got to play a piece by Langlais for flute and organ in a recital once w/ Lester. They used to give me tickets to rehearsals of the Metropolitan Opera in NYC and once got my sister and me a private tour of the Met that is reserved for big donors. Nobody knew this till the funeral but since Lester's retirement from Drew they gave over 1 million dollars to the university. They were so humble and yet led such a rich life and they gave me so much of their time over the past 23 years. Warren survives Lester. He will be sorely missed (especially by me).

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