A Happy 100th: UW Music celebrates a life in music

  • Professor with student.

The School of Music observed the 100th birthday of Professor Emeritus Gerald Kechley Nov. 18 with a concert of his music performed by UW Music students, faculty, and members of Professor Kechley’s family. A reception in the School of Music Fishbowl followed the concert of vocal and instrumental works, choral arrangements, and excerpts from Professor Kechley’s opera The Golden Lion.

Joan Conlon conducts the UW Chamber Singers in "Happy Birthday"The concert, which also celebrated the establishment of a new endowment by UW friends Joan and Frank Conlon (see story), concluded with a guest conducting appearance by Joan Conlon, leading the UW Chamber Singers in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” (photo above). Professor Kechley was swarmed by well-wishers and former students following the performance (photo below).

Gerald Kechley with Choral DirectorsThank you from Gerald Kechley

Basking in the afterglow of such a wonderful evening last Sunday, it is difficult to find words that can convey my feelings and express my gratitude to the many who gave me such a gift. The beautiful realization of my pieces by the ensembles and their conductors and the talented soloists and their teachers (and dare I brag about my family’s contributions?) will be a lasting support going forward for as long as will be. To everyone who gave their time, energy, and talents, I sincerely offer my heartfelt thanks. I can hardly imagine a more meaningful tribute, and my only wish is that I could say that to all of you, one to one.

The School of Music has been part of my DNA for 81 years to date, and last Sunday may well serve as a fitting culmination of those decades. It is comforting for me to see demonstrated the ongoing vitality of my musical home. I thank all who continue to make that happen, and particularly those who worked so hard to achieve such an amazing evening.

Gerald Kechley greets an old friend