Loyola remembers music professor

The Maroon


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Professor of voice and coordinator of vocal activities, Philip Frohnmayer, who passed away Sept. 27 from cancer, at the age of 66, is remembered as an incredible talent and selfless heart.

Daniel Sampson, voice senior, took private lessons with Frohnmayer this summer. Although Sampson offered payment and an accompanist for the lessons, Frohnmayer refused.

“He set the time for 4 p.m., which is extremely late for a lesson. He did that because the chemotherapy was making his fingers stiff. So, for two hours before our one-hour lesson, he would run his fingers under cool water in order to have enough dexterity to play the piano,” Sampson said.

Sampson said he believes that Frohnmayer’s dedication stems from a passion for music and a desire to see others fulfill their dreams.

“He loved finding people who didn’t think they were good enough and make them great. There are countless stories of people like that, people who didn’t think they were good enough to make a living out of music, but now are world-class musicians,” Sampson said.

Tyler Smith, extraordinary professor of voice, was 18 when he first met Frohnmayer at a singing competition. Fourteen years later, Frohnmayer gave Smith his first job at Loyola.

“He let the students bring their gifts to the table and allowed them to explore the artist within themselves. He wanted students to be complete artists not just a good singer, but a good performer, a good storyteller,” Smith said.

Ellen Frohnmayer, Frohnmayer’s wife and a vocal professor at Loyola, said that the harmonizing of the congregation, which was made up mostly of Frohnmayer’s students and colleagues, was “like heaven itself.”

“There are many aching hearts in the School of Music right now, as we all feel his loss more and more every day,” Ellen Frohnmayer said.

Donald Boomgaarden, dean of the College of Music and Fine Arts, said he agrees that Frohnmayer’s presence is irreplaceable.

“Professor Frohnmayer was a genius – there are very few of them in the world. When they die, the entire world loses something precious,” Boomgaarden said in an email.

To learn more about Philip Frohnmayer’s philosophy and legacy, read his online book “Breathe and Tell a Story,” the title of which is a phrase he used to reassure nervous students.

Jennie Guttierrez can be reached at [email protected]  

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