The members of the Highland Park Recorder Society mourn the passing of our esteemed and beloved friend and advisor, Eugene Roan, Professor Emeritus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
Professor Roan was Professor Emeritus of Organ and former chair of the organ, harpsichord and piano department at Westminster Choir College, the School of Music of Rider University, where he taught since 1956. Mr. Roan also taught at the Royal School of Church Music. A graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College, he also studied at the School of Sacred Music of the Union Theological Seminary. His teachers were Alexander McCurdy and Alec Wyton.
Professor Roan graced us with his presence when he performed solo harpsichord works at our annual spring concerts. Professor Roan, with kindness and generosity of spirit, allowed us the use of his beautiful, handcrafted Willard Martin harpsichord to enhance our presentations and performances. Our esteemed friends, Professor Roan and John Burkhalter, the Practitioners of Musick, invited us in advance to rehearse at their home so that another harpsichordist could accustom himself to playing on it. On the day of the concert they carried it with great care into the Sanctuary of the United Methodist Church in New Brunswick, where we hold our concerts, and then touched up the tuning until it was in peak performing condition.
Professor Roan was supportive of our Society in attending our Board of Directors meetings, and granting us assistance with sage observations and advice.
In a gesture to strengthen the warm bonds between Professor Roan and the Highland Park Recorder Society, the Board of Directors decided, at a recent Board meeting, to extend a formal invitation to Professor Roan to join our new Advisory Board. We all mourn this outstanding person. His moral goodness, his trustworthiness and fidelity, and his outstanding power to project
the highest levels of spiritual striving and attainment through his superb organ playing are just a few of his many contributions. One of his greatest gifts was touching the lives of students through teaching them musicianship, harpsichord, organ, and Baroque performance practice. A lasting testament is the literally thousands of students and graduate students who came under his orbit, many of whom became leading teachers both in America and in far-flung corners of the world. His influence lives on in their work. He lived his life worthily, with joy and gladness, with humility and modesty, with meaning, love and wisdom. We are honored that his life touched ours. We are the better for it. We will miss him, and will cherish his memory, and we pledge to keep his memory and legacy alive in our musical community, so that his memory will continue to be a source of blessing.