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I have been privileged to work with Jim Holloway.  He was the director of the Maryland Choral Society for several years.  I liked to snap pictures of society events and Jim liked to avoid my camera, if possible.  But I did get this one and I think it well captures his spirit.

Jim brought a spectrum of extraordinary music to the society.  His rehearsals were always challenging and during his tenure we increased our usual number of venues.  We enjoyed his enthusiasm and love of good music.   We learned to depend on his careful preparation and vision for excellence in performance.  The Society grew and we enjoyed our time with each other.

Jim passed away on Sunday, December 30th. 

I have edited this posting to include the following notice from the Washington Post (his photo is courtesy of his family):

James M. Holloway led the Gay Men's Chorus, among other choirs.

James M. Holloway; Musician, Copyright Examiner

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

James M. Holloway, 53, a senior Library of Congress copyright examiner and a musical conductor affiliated with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington and other choirs, died Dec. 30 at his home in Alexandria.

He had AIDS-related leukemia. Mr. Holloway had spent the past 22 years in the Library of Congress’s performing arts section.

He conducted the Gay Men’s Chorus from 1989 to 1999, after having served as its accompanist, and immediately attracted good notice. “The chorus has gotten its act together since James Holloway took over as conductor,” reviewer Joan Reinthaler wrote in The Washington Post in 1990. “Diction is crisp, pitch is good and there is a sense of rhythmic energy to everything it sings.”

The group won high-profile performing assignments, including the inaugural ball of then-D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt (D). It was also selected, through competitive blind auditions, to perform for a convention of the American Choral Directors Association.

“I’m fond of telling my chorus that they make history every time they walk out on stage,” Mr. Holloway told The Post in 1991. “Part of it is the ‘outness’ of it. . . . Can we consider that a noun?” “If you’re demonstrating in front of a government agency and carrying a sign, that has one kind of energy about it,” he added. “But the kind of energies that making music creates are all positive. This chorus participates fully in the community of music lovers in general, of course.

“But there are times when this chorus really exists to inspire and uplift the gay community. Just like any other community chorus — a community gospel choir has its own sense of specific community, as well as its general community.

Mr. Holloway’s other conducting jobs included the Maryland and Prince George’s choral societies and the Library of Congress Chorale. As a pianist, he accompanied many Washington area soloists, master classes and ensembles. He also was an organist and choir director at churches.

Most recently, he was the principal accompanist for Falls Church Presbyterian Church and the Choralis and Echos community choruses in Northern Virginia.

James Matthew Holloway was born in Jackson, Miss., and raised in Columbia, S.C. He was a 1977 piano performance honors graduate of the University of South Carolina. The next year, he received a master’s degree in music from the University of Maryland, where he also completed all but his dissertation in piano performance.

His piano teachers locally included Stewart Gordon and Nelita True. He spent more than 14 summers attending Portland State University’s Haystack arts program in Cannon Beach, Ore., where he studied with choral conductor Rodney Eichenberger. His marriage to Laura Brouse ended in divorce. Survivors include his partner of 11 years, Nicholas Kyrus of Alexandria; his mother, Geraldine S. Holloway of Columbia, S.C.; a brother; and a half-brother.

Jim’s memorial took place on Saturday, February 2, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. @ Falls Church Presbyterian Church, 225 East Broad Street, Falls Church, VA 22046. 

I received this description of the lovely service that was given in Jim’s honor.  (My husband and I had a long-standing professional commitment that weekend and could not attend.) …Thank God for his life and love of music.

“…Jim’s memorial service was an amazing event.  2 1/2 hours of fantastic music:  piano, organ, Gay Men’s chorus sang (2 sections of the Faure Requiem arranged by Jim in his last illness), Choralis, a huge choir from Falls Church Presbyterian.  And the assembled friends seemed to be almost all singers & choral directors!  Professors from U MD.  They passed out music, we stood up and sang it.  I’m sure Jim loved every minute of it.”

On Saturday, March 8th at 4:00 p.m. the Maryland Choral Society will perform the Faure Requiem and other beloved oratorio choruses as a memorial concert for James Holloway, Phyllis Rasmussen and John Ferrillo.  The choral society will be joined by renowned soloists Rosa Lamoreaux and Charles Williams.

for more information:  contact www.marylandchoralsociety.org

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